From Technical Service Advisor To Truck Driver

Topic 32586 | Page 2

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Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
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Thanks !

Happy Anniversary!

Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
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Day 4-

Day four is history! Today we started out at the range, practicing reverse lane changes or “offset backing” (for those of you, that don’t know what this is, a short video, explaining it can be found at this link : https://youtu.be/-wVobD4Juhc). It was quite a challenge and it was fun but it had to end and we had to go back to the classroom at 9 o’clock.

Since today was our last classroom day, we learned the last of what we needed to know for the test, and then this afternoon first thing we took the test. I only got a 99%, so very disappointed in myself.

After all our classroom time, we got to go out and practice pre-trip inspections again. The hope is by the time we get to the test the pre-trip will be second nature and we won’t have to worry about losing any points there. We learned a little bit more of the truck today and everybody seemed to get a little bit better at it. It was a beautiful day and it was a good time to be outside because it was nice and warm. Really can’t believe I’m saying that at this time in November.

I’m looking forward to more range time tomorrow, and I believe we may even get out on the road. Of course, we will practice pre-trip first I think they said for two hours. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to learn the entire truck or what’s left of it . It’s a very repetitive process, but on these big rigs, everything needs to be checked, because if anything goes wrong, the truck could become a missile flying at someone unsuspecting .

~

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
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Today we started out at the range, practicing reverse lane changes or “offset backing” (for those of you, that don’t know what this is, a short video, explaining it can be found at this link : https://youtu.be/-wVobD4Juhc). It was quite a challenge and it was fun but it had to end and we had to go back to the classroom at 9 o’clock.

That’s a really good video. This is also called a parallel back, actually the more common name for it. We’ve read the question more than once on TT; why is this necessary?

IMO if you can effectively execute a parallel back, everything else becomes elementary. Real world examples are common, but maybe not so obvious.

I want to share an example of an offset I had to execute a few years back at a Walmart store in Manville NJ. It’s a 2 dock store that many times has two units parked elephant style on either the inside (next to store wall) or outside (next to street) bay. In this particular instance, the outside bay had two trailers leaving the inside bay open. Usually an easy back at this store, however on this day a truck had parked next to the wall about 100’ from the trailer on the outside bay. The only way in was using an offset or parallel maneuver that has little room for error.

Here is a photo I snapped when completed:

0000649001668178974.jpg

The point of this? Offset backing skills are relevant and necessary, often required when least expecting it. And when encountering a situation like this, if possible GOAL before committing to your setup, paying careful attention to any potential obstructions or hazards in your backing path.

Good diary, enjoying the read. Good luck on your progress.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
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Thank you for the excellent example of a real world application for the offset backing! Great explanation too.

Here is a photo I snapped when completed:

0000649001668178974.jpg

The point of this? Offset backing skills are relevant and necessary, often required when least expecting it.

Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
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Day 5-

Sorry I took a while to get this done. I got to go home Friday evening, so I have already told this story to some of the people reading this. Friday morning we started out by doing a pre-trip inspection on the truck. After the exterior inspection, we got in the truck and did the in-cab portion of the pre-trip. The instructor then parked the truck where we could drop the trailer, and we went through the drop off with him and left it there.

Next up was a drive around the pond on the school property, which is not very large, but it is enough to practice with familiarization of the start and stop, and to talk about turning with the trailer, without actually having it attached, so we could discuss any mistakes made by cutting corners too short. After we all got a turn on the property, we took the bobtail tractor out for a drive. We are driving an automatic transmission tractor, and my group is only getting schooling for automatic, so we won’t be learning about shifting any more than we already have. The bobtail drive went well, and we practiced watching all angles during turns and turning wide, so that when we drive with a trailer, we should be able to turn with both. A little city, and a little highway driving with the bobtail for everyone, and we went back to the school for lunch.

After lunch we hooked up the trailer, did our tug test to make sure it was secure and went out on the road with the trailer. We all had a chance to take several turns driving both on the road and on the highway, doing everything from easy turns, to some pretty tight turns that actually required other 4 wheel vehicles to move out of the way. We went back to the school, took a break, and then went back out for more driving until it was time to go home. It was really nice to be able to go home for the weekend, but it is very exciting to be able to get out and drive a big truck. Can’t wait to get back to it, but I am very happy to be home right now.

TTFN

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Enjoying your diary.

One of the first backs on my own during team driver training was an offset back at a produce distributor in Detroit. It was very tight with only two docks in a garage. The easier dock was occupied.

I had to pull into a lot across the street to set up, then offset right into my dock. There was a guardrail on my right blindside at the lot gate. Plus columns separating the the two docks at entrance to the garage. Then stairs next to the dock. The driveway to the dock was sloped down with a hump near the front that caught my landing gear. Had to crank it up an extra very hard inch to get over the cement.

Took me 30 minutes and several GOALs to get it done without hitting anything. My trainer slept through it.

0252310001668379486.jpg

0444451001668379722.jpg

Ryan B.'s Comment
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Pretty challenging back right there. Great job in getting it done safely.

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Day 5-

Sorry I took a while to get this done. I got to go home Friday evening, so I have already told this story to some of the people reading this. Friday morning we started out by doing a pre-trip inspection on the truck. After the exterior inspection, we got in the truck and did the in-cab portion of the pre-trip. The instructor then parked the truck where we could drop the trailer, and we went through the drop off with him and left it there.

Next up was a drive around the pond on the school property, which is not very large, but it is enough to practice with familiarization of the start and stop, and to talk about turning with the trailer, without actually having it attached, so we could discuss any mistakes made by cutting corners too short. After we all got a turn on the property, we took the bobtail tractor out for a drive. We are driving an automatic transmission tractor, and my group is only getting schooling for automatic, so we won’t be learning about shifting any more than we already have. The bobtail drive went well, and we practiced watching all angles during turns and turning wide, so that when we drive with a trailer, we should be able to turn with both. A little city, and a little highway driving with the bobtail for everyone, and we went back to the school for lunch.

After lunch we hooked up the trailer, did our tug test to make sure it was secure and went out on the road with the trailer. We all had a chance to take several turns driving both on the road and on the highway, doing everything from easy turns, to some pretty tight turns that actually required other 4 wheel vehicles to move out of the way. We went back to the school, took a break, and then went back out for more driving until it was time to go home. It was really nice to be able to go home for the weekend, but it is very exciting to be able to get out and drive a big truck. Can’t wait to get back to it, but I am very happy to be home right now.

TTFN

Total of 10 hours of drive time is too short! ;) I'm glad the area around the school offers a good variety of driving conditions.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

G-Town's Comment
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FR8 M4T wrote:

Total of 10 hours of drive time is too short! ;) I'm glad the area around the school offers a good variety of driving conditions.

I’m going to respectively disagree.

If this 10 hours is road time, outside the confines of the yard, it’s definitely satisfactory. Remember, the majority of schooling options only teach enough to pass the CDL tests. They are not teaching you how to be a productive truck driver.

Additional, higher quality drive time occurs with your employer extending drive time before going solo (or teaming) in the way of road training or mentoring.

I recall my drive time during school was about 12hours. It was plenty to pass the CDL tests. During mentoring I drove 160 hours.

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.
Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
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Day 7-

Sorry, I missed my diary for DAY 6. I was really tired yesterday and just went to bed and honestly forgot about it. Day six started out doing pre-trip for about an hour, and then we went out on the road. Spent a good portion of the day out on the road, almost all of it, there was about 2 1/2 hours of range time in the middle.

today was more of the same, started out the morning pre-tripping, the instructor signed off one of our people in the class today for going through the entire pre-trip. I guess I opened my mouth a little too much during the critique, because he told me that I would do the pre-trip tomorrow. I’m not scared, everybody messes up.

After doing pre-trip, we went out on the road. There was four of us, and we all got at least an hour driving. I went through a construction zone where the lanes were reduced in size by a noticeable amount, but it didn’t seem to bother me too much. The rest of it was easy driving after that.

After lunch, we went out to the range, and I was introduced to parallel parking. I had a little bit of a hard time on the blind side, but the sight side seemed easy. To be fair, I was in two different trucks for the two different maneuvers. On the blindside I was in the sleeper cab, and on the sight side, I was in a day cab. I got into a truck, and also practiced the offset lane change, which, by now seems fairly easy especially in comparison to parallel parking.

For the most part, it seemed like a fairly productive day, and while I still feel like I need a lot of practice I am starting to feel a lot better about the range time. I’m not sure what else we will do tomorrow, but it seems like pre-trip is a definite for that morning. I am looking forward to it.

~

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

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