Knight Transportation (Squire Training) - Back To Phoenix I Go!

Topic 30774 | Page 2

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Justin's Comment
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Bit of a bummer today. I would end the day on a higher note, but overall it was still a bummer.

Our pre-trip exams were scheduled for first thing this morning, bright and early at 6:00 AM.

No problem.

We've all been studying for the last week or so. I went section by section memorizing each one and key "buzzwords" to remember or help me out. I even helped out a couple of the students who had a tougher time with their English, so it made me even more confident helping them out.

My goal was a PERFECT SCORE on the pre-trip exam, and I even told my fellow students that it would be nearly impossible for any of us to NOT pass this exam.

I studied a bit before bed last night, and on the walk from the hotel to Knight early this morning.

EVERYBODY PASSED!!! Except me. I was so deflated.

I drew sudden blanks on entire sections that I knew just the day before and missed several small details throughout that I knew as well. I got to certain parts of the tractor and trailer and even knew HOW MANY ITEMS I had all of a suddenly forgotten, telling our instructor that I KNEW I missed 1, 2, or 3 items in particular sections.

At the end of the exam, I was cautiously optimistic that I would sneak through with missing just enough items to pass, but no dice. I missed by three. Not three wrong total, but 23.

One of the two students I helped the previous day who completely bombed his air brake section and was near tears that he wasn't going to pass even passed the test. If I was being honest, I thought if anybody had "failed" today it would have been him. In the end, I was nothing but ecstatic for him. He was so excited and you could see the enthusiasm, especially with how hard he worked since yesterday.

While the rest of my class ended up going out city/freeway/highway driving for the first time today, since I didn't pass, I got to stay back and continue to go over my pre-trip... again... until lunch. Even when you're going over something over and over again, there's a certain amount of time where your brain just stops and needs the break, and that was me around lunch.

If there's good news to any of it, at least I got the grading sheet including all of the items I missed, including many "gimmes" that I knew just the day before, so I'll be retesting Thursday morning and -- at the very least -- if I get just three of those items correct, I'll pass. However, obviously my goal isn't to barely pass the pre-trip, so... no celebratory pizza tonight with the rest of my class since I don't have anything to celebrate yet. Back to studying and videos again.

At this point, I can only move forward, and there were some positive signs today. I NAILED my air brake tests, which was good, since that was the area of the pre-trip exam that most students didn't do as well on. I flew through that and didn't miss a single point.

Eventually, I would get driving time today after all. One of our instructors (Allen), went through a few sets of parking maneuvers with me after the Week 3 students were finished, and then I got to go out on a "fun drive" to Wickenburg with him and two of the students testing for their CDL on Thursday. Not only did I get to drive on the freeways and through the city, but it was a fun drive mainly for the other two guys to show them the enjoyment of truck driving, so I got to drive us out of the city, and they took us the rest of the way there (and back). Fun drive, and I've loved that little town all three times I've been through it. Allen shared some great road stories with us and had a Q&A about anything on the drive, so I learned a lot on that drive alone and ended the day on a positive note.

My "strengths" (if I can call them that after just 10 days) were that I did well on the freeways and interstates and can keep my entire tractor and trailer in my lane, which is a challenge for some other students. We're all obviously still learning, but I'm giving myself credit where I'm able to as growing confidence with something completely new is kind of like planting a garden in the desert, so although I'm two steps back now, that's still three or four steps further from where I started.

My biggest weakness so far is taking my turns too fast, so I've been making a note of it to slow down. I guess there's still a bit of nervousness with things like when I'm slowly pulling out into the intersection, waiting for oncoming traffic to clear to make a left turn, and then the light turns yellow (then red), I feel a bit rushed and my turn gets a little sloppy, but there's been slight improvement.

So far these first 10 days have been like a rollercoaster. Fortunately, the peaks and valleys haven't been TOO high or low, but I have had 2-3 moments where I questioned if I can do this or not and in the back of my mind wondered if it was time to go home... as well as a moment or two where I'm already imagining how amazing it will be passing my CDL test and being out on the road, so I'm trying to find that balance. Not too high, not too low. This definitely isn't easy, so it's not going to be a walk in the park, but I intuitively knew that going into it. I guess seeing and doing it first hand really puts it into perspective. I just have to have more confidence in myself especially since it's hard to establish it with so few successes thus far (as we're still learning).

Regardless, today is over and done with now, so I can only look ahead to tomorrow and Thursday morning, when I'll retake my pretrip exam.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

There are valuable lessons to be learned in not passing. Every time that I have gotten over confident in trucking, it bites me on the rear end, usually swiftly. Weather it be pre trip, or backing or taking a turn or sending in my calls at a shipper or receiver, Over confidence can make the simplest of items complex and frustrating. When I have gotten to that point, my hard won good habits and systems go out the window. I failed my pre trip pre-exam there too, for the same reason, got over confident and forgot to say the right things. It can definitely be corrected with a little patience and humbleness.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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