ABF Freight Driver Development Program

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G-Town's Comment
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Awesome DD!!!

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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This has been very informative I am glad you are sharing, my dad went to the ABF open house last week and sent in his application. If it all goes well he might be your coworker soon!

Delco Dave's Comment
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Day 6, 3/14/22

We got a new student today, 1 graduates, another joins the group. Got the day going by firing up the trucks and hooking empties to pull for the day. The midway students did their pre trip with the trainers while myself and the new guy watched/listened. Tomorrow we get the spotlight with trainers. The trainers keep a score sheet and circle anything you miss. Afterward they go over it with you.

After pre trips, The midway guys went with trainers for their daily roadtrip, the new guy and I pre tripped a trailer a few times while they were gone. Use your time wisely, you can always work on something during what seems like dead time. By the time they got back, it was almost lunch so we just set up cones for maneuvers after lunch. Straight back, parallel, and offset.

After lunch, the other students started working on maneuvers, I went with the trainer to the industrial park to work on my down shifting. Worked on that for about an hour or so, I did pretty well, some really nice smooth runs, others were a little rough. I tend to push the clutch to deep sometimes and release it a little too quickly here and there. Still learning to feather it.

When we got back to to the terminal , the trainer had me start with the straight back. Had no problems there, just kept the trailer parallel in my mirrors, small steering movements, all went well. After doing that a few times he said I was good there and we moved on to the parallel. He gave me a quick rundown on how to set up and what reference points to look for. I did ok, got it in the box a few times but wasn’t the best looking park job. The other times I either pushed the trailer a little to deep or started my cut too shallow. Again as I said before, repetitions will fix it. Trainer said I did well for my 1st time and already having the muscle memory of everything being backwards when steering will help me get it sooner then later. Next thing I knew it was wrap up time, packed up the cones, dropped the trailers and called it a day!!!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Delco Dave's Comment
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This has been very informative I am glad you are sharing, my dad went to the ABF open house last week and sent in his application. If it all goes well he might be your coworker soon!

No problem Bobcat!! I enjoy keeping the diary, not only does it give others a glimpse into the program, it helps me reflect on the day and see my progress. Trying to include as much info as I can while keeping it somewhat short.

I wish your Pop the best of luck If he goes with ABF, I’m sure he'll be happy. Training program is great, not overloaded, 2 trainers to 4 students, trainers are patient and really enjoy teaching. You get a lot of time behind the wheel

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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I'm going to send him a link to this so he can have an idea, unfortunately he didn't get a chance to speak to anyone there as they where busy.

Keep up the good work!

How do you like doubles in your limited experience so far?

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Delco Dave's Comment
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How do you like doubles in your limited experience so far?

So far I have only watched them be put together, inspected(13 points) and taken apart a few times. My 1 on 1 training with doubles will be towards the end of the program and after I pass my driving test. Permit holders can’t take them out on the road.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Delco Dave's Comment
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Day 7 3/15/22

Started day as usual, fire up trucks, hook empties. One trainer took midway guys out on the road, new guy and I did full pre trip inspections. Pretty much nailed my pre trip. Almost started my applied pressure test without pushing knobs in and forgot one valve stem. While new guy was going through his pre trip, I set up the cones for parallel. When he was done, we both had a couple shots at the parallel. We are training on pup trailers, they react to your steering very quickly making it very easy to oversteer. I got it in the box, didn’t kill any cones but again, not too pretty.

After lunch the trainers took me and new student over to industrial park for some road work. Today included more down shifting scenarios a few more moving turns (left and right) and a right turn from stopped at a traffic light. There was a road crew working in the park so we only did a few runs and got out of their way.

Back at the terminal , I started with a parallel and got it right in. Only pull up was in the box to straighten the cab out, my 1st good looking park job. Went to other side of terminal to work on off set right and left maneuvers. Did ok there for my 1st time. Still finding my reference points to guide me with my steering. Was able to correct my oversteers with a pull up and then put in. Still have a lot of work to do with backing but I’m getting there. Toughest part is getting what I know out about backing trailers with pickups out of my head. Old habits are telling me to steer when I see my trailer heading one way or the other but with the pivot point over the back wheels it changes all the angles. At least I can look in the mirror and turn the wheel the right way without thinking about it.

Another good day in the books! I was a little disappointed that I would do the maneuver right, then on my next turn oversteer and mess it all up. Luckily I didn’t get too far out whack and a pull up saved me.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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Those pups do turn fast! Wait to you do a dolly now that will be fast!

Keep up the good work

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Delco Dave's Comment
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Day 8 3/16/22

Had a really good day today even though it started out a little rough. We headed out to yard to get the trucks and hook some empties. Well, there’s only 1 empty, trainers had to adjust their plans on the fly. So one trainer did a full pre trip with the student who is furthest along then took him on the road. The rest of us bounced back and forth between the truck and a loaded trailer practicing our pre trips. Around 10ish an empty came in but was ordered to dock to be reloaded.

After finding that out, the trainer went into the office to see which loaded trailers weren’t scheduled to leave until after our day was over. He found one that was partially loaded waiting on more items from the night drivers so we hooked to that for backing maneuvers around the yard. Set up cones and got to it.

No road time today due to being short an empty. Today they wanted me and the other new student to just focus on the offset right and left to get used to how everything moves, learn how much and when to steer, etc… I really liked having weight in the trailer. It just made reversing seem smoother, truck just pushed, didn’t jump as much. Maybe I was just better with the clutch, don’t know!!

We just kept doing the offset over and over. Drive around terminal , set up for straight back, back into the right lane. Then pull out for offset left, put it in, do the offset right, switch out with other student. The midway guys were working on parallel and ally dock on the other side of terminal with other trainer.

Really pleased that the backing went well today. I got used to how the trailer moves, figured out my how much and how little steering movements to put the trailer where I want. Was able to correct a couple oversteers without a pull up and no cones were hit by anyone. At the end of the day the trainers were very happy with everyones progress. Its gotta be a great feeling for them as well seeing us getting it.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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Glad to hear it is starting to click.

And yes sometime having weight makes the shifting and driving a little smoother, plus you are probably getting better!

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