A Rook's Attempt At A Veriha Training Diary

Topic 32493 | Page 2

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Sandman J's Comment
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Thanks Old School! I read the article you linked. It is very encouraging. I knew the backing up would be hard and will take a very long time to feel comfortable at, and I'm willing to put in the time and effort so I can be out there on my own enjoying going forward!

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Enjoying the diary, SJ! Good luck with the second week. I, myself, am expecting a lot of range time as well as more road time. Have fun!

PackRat's Comment
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Pay attention during your training, and be especially mindful and diligent with coupling trailers. This guy skipped a step or two.

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Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

Will do, PackRat, that doesn't look like a position I want to be in!

Today started with a road drive, I got a bit more time because I was with the trainer who can only take one student at a time. No complaints from me! Overall it went pretty well. My speed control has greatly improved, just need to keep focusing on smoothing out my turns.

Back to the range with one of the CDL holders, and the two of us rotated doing Offsets. Again, more practice which I specifically asked for, no complaints. I would have one good one then one bad one and back and forth it went. The good ones felt so great getting them done! I know once I set myself up properly for the straight-back to finish it out, it ends well. It's getting to that point that is the challenge. I will continue to learn and practice.

After lunch, it was everyone do one offset, and if they liked what they saw overall, we'd move to the 90s. Well mine and a couple others left a lot to be desired but off to the 90s we went. That blew my mind. The cool parts were seeing the tandems actually pivot vs roll, and the lug trick! Lug trick being to approach the box, GOAL, pace off how many steps from your ICC bumper to the middle of the box, then watching the lug nuts on the driver side steer, reverse as that many lug nuts passes the place of the one you started looking at. I'm sure that could be explained better so if anyone familiar with it wants to smooth out that explanation for readers please do. Two reps of that, one guided and one on our own with guidance as needed, brought us to the end of class.

Due to tomorrow's forecast, we are likely doing our classroom day. Wednesday or Thursday is our mock test for Pre-Trip, and I am excited for that! Something I am actually pretty confident in.

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.

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".

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Sounds like you are progressing quite well! Hang in there!

Sandman J's Comment
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Hanging in there, FR8TM4N! You do the same!

Today was good, in my head anyway, haha... We rotated between the straight line back followed by an immediate offset, then the 90. All my straight line backs were good, my first offset was terrible, but then my next two went great. My first 90 was horrible, followed by a decent one, with instructor guidance. Early in the day, I thought, man I'm never gonna get this. I don't know what changed, but my mind got in the right attitude, because even though my offsets are inconsistent and my 90s are bad, I started feeling like, you know what, I'll get this. So that made me feel good. While we were doing that, the two CDL holders did some backs with us and did their road tests to test out, and one of them did. He headed home and will meet up with his road trainer tomorrow morning. That's gotta feel great!

After lunch we were in the classroom going over Powerpoint slides. Tomorrow will be the mock tests, which I did not know would include the straight line and offset backs, I thought it was just the Pre-Trip. But I'm still excited for it!

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.
Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

Today was a good day. I passed my mock test! It is the halfway point of the class by number of days in the Veriha Driver Academy.

Six of us left in class, we were split into groups of two, and we currently have three instructors. While the instructors each gave the pre-trip and LABs (brake test) to one student, the rest of us went to a truck to practice backing. We would be tested on the straight line back and the offset back. My practice backs for both went great. Then I was called over for the pre-trip. I was told to do the front of tractor, driver side engine compartment, front axle of the tandems , and coupling components. Pre-trip went great and I didn't miss a thing. Next was in-cab and LABs. I got in my head and froze when thinking if the engine needed to be on or off, which sucked because I practiced a lot and was confident. After thinking through it and calming down, I got through it all and passed everything.

Back to the truck as a group of six to be tested on our backs. Straight line which I've been doing great on I used a pull-up but no points there. Offset which has been hit or miss for me didn't go as smoothly as I hoped but it wasn't horrendous and I racked up two points. Also saw by way of another student the importance of following the examiner's instructions to a T. We are supposed to honk the horn when the back is complete. He honked after passing the first set of cones where you'd honk for the offset, but he was on his straight line. Automatic fail. For the offset he was supposed to be to the right of the yellow painted line but was on the right. Automatic fail. Pay attention, I will remind myself! Anyone who failed anything will be retested on Friday. Luckily I passed all my tests today.

Tomorrow should be road drives in the morning, and backing practice in the afternoon. I'm hoping to improve on my 90, all of them really, but that's where I need to focus. I understand the concept of the offset even if I can't always execute it great. Til tomorrow...

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

Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

Morning great, afternoon terrible.

My road drive this morning felt excellent. I drove for probably the longest I have driven, not sure how long it was though, and covered the local town streets, country roads, and highways. The only critique at the end was don't come in so hot on the turns and roundabouts. My personal critique was I was finally smooth in turning, accelerating, and braking, and had great speed control, but I was favoring the outside of the lane on the highways. I was checking both mirrors properly which should keep me centered, so not sure what that was about. Oh well. I am confident in that aspect and in my pre-trip. When I returned to the range after the drive, I had time to knock out one 90 back, and it went fantastically! I did freeze at one point and the instructor gave me a two-step instruction then it went in the box. It was by far the best 90 I have done, and I left for lunch on cloud nine!

Unfortunately that was short-lived, as after lunch, I couldn't back for nothing. My first offset and 90 were pretty bad. Same with the next round. After that, they moved the offset/straight line to another part of the range to open a second 90 hole. I went to the new 90 and stayed there as that is my worst skill. I continued to underperform, and before I knew it, it was time to go in and fill out the log book to end the day. Wish I had more time.

One instructor wants tomorrow to be ALL backing but another instructor has to approve that. I hope he does! My next update will either be late tomorrow night or on Saturday, as I will be driving home after class due to having next week off.

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Sandman,

You are doing really well. How do I know this, you ask? There are a few reasons. One, you have a great attitude. Two, you are grounded well enough to put yourself out there on this forum, showing the good/the bad, the ups/the downs. Three, you take constructive criticism well, and you are willing to self-assess. So long as you keep doing just as you are, you will be in great shape to have success with a trainer. Continue with the positive attitude, accepting of constructive criticism, and willingness to self-assess. By doing so when you go out with your trainer, it will enable your trainer to make the most of the training time, which will enable you to maximize your learning potential.

You really are setting yourself up for success, and you would be amazed at the number of trainees who fail to do just that. So, in those moments when you are struggling, when the mistakes come, understand that it's all part of the learning process. You will make mistakes, many of them, and everyone of us did the same when we first started.

Just keep this same positive attitude with great energy. It will serve you well down the road.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

Ryan, thank you for the very kind words. I will keep my positive attitude, and even though it's hard to feel incompetent, I know we all have to start at zero in this and work our way up from there. Much appreciated.

Friday was a fantastic day overall. I've been able to spend the first hour of the days which is our personal pre-trip time helping other students since I'm confident on that, while also making sure I stay up to par myself. Encouraging them when they get it right, and hearing/watching what they might miss and helping them is hammering it home for me too, so it's a win-win. After that, I knocked out a perfect alley dock then offset, no pullups or GOALs. It even impressed the instructor that I was able to nail it! My day was off to a great start! Then it was road drive time. I went first of the three that were put in the truck. I am feeling more confident and improving every day, and also learning something new every day. That trainer was very glad to see that I was able to safely avoid a piece of metal debris in the roadway when turning onto a highway entrance ramp. Didn't know if I was gonna clear it but I did. When we came back to the range, I went for the alley dock and was doing good still. I feared the results of the day prior would repeat itself, doing great in the morning then horrible after lunch. But I came back, switching between the alley dock and the offset, and though they weren't perfect, I was doing good backs, learning, and it finally felt like it started to click. Being calmer and more laid back definitely helped.

This diary's on hiatus until class resumes in a week. Thanks for reading and to those that have given advice, I am taking it all in.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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