Semi-Retired ;-) CDL B To CDL A, Lord Willing!

Topic 32491 | Page 6

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FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

Still surviving?

Golly! A little over 2k miles the first week and on track for 2,800 this week. Been busy and the ole brain is so tired after each day. So much concentration going into this driving! Lane control, traffic, navigation, weather, construction zones, hills, curves, narrow roads, no place to pull over when nature calls, exit ramps, merging into traffic, rush hours, lane changes, traffic lights, fueling, scales, sliding tandems , load securement, moody shippers/receivers, paperwork, ELD entries, parking lots, backing,... I'm sure I've missed some things that are challenging now, but should become not so taxing in the future. I can see why it takes six months just to get accustomed and acclimated to this career. Plenty of challenges await!

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.

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".

G-Town's Comment
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Keep on truckin' You're doing fine.

FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

Week 3 of training, in where as we strive for a total of around 8,500 miles and accomplish several driving areas in four to five weeks, is complete. Accumulated around 6,500 miles thus far and should be able to attain the 8,500 mile benchmark next week, just in time for Christmas.

My biggest improvement has been lane control. Early on I was hugging the right side of the lane too close and would trigger the lane departure alarm, way too many times imho. It has consistently improved over time and last week was so much better.

Following distance is nowhere near where it should be, again, imho. Seems traffic has to kind of allow for the appropriate distance at times. The more dense the traffic, the harder it is to keep that following distance from being too short. It bothers me, but remain hyper focused on what's way up ahead as well as the area in front of me. It's always a great feeling to start slowing before the vehicles in front of me have even hit their brakes yet.

Navigation can be challenging; if it wasn't for my trainer at times, I would have been at a real loss. I'm sure to figure it out, but don't like the thought of it. I've experienced a missed turn on my first week and it put me in a pretty bad situation. I was fortunate enough to be able to basically go around the block to get back to my missed turn, but it wasn't ideal at all.

I'm out for five days a week, for which I'm not complaining about, but it is tougher than being able to be home each night. It does make the end of the week more exciting, though. Getting home to see the wife and family is a great thing to look forward to after working hard all week. I recently purchased a headset that allows me to talk on the phone while driving and that has been wonderful talking to my wife during the week.

Eating out is expensive. Didn't eat as much as last week, so that's good. Plan on taking more prepared dishes with me, especially when I'm on the road running solo. Sharing a small fridge with my trainer doesn't allow for both of us to take too much, but it hasn't been too bad overall. Having some beef jerky in the overhead compartment, right above the driver's seat, is handy. Water jug nearby is also handy. Coffee in the thermos cup is right there in the cup holder, is a given, haha.

Looking forward to driving solo and "Driving the Brand." Going to be some learning experiences, I'm sure; just hope they're not too bad. My trainer assures me they will happen. That's understandable.

Until later...

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

Well, well, well... What do we have here? A puddle of coolant, you say. That's not supposed to be there underneath the truck.

It's Thursday morning of the fourth week and I've driven exactly zero miles this week. Here I was all excited and hoping to get in two-thousand miles so I could finish the training program and get to solo driving this week. Alas, the good Lord had other plans!

Other than accomplishing some stuff at home, there isn't much to report. I keep waiting for a call/text from my trainer for an update and that's about it. There was a dispatch sent so I got excited thinking we might get going soon. But as soon as I pre-trip it, it disappears out of the que. Doh! Guess they're trying to line things up but without the truck being finished, how can you make any commitments to the customer?

The latest word on the truck is that it was to be done this morning, so we'll see. Sure want to get a few miles in this week, however, there might be some nasty weather involved and my wife is concerned. I trust it will all work out .

Until later...

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.

FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

In that SpongeBob British narrator voice, "One week later..." Not a mile driven. Well, it was expected; my trainer is on vacation, so I am too. Providing nothing happens that sets us back, I should resume driving next Tuesday. It'll be a shorter 4 day week, but hope dispatch has some good runs for us. 2k miles would be ideal to finish up the required miles and get a truck assigned to me by Friday. Tall order? If so, then we'll just have to finish up the following week, no biggie; I just roll with whatever comes my way.

Until later...

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

I know it sucks sitting when you want to be rolling, but keep up your positive attitude, you'll be solo before you know it.

FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

I know it sucks sitting when you want to be rolling, but keep up your positive attitude, you'll be solo before you know it.

Thanks, Sandman!

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.
FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

Yahoo! I'm done with the finishing program. Drove all the required areas of our region and over 8,500 miles, although the actual number of miles I'll have to find out for sure.

We're currently short on getting trucks turned over, where as the new ones that come in get assigned to the fellas with the older trucks and I'm sure years of service plays a part, too. So I'm in a holding pattern for a short time.

I'll update later, especially when I have my first truck to show off to the group. Haha

Until later...

Warren B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey FR8M4N!

I have followed your journey for the last 2mths, and it seems you are getting along just dandy. I appreciate your comments about the challenges you have faced and your positive attitude. I am still planning on attending CDL school in June. I finish my teaching career, and it's back at school - this time as a student. I really can't wait to get started. I am going to get my written test done in March to be prepared for the skills test in June. But I wanted to ask where did you/are training- if that is okay for you to mention? At any rate, keep trucking, and hopefully you will be solo soon!

WarrenB

In that SpongeBob British narrator voice, "One week later..." Not a mile driven. Well, it was expected; my trainer is on vacation, so I am too. Providing nothing happens that sets us back, I should resume driving next Tuesday. It'll be a shorter 4 day week, but hope dispatch has some good runs for us. 2k miles would be ideal to finish up the required miles and get a truck assigned to me by Friday. Tall order? If so, then we'll just have to finish up the following week, no biggie; I just roll with whatever comes my way.

Until later...

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

FR8 M4N's Comment
member avatar

Hey FR8M4N!

I have followed your journey for the last 2mths, and it seems you are getting along just dandy. I appreciate your comments about the challenges you have faced and your positive attitude. I am still planning on attending CDL school in June. I finish my teaching career, and it's back at school - this time as a student. I really can't wait to get started. I am going to get my written test done in March to be prepared for the skills test in June. But I wanted to ask where did you/are training- if that is okay for you to mention? At any rate, keep trucking, and hopefully you will be solo soon!

WarrenB

double-quotes-start.png

In that SpongeBob British narrator voice, "One week later..." Not a mile driven. Well, it was expected; my trainer is on vacation, so I am too. Providing nothing happens that sets us back, I should resume driving next Tuesday. It'll be a shorter 4 day week, but hope dispatch has some good runs for us. 2k miles would be ideal to finish up the required miles and get a truck assigned to me by Friday. Tall order? If so, then we'll just have to finish up the following week, no biggie; I just roll with whatever comes my way.

Until later...

double-quotes-end.png

Hi Warren, glad to hear from you!

In the beginning of my journey, I did a fair amount of looking around at different options and companies and decided on going the way of a sponsored school. I choose Keller Trucking out of Defiance, OH for their "Best Fleet to Drive for" status of 5 years running and for their location in relation to where I live.

They sent me to Trainco for the schooling, located in Perrysburg, OH, about 30 minutes East of Defiance, which makes it about 2 hours from where I live. They put me up in a hotel for the entire time I was attending school; super sweet, IMHO. Understand, the school is designed to get you to pass the state driving test in an accelerated manner. Studying a lot ahead of time will be very beneficial to you, the student. And when out on the range, practice, practice, practice! Don't waste a minute if you can help it; trust me.

Keller is actively hiring, (hope it's okay to give a plug here in the forum). If you'd like details, I'll have my cell in my bio. Give me a text if you like. And remember, I referred you! ;o)

Studying ahead of time will make it all work out in your favor by far. This site has a lot to offer and was very beneficial for me when I got started. I'll drop a few links here that will be helpful to you and others who stumble upon this diary.

Good luck to you on your quest to a new career! Be sure to start a diary, too!

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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