Western Express 3-4 Weeks Training Sufficient?

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Garrett J.'s Comment
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Its come down to Western Express or Prime for the company I start my career with. I'm leaning towards Prime for a few reasons, but their only turn-off for me is the length of the TNT phase. I understand there's nothing wrong with getting a hefty amount of training, but 40K miles just seems more than sufficient for the average person to get the hang of it and prepared enough to go solo.

So my question to any WE drivers out there is: did you feel 3-4 weeks with a trainer was enough? Did you feel confident and ready when you got your own truck? In contrast, is 3-4 months be too much/unnecessary?

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Errol V.'s Comment
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Garrett supposes:

but 40K miles just seems more than sufficient for the average person to get the hang of it and prepared enough to go solo.

So says someone who hasn't experienced truck driving yet. I'm not dissing you - it's one of those "wait till you walk a mile in my shoes" kind of things.

Trust me, any company wants to make dam sure people they pay to drive their $quarter million trucks with up to a $quarter million freight on public roads don't have accidents that will cost them a few $million in a lawsuit.

Also, any company wants trainees off the training truck and out rolling revenue miles as soon as safely possible.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
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So my question to any WE drivers out there is: did you feel 3-4 weeks with a trainer was enough? Did you feel confident and ready when you got your own truck? In contrast, is 3-4 months be too much/unnecessary?

Garrett, If there is one common thing that most of us new truck drivers experience it is that we don't feel confident and ready to get our own truck. I'm actually writing a book right now that I'm hoping will help new drivers make a good start in trucking. You are getting a sneak preview into part of one of the chapters. It concerns your very question. Here it is...

Oh man, what a thrill it is getting those keys to your first truck. You are on top of the world now, and you can't wait to get out there and start raking in all that money. You made it this far, and now it's all about to pay off big time! You get dispatched that first load and what happens?
  • You get lost on the way to your consignee.
  • You finally get there, but unfortunately you're late for your appointment.
  • You accidentally enter at the wrong gate.
  • Now you find yourself in the employee's parking area.
  • You have to back the truck out of this seemingly impossible situation.
  • You finally get yourself maneuvered over into the receiving area.
  • You discover they’ve quit receiving for the day about thirty minutes ago.

Wait just a minute, this is not what you were expecting! Don't ask me how I know these kinds of things will happen to you. It may even be worse than that, but you are going to get yourself into some really crazy situations as a rookie driver. I’ve talked with a lot of people who’ve done this, and we all know how it’s going to play out. This is when reality starts dawning on us. Feeling as though we’ve been abandoned, we are suddenly tasked with handling these responsibilities all alone. You are on your own now. There was only so much that could be done for you in training. It’s showtime now, and the spotlight is on you. It’s time to put up or shut up. The performance has begun!

There are ten thousand different scenarios you will get yourself into out here. There is no way this can all be covered in training. The training is designed to give you a chance to bail early. Those who give up easily can do so in training while still maintaining their sanity. Those who make the choice to endure, and avoid believing “this is no way to teach someone to drive a truck,” are the ones who eventually get exposed to all the little nuances that contribute to their success as a new driver.

You are out here in your own rig, and boy does it feel good! There is something liberating about this job that makes you feel alive and vigorous. The highway is wide open ahead, and your adventurous spirit is ready to soar. I remember how excited I was to get a load assignment sending me to some far away state I had never visited before. I love the freedom of the road, and I thoroughly enjoy my trucking career. There are days I feel I was destined for this. There have also been a few days I wish I could just hide under the blankets in my sleeper and not have to face the day.

Okay, now for a direct answer to your question. Yes three to four weeks is sufficient, but there is no way they can cover everything. Forty thousand miles at Prime is a lengthy training time and you may very well get sick of being in training, but it still can't cover everything. I wrote an article about what to expect during your time with a trainer. I'm providing you a link to it. I think you will find it helpful. By the way, I trained four weeks at Western Express. My experience was almost bizarre, but I still managed to become a very successful truck driver. You'll learn a lot about yourself during your time with a trainer. The important thing is that you make it work. It is up to you more so than it is up to the trainer.

What Should I Expect To Learn From My Trainer

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.

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Garrett J.'s Comment
member avatar

Also, any company wants trainees off the training truck and out rolling revenue miles as soon as safely possible.

If that's the case, that means that Prime definitely values their driver's safety and preparedness to go solo more than making revenue. So that's good. A few point for Prime right there.

KID's Comment
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Well some people need more time to train then others, like right now I'm sort of struggling with only 3 weeks of studying then road test and pretrip test. I wish I had at least a month and a half of studying but oh well. I'm at Truck Dynasty.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Also, any company wants trainees off the training truck and out rolling revenue miles as soon as safely possible.

double-quotes-end.png

If that's the case, that means that Prime definitely values their driver's safety and preparedness to go solo more than making revenue. So that's good. A few point for Prime right there.

Then AGAIN, Old School started HIS proliferous career at Western Express! :)

Are you wanting flatbed or refrigerated ?!?

~ Anne ~

ps: Odd how you chose '2' polar opposites, but hey.. GOOD ON YA!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Garrett J.'s Comment
member avatar

Okay, now for a direct answer to your question. Yes three to four weeks is sufficient, but there is no way they can cover everything. Forty thousand miles at Prime is a lengthy training time and you may very well get sick of being in training, but it still can't cover everything. I wrote an article about what to expect during your time with a trainer. I'm providing you a link to it. I think you will find it helpful. By the way, I trained four weeks at Western Express. My experience was almost bizarre, but I still managed to become a very successful truck driver. You'll learn a lot about yourself during your time with a trainer. The important thing is that you make it work. It is up to you more so than it is up to the trainer.

Wow, thanks for all the input and for the sneak peak. Very helpful stuff. I'm an avid reader and will definitely read the book when its finished!

Kudos for writing a book about entering this industry. I feel like one would be very appreciated by many.

Garrett J.'s Comment
member avatar

By the way, I trained four weeks at Western Express. My experience was almost bizarre, but I still managed to become a very successful truck driver.

Mind elaborating a bit on how it was almost bizarre?

Garrett J.'s Comment
member avatar

Are you wanting flatbed or refrigerated ?!?

Haven't decided. I need more info on the overall difference between the two, pros and cons of each...etc

Flatbed for each gets a few extra cpm... and WE gets a $25 bonus for flatbed deliveries. I'm pretty sure only flatbed does OTR with WE. Their dry vans are regional only.. but dont quote me on it. Could you confirm, Old School?

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Mind elaborating a bit on how it was almost bizarre?

My trainer and I team drove from day one. He slept while I drove and I slept while he drove. If you read that article I linked for you, it will elaborate a little on my experience. There was little to no actual training. I learned from the exposure to the realities of the job. Most of us have unrealistic expectations of what our training will be like. We can still learn even if it isn't anything like what we expect it to be.

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