Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

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TwoSides11's Comment
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Well, I've driven about 1,800 miles through 8 states so far. I'm enjoying the driving and learning a lot! My trainer has been patient and helpful, which makes this "living in a closet with a stranger" thing easier. We managed to get a good Christmas dinner at a truck stop, so that was a bonus. We're in Michigan now but have a run down to Atlanta next.

I struggle with the backing maneuvers--even when I'm bobtailing and getting under a new trailer. It takes me a few times to get in the right spot left to right and lined up ar the correct angle. My trainer has been patient, but I'm wondering if I'm progressing fast enough? I guess it has only been a week out here, but sometimes I feel frustrated with myself.

I'm sure you have read from many posts that backing takes time. I also had a tough time backing and I felt the same way. Am I progressing fast enough?? Its fine, you will get it, just keep practicing and try to visualize where the trailer is going to go and take it slow, this is a marathon not a sprint. Your going to get better, remember your training and find the turning points when your backing. Learn from the mistakes and adjust.

I did better when I ignored my trainers hand signals. I had to do it myself, see how the truck maneuvered when I turned a certain way and learned from that. I only listened out for my trainer if I was going to hit something. Trial and error is what helped me but I am still not perfect with backing. G.O.A.L is always a necessity. I also had mistakes trying to get under a trailer. Once you see where you need to be with the drives it will instantly click. Take your time, don't rush and keep learning how the truck maneuvers while your bobtail and how the trailer turns when the tandems are forward or back.

Enjoy your time on the road. I'm glad you have a patient trainer. Listen to him like I'm sure you have been and soak up all info he gives you and from what you experience while driving. The time will go by fast so get as much info from your trainer as you can. Good luck and stay safe.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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".

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

Anne (and Tom) and TwoSides,

Thank you both for your words and input! I just wondered how quickly he expected me to learn stuff. If it's an instruction ("turn off the fuel at the pump, not the handle"), I implement it right away. But backing being a skill means that it takes me a while to get the "feel" for it. I do need to experiment and learn to correct my errors. I'm glad that he's patient and tries to coach me thru things... It makes me want to get it all the sooner.

But yes, so glad to have a good trainer! I'm soaking it all up, jumping in and taking the initiative to learn all I can. I've seen my driving improve a lot, to where he seems to trust me enough to just be on his phone, lol, which is good with me. And I'm pretty sure I could couple, uncouple, and slide the tandems on my own at this point. Every day I learn more, and I love the adventure of not knowing where we're going next!

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".

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Anne (and Tom) and TwoSides,

Thank you both for your words and input! I just wondered how quickly he expected me to learn stuff. If it's an instruction ("turn off the fuel at the pump, not the handle"), I implement it right away. But backing being a skill means that it takes me a while to get the "feel" for it. I do need to experiment and learn to correct my errors. I'm glad that he's patient and tries to coach me thru things... It makes me want to get it all the sooner.

But yes, so glad to have a good trainer! I'm soaking it all up, jumping in and taking the initiative to learn all I can. I've seen my driving improve a lot, to where he seems to trust me enough to just be on his phone, lol, which is good with me. And I'm pretty sure I could couple, uncouple, and slide the tandems on my own at this point. Every day I learn more, and I love the adventure of not knowing where we're going next!

Matt,

You're the 'PERFECT' student!! (But then again, so is Kearsey's Maria if y'all follow them on Y/T!) She's 'home schooling' at the academy now .. good for her! Yet, she stepped BACK out .. for this amazing student. Maria !!

Your excitement and 'humble pride' shows. Here & elsewhere!

Please thank your trainer, LoL !

Trust him. As he is you, and . . . You got this, IMHO!

Again, the 5th wheel plate is LARGE for a reason, haha!

~ Anne ~

ps: Look at all 2sides endured; and he's only a tad bit ahead of ya! (With LESS OF a trainer!)

pps: Tell Tex howdy, too! :)

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".

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

Anne (and Tom) and TwoSides,

Thank you both for your words and input! I just wondered how quickly he expected me to learn stuff. If it's an instruction ("turn off the fuel at the pump, not the handle"), I implement it right away. But backing being a skill means that it takes me a while to get the "feel" for it. I do need to experiment and learn to correct my errors. I'm glad that he's patient and tries to coach me thru things... It makes me want to get it all the sooner.

But yes, so glad to have a good trainer! I'm soaking it all up, jumping in and taking the initiative to learn all I can. I've seen my driving improve a lot, to where he seems to trust me enough to just be on his phone, lol, which is good with me. And I'm pretty sure I could couple, uncouple, and slide the tandems on my own at this point. Every day I learn more, and I love the adventure of not knowing where we're going next!

If your trainer is patient and knowledgeable like you say then he isn't expecting you to learn backing quickly. He may expect you to learn the ELD, fueling, coupling, etc, by your 3rd week if not sooner. Ask him his thoughts on how fast you should be catching on with backing, his answer might make you feel more at ease. Trust me, I know how you feel. I felt the same way while out training. I think mastering safe driving practices is most important right now and backing will gradually come along.

If this helps..... I would pull up along side the spot I would back into. I stop when the driver door is where I would want to go. I look in the spot, then would look to my right to see how much room I had and where to position the truck. I begin the set up already visualizing where the truck should be. I begin driving having the wheels turned to the right and straightened them when the drives got about where they looked lined up to where I was backing into then turned the wheel to the left until the truck and trailer were straight and the back of the trailer was a little past the spot. From there I would start the backing maneuvers doing what is needed to get into the spot. Pull ups and G.O.A.L as needed. You won't have room at every place to do that but its worked for me majority of the time.

You got this Matt, keep up the hard work. Anne is right, I'm just a tad bit ahead of you with LESS of a trainer rofl-3.gif

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".

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, Anne and TwoSides...that's all really good advice.

I've driven over 2,000 miles so far, in rain, dark, and over hills. I'm taking it a day at a time. I haven't been a "beginner" at something in a while, so it's a good experience to be learning so much.

I got word today that my CDL test should be a week from today. Part of me is actually looking forward to it! Lots to review between now and then, though...

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.
Kandyman's Comment
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Hows it going out there driver?

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Hows it going out there driver?

Was wondering, TOO !!!

Mr. Matt?

Mr. McKellar?

~ Anne, too! ~

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

Hey Anne and Kandyman,

Things are going well! We had a load from Michigan to NY, and now a quick load from CT to near Buffalo, NY. So, busy, busy! Then they'll route us back to Springfield, and I'm scheduled to test for my CDL on Tuesday, Jan 4.

Today was one of those days...long, I had a headache, and food opportunities didn't seem to happen well. Just one of those days where you keep pushing on... I'm hoping to see some sun soon too, as it's been so dreary!

But I'm glad to be progressing and glad I'll stay with this trainer for my 30k miles, as that gives me more time to learn from him, and we work well together, I think.

One interesting aside: Wilson has you call your fleet manager once a week just to check in and make sure everything is going well. I appreciate the support, and it's nice to begin developing rapport with the person who will be my fleet manager once I'm solo.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Stevens had driver counselors thru training and your first year. I spoke w him weekly and was required to stop in to speak w him if I was on the yard. My dispatch/dm only handled my loads etc Other than hometime I spoke to counselor. I never knew how many drivers one dm had there. Thinking back I know they worked congruently. Rambling again. Glad your doing well.

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.
Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

So... I passed my CDL test today!!

We were routed back to Springfield on Sunday (Jan. 2). I spent Monday at Wilson practicing out on the pad. And then I had my test this morning at 10am. I needed to go through the entire pre-trip inspection (in-cab, engine, drivers door/fuel area, coupling, trailer, light test) and had the straight back, drivers side offset, and drivers side parallel for my maneuvers (I was kind of glad not to draw the 90 degree back!). The examiner said I did well, and I so pleased to be through this hurdle!

I'm on my way up to South Dakota to go to the DMV to get my CDL. I'm currently stopped for the night in Omaha. The plan is for me to be back by Thursday night so that my trainer and I can get on the road Friday morning and start working on those 30,000 miles.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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