Didn't Work Out, Now What?

Topic 30095 | Page 1

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Larry T.'s Comment
member avatar

I have to say I'm pretty disappointed in myself. I was in a company paid cdl school. Pre-trip and driving was coming along pretty good. However I couldn't understand backing.

I took the practice CDL exam at the end of the second week. Passed the pre-tip and driving and failed the backing. I have bad anxiety and backing wrecks havoc with me.

I had a meeting with my Program manager and trainer. PM came right out with what can I do to help you. Was a tiny class. 2 students to a trainer, with them giving me 2 10 hour days with one on one.

Pm and trainer were great. What could I say? Then he said I have an option b. I can fire you for failed training, you go to a local school and give me a call and I'll hire you back. I took option b. All 3 of us agreed that this program was probably to fast paced for me. I guess I was waiting to wake up one morning and backing just clicked to me.

Having time to reflect it upsets me a little. My trainer said don't worry if you fail the cdl exam you'll have a 4th week to pass it, like I witnessed a guy that was there until the end of the 4th week. On one hand my trainer says you understand this. You'll get this very soon. Then after the longs days i express my frustration a couple times because I can't execute backing during a smoke break and he's telling the PM i want to quit. What?

What would you guy's suggest. Paying $4,000.00 for a local school or trying another company?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
What would you guy's suggest. Paying $4,000.00 for a local school or trying another company?

Larry, I'm sorry things didn't work out for you. Were you at Roehl?

Here's the problem with trying to go to another paid program. Most of them will not accept someone who already failed at another tucking company sponsored program. It makes sense if you think about it. They don't want to invest their money in you if it is likely you will not be able to get over the issues that caused you to fail in the first place. You have put yourself into a high risk category. You are not considered a safe investment at this point.

That leaves you with the option of paying for school with your own funds. Can you afford that? What if you still don't get the concepts of backing enough to pass the test? How long do you think they will keep working with you before they want some extra compensation for their time? It sounds like the other place gave you some really focused effort and it resulted in no progress. That has got to be bothering you. I would have thought you would have seen some progress. How are you going to feel if you fork out 4,000 dollars and still have nothing to show for your money?

I think there is a bigger issue here than just going backwards.

I couldn't understand backing... I have bad anxiety and backing wrecks havoc with me.

It seems to me that concentrating on going backwards doesn't help you learn it but instead it ramps up your anxiety about doing something you don't understand. That seems to me to be the real issue here - your anxiety.

Somehow you have got to do something to relieve that pressure on yourself. I don't know how to help you there. It seems to me that most of the world is on anxiety medication now days. Surely there is something out there that might help you. I readily admit I don't have the answer for your dilemma. I will make a suggestion though. This may sound silly to you, but it is a tried and true method that has helped thousands of others. Purchase for yourself a scale model die-cast eighteen wheeler. You can find these at Wal-Mart or just about any truck stop. Get one with wheels that roll and that bends, or rotates, at the fifth wheel. Practice backing that thing up on your kitchen table or the floor of your living room. Pay attention to how it reacts and responds to the ways which you move it around. Learn from that toy and simplify the whole backing process in your mind. Do it until you understand how it works.

Backing a long trailer is nothing more than the same physics properties involved in pushing a wheelbarrow. The wheel is the tracking point of the wheelbarrow just like the tandems are on a trailer. You move the other end of the wheelbarrow with your arms just like the tractor moves the other end of the trailer in a big rig. Do you recognize that similarity? You control one end of the trailer so that the other end goes where you need it. That is not something hard to understand if you look at it logically. Anxiety keeps us from being logical - I get that. You have to get rid of the anxiety. It is the very thing convincing you that you don't understand backing. Backing is not something hard to understand. It may be hard to execute when we are inexperienced, but it is not something that we "can't understand." Think of the trailer as a wheelbarrow that you are pushing into place. You are pushing it with the tractor. That is a simple concept.

Practice with a toy truck for a season at home before you make up your mind about where to continue your schooling. Whatever you do you will have to get past this anxiousness about going backwards. I know that is easier said than done, but that is where you have got to make some progress. I am convinced you can understand the concept. You just need to familiarize yourself with the motions and the cause and effect of the tractor on the trailer. Practice with a toy. You aren't going to damage anything with that toy, and you just might get the feel for what has caused you such frustration in school.

Conquer it Larry. You might be able to do that right in your kitchen with a toy truck. Give it a try.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Banks's Comment
member avatar

Every company sponsored training program is fast paced. Going to another one won't solve the problem you're having.

Learning how to do this is difficult. I struggled a lot when I was learning. It took me a week to learn how to 45 and it wasn't even a solid 45. It was just enough to not flunk out. I always hit curbs on my right turns. I stressed my instructor out like you wouldn't believe. Every day during the post trip he'd say "look between your tires for the babies on the corner you ran over" or he'd call me a part time dock worker. At FedEx if you fail the program they don't fire you, they demote you to part time dock. To add to the stress, I only had 1 shot to pass my state test. If I failed, it was up to me to find another one and schedule it b myself paying for it out of pocket.

I sucked pretty bad, but I never quit. I made it very clear that quitting wasn't an option. I have no problem failing, but I'll never quit. I think that's where you went wrong.

A lot of the time instructors won't quit on you if you don't quit on them. Agreeing that option b was best means you quit. I would never agree to that. You'd have to fail me because I want it badly and I can't afford to fail.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Learning how to do this is difficult. I struggled a lot when I was learning. It took me a week to learn how to 45 and it wasn't even a solid 45. It was just enough to not flunk out. I always hit curbs on my right turns. I stressed my instructor out like you wouldn't believe. Every day during the post trip he'd say "look between your tires for the babies on the corner you ran over"

It is always a little surprising to me when I see posts from what most of us consider competent professional, knowledgeable drivers - drivers who offer good advice - drivers that one can't imagine ever struggling to achieve the success they currently enjoy. Yet that driver makes a comment about how he or she struggled at first just like everybody else. There are many examples of drivers on this forum that fit that description.

I like to think it offers hope to a student who might be struggling and feeling discouraged. Skill can be developed over time. Perseverance is the most important piece of the puzzle.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

If you're anxiety ramps up while you're trying to back, where the most damage you will do is killing a cone, what do you think will happen when you're trying to back into a dock with a truck on each side.

If you can get over that anxiety, try again.

Larry T.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Old School and others.

The biggest mistake I made was going to their only manual school. My trainer was like why did you come here and not go to one of our other schools? closer to my home. lol.

I feel I spent WAY to much time learning shifting. My anxiety was really bad with downshifting. At the end of week 2 I was still nervous on the roads. I never fully got the experience of driving and making turns with the truck. Maybe if I didn't have to learn shifting I would have been confident with driving/turning and could have picked up backing in those 2 weeks.

After taking a step back I now see my anxiety is a huge issue and has to be dealt with medically if I want to be in trucking. You're right big Scott. This was on a closed off dirt playground with cones(even though those cones were my trainers babies and he had me terrified of hitting them). I guess I should be thankful my PM and trainer saw my great effort and the time I put in and let me go. It makes nervous just thinking I would be OTR with a trainer right now.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jared H.'s Comment
member avatar

There is an app that a truck driver created that may help you lots especially if you’re a visual learner. It’s called My Trucking Skills it’s a a simulator game and you can also watch his videos on YouTube

It’s been very helpful to me. 🙂

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

There is an app that a truck driver created that may help you lots especially if you’re a visual learner. It’s called My Trucking Skills it’s a a simulator game and you can also watch his videos on YouTube

It’s been very helpful to me. 🙂

Thanks for that tip, Jared. As someone who has about a year before I can make the jump into CDL school, it looks like this app and videos will help me get my mind around the differences in backing a tractor-trailer versus the 40' bus I drive now. At least I can do what I can do now, until I can get in the seat of an actual truck!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
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