ABF Freight Driver Development Program

Topic 31553 | Page 6

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Delco Dave's Comment
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Day 15, 3/25/22

Well, I’m half way there!! Had another good day today. Went out with road trainer for a nice long trip this morning. Saw some new roads with more curves and hills. Decent amount of left and right turns. Through a shopping center they deliver to often to give me a taste of the madness of tight quarters with activity everywhere.

Rest of day was spent on maneuvers, I really have a good feel for how everything moves with my steering now. My judgement continues to improve to where I can adjust by mirror view rather then points on the catwalk. Only needed a couple pull ups today to complete a back, not oversteering too often anymore. Today when I needed the pull up it was from not cutting it quite hard enough.

We all had another tutorial on hooking and breaking a set. The 5th week student got the honors of actually doing it since he is furthest along. Trainers trust all of us to park the trailers at the end of the day, they tell us what hole to drop in and we put them to bed.

Sorry if my diary is getting a little boring. I know I’m posting basically the same things over and over but thats the daily schedule of training, not too much changes day to day except all of us getting better at everything. Thank you for continuing to follow along my journey

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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Sorry if my diary is getting a little boring. I know I’m posting basically the same things over and over but thats the daily schedule of training, not too much changes day to day except all of us getting better at everything. Thank you for continuing to follow along my journey

It's not boring to me, I like seeing how other LTL companies operate. Plus there are not many diarys for LTL companies here so it may help someone else.

Big difference between the safety of a company yard and the "real world" huh?

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
Delco Dave's Comment
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Big difference between the safety of a company yard and the "real world" huh?

Ya Bobcat, sure is!!!! I’m pretty comfortable on the road with a pup. I pulled trailers for many years as a landscape owner and foreman. The pups aren’t that much longer than the trailers I used to drag around. I’m used to scanning my mirrors often and people always looking to get in front of me. Good with anticipating what someone’s gonna do by how they are driving. Added the new skill of looking up for wires and branches which was rarely ever a concern in the past except when in a stake body with the leaf box.

The shopping center with that big box was quite an experience, people crossing everywhere, cars zooming around, tight lanes and corners. Basically something to hit everywhere, I crawled through in the low gears constantly scanning all around.

G-Town's Comment
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Dave got my attention with this...

We all had another tutorial on hooking and breaking a set.

Big leagues! I’ll always remember my first.

good-luck.gif

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Navypoppop's Comment
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Delco Dave, Don't think for 1 minute that you're posts are boring. You are doing a wonderful job learning from a class act company. I retired over 10 years ago from driving and was hired at Conway and remember when they hired me I had never hooked or pulled a set of doubles. My first run was from Orlando, FL to Richmond Hill, GA and I got a 15 minute quick lesson on how to hook and the trip was on me to figure out. Needless to say I was fine and retired from Conway as a Driver Trainer and over a million miles with them. Just like G-Town a professional driver will learn and proceed with a new experience and will be the best he can be. You sir have shown that you are going to be one of the best and with a class act company. Good luck, congratulations and keep the diary going.

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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Thank you Pop Pop, I appreciate your response and your assessment of my progress. While typing my last post I just felt like I was repeating myself over and over and beating a dead horse. I was still going to continue with the diary regardless, just wanted to thank everyone reading along for hanging in there with me.

G-Town's Comment
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Not boring Dave!

We all share in your enthusiasm. Never for one moment believe we are uninterested in your journey.

Carry on!

Thank you Pop Pop, I appreciate your response and your assessment of my progress. While typing my last post I just felt like I was repeating myself over and over and beating a dead horse. I was still going to continue with the diary regardless, just wanted to thank everyone reading along for hanging in there with me.

PackRat's Comment
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Not boring to my eyes and brain while reading these updates, either. I'm also not the only one reading, and/or some person looking at P&D , or linehaul.

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.
Delco Dave's Comment
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Day 16, 3/28/22

We fired up the trucks, I hooked an empty pup for pre trip inspections for myself and 3rd week student with one trainer. The other trainer took 6th week student out on road with the flat bed to drop off 2 Upack containers at a customer. They were gone all morning. ABF offers storage containers and or pup trailers to the general public for moving. UPack, we drive. Did fine with my pre trip as usual.

The 5th week student came from a private school and had his DMV road test pre scheduled last week. He passed his test so he was instructed to grab a free automatic and start practicing moving dollies in front of trailers. I joined him while the other student was going through his pre trip. Moving the dollies reminded me of reversing a stump grinder or chipper. Take it slow with very little steering movements. They can get away from you fast, only takes a second for them to jackknife. Trainer said we both did real well with the dollies.

After lunch was my road trip. Was a mix of local roads and a quick highway run. Took a more difficult trip with more curves and hills requiring more shifting. Did real well today. Forgot the T-bar once downshifting from 6 to 5, the transmission told me I was wrong, I eased it back to neutral, flipped the bar down, reved engine and recovered quickly. Trainer was pleased that I didn’t get nervous, listened/felt the truck and fixed my mistake smoothly.

Rest of day was spent on backing maneuvers, I’m getting better everyday, needing less and less pull ups. The parallel park that was killing me 2 weeks ago is no longer an issue. Doing well with the alley dock, reminds me of parking the landscape trailer in the shop. The offsets seem easy now. My daily post may come a bit later tomorrow, I might go with the trainer on a drop and hook with a 53 if one needs to go out so I can drive the empty back. If not, he said definitely Wednesday. Customer is on a fixed weekly schedule, every Tues or Wed we drop a full and remove an empty for them. Looking forward to pulling a full size van.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Delco Dave's Comment
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Day 17, 3/29/22

Fired up trucks, hooked some empties. All permit holders had pre trips today. Only 3 of us have to do them now since one student has already passed his DMV road test. Both trainers graded a students pre trip to move things along. The 6th and 3rd week guys went 1st. There were no extra trucks to move dollies around today so myself and other student hung around watching dock operations. Took note of how trailers are loaded and secured with braces and straps. How the weight is distributed, odd shaped items are placed, ETC…

My turn came for pre trip, was perfect. Afterward we set up the backing maneuver stations and started practicing while other trainer took guys out on the road. A little before lunch one of the night guys finished his shift freeing up another truck. The 5th and 6th week guys focused on hooking and dropping sets the rest of the day.

After lunch I got my road trip. My shifting was real good today, I’m much more comfortable now and recognizing when to downshift much better. Road trainer is real good at mixing up the routes to keep you on your toes and make you figure out whats coming up rather then knowing when and where to shift on the same roads over and over. Rest of afternoon was spent working on backing maneuvers.

As was promised, today after official training hours was my 1st road trip with a 53. I was instructed to hook an empty at the 6 door, pull it out and pre trip it. There was a change of plans. One of the day drivers already took care of the drop and hook the trainer was expecting. We ended up getting a live load a bit closer to the terminal , 25 minute ride. This actually worked out better for me, there was no highway driving, all local roads with traffic lights, turns, merges, etc… Plus I got real world experience picking up a load. Got to learn how to use the PDA, code and scan the pallets, enter the dimensions, check the the bills of lading (# of pallets/pieces).

I liked pulling the 53 with weight in it. Much smoother/stable ride compared to an empty pup bouncing around. Did well shifting with weight and with my curves and turns, kept hearing G-Town saying watch your wagon in my head. We were told to dock the trailer in the 11 door when we got back, of course there are trailers in the 10 & 12 doors. Another challenge for me to conquer. Trainer gave me a quick run down on how to set up for an alley dock with the 53. He watched me from the rear of the trailer and helped me with my steering a little but pretty much let me have at it. I needed a pull up but got it in there. This was also my 1st time bumping a dock so he told me how to hold the clutch and brake when bumping. I did bounce off twice before I got the timing right. All in all it was a good experience, wasn’t intimidated by the 53, I enjoyed learning how to drive it. Hopefully I’ll get another shot or 2 at 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.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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