From Technical Service Advisor To Truck Driver

Topic 32586 | Page 3

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Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
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Thank you, and thank you for your story. That looks like it was pretty challenging. Be safe out there!

Enjoying your diary.

FR8 M4N's Comment
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FR8 M4T wrote:

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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.

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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.

Sorry, my statement came across wrong. I meant more like, I liked that portion of the school, and wish it included more driving time.

I agree that they are there to get you through the testing and not much more. Driving with the trainers was the best part for me.

Thanks for your input, G-Town! I like that you are very helpful with the community here.

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.
FR8 M4N'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.

~

I totally get the tiredness you speak of! I had the same issues, too.

I found blind side easier, haha! I ended up with sight side parallel park during the skills test, though. Worked out just fine, but I did start out a little nervous.

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.

Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
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Day 8-

another day in the books today I started out by doing the in cab pre-trip as well as one of the axles. The instructor did not have time today to get through the entire pre-trip or I’m sure he would’ve been happy to have me do the entire thing. I got the in cab out of sequence but I got everything and I would’ve passed if it was a real test.

After a break, it was back to the range. I brushed up on reverse lane changes (that’s what they call offset backing here ) and did a few blind side parallel parking maneuvers. And it was time for lunch.

After lunch, I was scheduled to drive. After going through a quick pre-trip, I was headed to get some fuel. I was about an hour up on the other person that went out with me, so I only drove to, and from the truckstop to get fuel. a new instructor was going through an evaluation, so we had the instructor trainer with us too. Had some interesting conversations related to trucking and his experience. Learned there is much diversity in this field and a lot of money to be made. Really I just want a small piece of it, not trying to be greedy.

One more break and back to the range it was. I got started out on Alley backing, which was the last maneuver I hadn’t done yet. I did it four times and it went really well even though I was using big green, which seems to be the hardest truck to maneuver here. Honestly, I’m not sure which truck is harder, the big blue one or the big green one, but I’ve used both for some of the hardest maneuvers so I’m confident that I’ll be at least prepared to go through the test.

i’m not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I’m pretty sure I’ll end up driving and on the range since I still need hours on both. I’ve driven a little over five hours now and it seems to get a little easier every time. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. And now I must get some rest.

~

Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
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Day 9-

Another day down, one to go this week! Today started out with a drive or if you will a ride along for a couple hours and then a drive. I enjoyed getting out and driving a longer distance today. That was fun. And it was my entire morning.

After lunch I went out to the range. I decided to hit the alley back first to see how good I could do… Or how bad. I ended up doing pretty well with that, but I had 2 1/2 hours of practice today. After a short break, I came back and the driver side parallel park. I had a little bit of a hard time with it today, but I was able to decide when it was time to get out and look before I did any damage, or hit any cones. I only technically hit the wall once. Of course, that was one too many times if it was real world backing.

this day came to an end as quickly as it started, hoping tomorrow goes just as fast because I’m looking forward to going back home to be with my family. Not sure what I’ll do tomorrow but I’m ready. I did learn today that I’ll be testing on the 23rd of this month right around 1 PM, so keep me in mind and pray for me. Thanks!

~

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Day 9-

Another day down, one to go this week! Today started out with a drive or if you will a ride along for a couple hours and then a drive. I enjoyed getting out and driving a longer distance today. That was fun. And it was my entire morning.

After lunch I went out to the range. I decided to hit the alley back first to see how good I could do… Or how bad. I ended up doing pretty well with that, but I had 2 1/2 hours of practice today. After a short break, I came back and the driver side parallel park. I had a little bit of a hard time with it today, but I was able to decide when it was time to get out and look before I did any damage, or hit any cones. I only technically hit the wall once. Of course, that was one too many times if it was real world backing.

this day came to an end as quickly as it started, hoping tomorrow goes just as fast because I’m looking forward to going back home to be with my family. Not sure what I’ll do tomorrow but I’m ready. I did learn today that I’ll be testing on the 23rd of this month right around 1 PM, so keep me in mind and pray for me. Thanks!

~

Woohoo, sure hope testing will go great for you. I’ll be on my last day of the orientation on that day. By the wx forecast, it looks like the best day of the week for ya!

Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
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Day 11

today was a good day. Practiced the pre-trip inspection first, then we went out for a drive. There were four of us in the truck, and I believe we all finished our required drive time today. First thing this afternoon we went out to the range and practiced alley dock which was the one item that I was not signed off on yet. I was feeling good after practicing that a few times. The second part of the afternoon we got familiarized with doing the maneuvers in the actual truck that we will test in. I was very relieved to find out that the trucks that we will test in are actually much easier to maneuver than the trucks on the range. Right now I’m feeling pretty good about the test, even though I know anything could happen.

I only have one more day to practice, and then I will test on Wednesday. No pressure, but I’m the last of my group to test. What could happen?

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.

FR8 M4N's Comment
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Sounds good! Sure glad you are able to practice the maneuvers with the actual truck you'll test in. That was a suggestion I made in the exit interview. I can see where that might not always be available to the students if the trucks are in use for other testers or if they're out on the road. But maybe they can schedule it so the students have one for the range time more consistently? Anyway, that's awesome.

Good luck tomorrow!

Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
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Day 12

Last day is history. Tomorrow is the test. I’m looking forward to finishing up and being done with this so I can get started with the new career. It’s been fun, but it’s time to get down to business.

Today I was able to practice an actual full pre-trip inspection , and I got to do both sides of parallel parking and several alley dock maneuvers. Everything seems pretty polished up and I’m ready for whatever tomorrow brings. I know it could always happen that something goes wrong, but I’m hoping and praying for the best. I feel like the school has done a pretty good job of preparing me, and if anything goes sideways, I’ll just roll with it.

As I said, I really enjoyed this. The school does a great job of preparing you for the tests, but what they can’t control is what happens when you actually go in front of an examiner and nerves begin to do what they do. If I could change one thing about the school it is that their range equipment is not the nicest, nor is it the same type of equipment that we have to test on so it can be difficult to actually feel like we’re being prepared properly when we are in equipment that does not look or act the same as the equipment that we will test on . All in all the equipment was adequate, and once I learned to look past the shortcomings of the equipment, I was able to just practice the maneuvers for what they are.

Whether the results are good or not tomorrow I will share them with you, and hopefully we can celebrate together!

~

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.

Grumpy Army Veteran's Comment
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Thank you. I’ll be happy to tell you more about Keller when I have first-hand experience with them. I have been hired in as a semi regional driver. Keller’s semi regional is five days a week and home every weekend. You can find more information at www.driveforkeller.com.

At this point all I can tell you for certain is that I have found no one with negative feedback about the company. Obviously that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but I have not found any yet . As far as driving equipment, they have a very good record of maintenance and their equipment is no more than three years old from what I understand. I look forward to learning more about them so I can fill you in.

Welcome to our forum.

Please tell us more about Keller Trucking. I do t think we have any information on that outfit.

Good luck.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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