ABF Freight Driver Development Program

Topic 31553 | Page 7

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Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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Good job with the long box, on the rare occasions I take a 53 I get nervous off the highway since I'm not used to how they turn and the tail swing they have.

My dad has a virtual interview with ABF on Thursday!

Delco Dave's Comment
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Thanks Bobcat!! The 53 does require a lot more mirror watching and careful lane placement then a pup but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be.

Wishing your Pop the best of luck. Hope it all works out for him!

Delco Dave's Comment
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Day 18 3/30/22

Just an average day today! Fired up trucks, hooked empties. Pre trip inspections for all followed by a road trip. Set up cones for parallel and alley dock before lunch. We’re all doing well with offsets so we skipped them today and focused on the more difficult maneuvers.

I got my road trip after lunch, wasn’t as long as usual since I had extra road time last night. Had a good run, no shifting mistakes at all. We took a route with a lot more lights and turns to sharpen my awareness and skills. Upon return I worked on more parallel and alley docks, also practiced getting my timing down to hold truck tight when bumping the dock

Trainer showed us how to do the 90 degree alley dock in case we are ever in real tight quarters where you twist the back wheels around. 5th and 6th week guys gave it a shot, I just observed to see where to set up and watch how the truck moves. I might give it shot tomorrow or Friday. Still have 12 training days left to mess around with it.

Delco Dave's Comment
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Day 19, 3/31/22

Today was a road trip this morning with the head trainer to evaluate my driving progress. He will not tell you what to do or whats coming, its all up to you to scan ahead and be ready for everything. I had a pretty good run, one shifting mistake caused me to coast a little too far. Would have been fine with a 53, but I was pulling a pup. I looked at the speedometer, did my quick gear math and didn’t rev high enough to catch it. Truck continued to pick up speed so I caught the next gear. He said although the coast was a little too long, the fact that I didn’t panic and caught the next gear probably would’ve saved me if it was the actual test. About half way through the run, he told me to start calling out hazards and signs to get me used to it for the real test. After the run he reminded me that I never drove a manual a few weeks ago, not to worry about the coast, I still have 2 weeks left to get better and I’ll be fine.

After lunch we set up cones and got to backing maneuvers. The guys that are almost done were working on hooking and dropping sets with an auto. Myself and the other midway student each had a truck all afternoon. We set up a pattern to stay out of each others way and moved around the stations. There were a lot of open doors today so the few times I caught up with him, I just did the alley dock in an empty door. Don’t know why but I was hitting them with no pull-ups in lane without cones, go figure!! Also practiced bumping tight to dock with the alley’s. Struggled a little bit with the parallel yesterday for some reason, today, buried them nice and straight. Offsets haven’t given me any trouble in a couple weeks.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
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Wow, Dave!

I'm impressed, with ALL of the above. Sounds like you have an EXCELLENT training program over there, and YOU are coming along nicely!

Kudos, sir.

~ Anne ~

Delco Dave's Comment
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Thanks Anne!!

Their training program is top notch in my opinion. I’m grateful for the small class size (2 trainers/4 students) and that it is 6 weeks long. I needed the extra time to work on shifting, may have struggled in a shorter program with a larger class size having less seat time. The backing clicked pretty quickly for me due to previous work experience so I probably would have been fine in a shorter program if I was training in an auto.

Delco Dave's Comment
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Day 20, 4/1/22

Fired up trucks and hooked some empties. Practiced in cab portion of pre trip while waiting for the trainers to square up some weekly paperwork. Had a good road trip today, was finally perfect start to finish, what a great feeling of accomplishment. Up to today I had at least one shifting error sometime during every trip, mostly down shifting.

The good karma followed into the maneuvers in the afternoon. We set up parallel and alley dock, almost every attempt was pull up free. Everything just clicked and came together today, I knew I would get the shifting down, it just took longer then I expected. The last little bit of doubt that would surface after a day with a few mistakes is finally gone.

Since I was hitting the alley docks real well today, The trainer had me park the trailer in a hole between 2 others without a lot of pull up room to give me some real world pressure. I backed it to the edge of the hole, got out and looked(GOAL) pulled up to straighten out and parked it nice and square.

Delco Dave's Comment
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Day 21, 4/4/22

Business as usual today except we got a new student for doubles training, fire up trucks, grab empties. Head trainer tested us all on pre trips while road trainer handled the driving practice. I was 2nd to hit the road today, really good trip, I’m now totally comfortable shifting/driving. It just feels natural now, don’t have to think about what to do, it just happens, I feel and hear the truck telling me when to shift. Upon return to the terminal it was my turn for pre trip. Went through the in cab, and started on the outside. Went through the front and most of the engine, then trainer says you’ve been perfect on pre trip for 2 weeks, gonna bounce you around to shake things up and keep it interesting. He would randomly pick a part and have me proceed from there then stop me and jump somewhere else. Still perfect!!!

After lunch myself and 4th week guy worked on parallel and alley docks. The final week students and new doubles student worked on hooking and breaking sets. I am doing well with all my maneuvers so I’m hoping to start working on the doubles after the last week guys test out on them. I am grateful for all the seat time but also itching to do something new at this point. I’ve seen a set hooked and dropped many times, now I want to actually do it. Unfortunately, permit holders cant take a set on road so the only driving I will get with them will be around the terminal.

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.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

The beat goes on...

Awesome DD!

Day 21, 4/4/22

Business as usual today except we got a new student for doubles training, fire up trucks, grab empties. Head trainer tested us all on pre trips while road trainer handled the driving practice. I was 2nd to hit the road today, really good trip, I’m now totally comfortable shifting/driving. It just feels natural now, don’t have to think about what to do, it just happens, I feel and hear the truck telling me when to shift. Upon return to the terminal it was my turn for pre trip. Went through the in cab, and started on the outside. Went through the front and most of the engine, then trainer says you’ve been perfect on pre trip for 2 weeks, gonna bounce you around to shake things up and keep it interesting. He would randomly pick a part and have me proceed from there then stop me and jump somewhere else. Still perfect!!!

After lunch myself and 4th week guy worked on parallel and alley docks. The final week students and new doubles student worked on hooking and breaking sets. I am doing well with all my maneuvers so I’m hoping to start working on the doubles after the last week guys test out on them. I am grateful for all the seat time but also itching to do something new at this point. I’ve seen a set hooked and dropped many times, now I want to actually do it. Unfortunately, permit holders cant take a set on road so the only driving I will get with them will be around the terminal.

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.

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
member avatar

Day 22, 4/5/22

A lot of seat time today, the 2 last week students were at the DMV. One was taking his endorsement tests, other was taking his skills/road test. Went out 1st thing this morning with the road trainer for a nice long run. He took me all over the surrounding area and I saw a good bit of everything, traffic, merges, hills, curves, turns, highway, you name it. He said I did very well and the rest of my time there will be polishing up my skills.

Had the parallel and alley dock set up for maneuvers. Was doing real well with both so I decided to start practicing the 90 degree alley dock. Did pretty good with the 90, needed a pull up each attempt because my initial set ups were just a bit off. Each time I got a little better but still need to pull just a bit further past the lane, still looking for the sweet spot but I’m real close.

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.

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