HIGH ANXIETY 😳

Topic 32827 | Page 1

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Doug N.'s Comment
member avatar

Howdy folks, My name is Doug, and I'm new to trucking, and new here. Thanks to the administers and all of you for a forum of expression. After a 35 year career in mobile automobile reconditioning, economic circumstances are requiring a move into trucking ( or something else). A friend ( and former customer) from my soon former industry, wants to hire me to do home/ and commercial fuel delivery for the small oil company he works for. The job requires I come to the hire with a Class B CDL including air brakes, tank, and hazmat endorsements. Such requirements are fully on my dime. Their trucks are 6 wheeler automatic medium duty Freightliners and such. So, a B with the extras would be sufficient. But my rationale is that if I'm paying for a B, why not spend a little extra and get the A? While the rather rural route ( my potential workspace) uses just the little trucks, corporate has semis🤔 Over the years, I have backed driven and safely backed many different size ( under CDL) straight trucks ( And I've owned 3 1 one tone box vans) using only mirrors. But I've never owned, nor rarely backed a trailer. Then last Wednesday, I did my first straight back with a 53 ft. trailer...on the range. And I already have a history of "panic attacks"... imagine becoming blind to hand gestures...and deaf to" turn!...turn! ...turn!" I had a class to get to this morning... And I am grateful the weather kept me from 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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.
Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

Are you asking if you should consider getting your CDL A?

You asked if you are going to get your B, why not your A then (perhaps rhetorically). The answer is that the driving for the two vehicles is completely different. If you intend to pursue a career driving a class A vehicle, then get your class A license. Inquire whether or not your company has openings for class A drivers. Otherwise, just stick with getting your class B because that is what you will be driving.

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.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the forum! We're glad you stopped in.

Being an "all in" kind of guy, I take the philosophy of if a little of something is good, a lot must be better, right? If you're going to be something, be the best. So with this philosophy, if you're going to spend the time training for a Class B, just use the same time and go straight for the Class A. You'll be much happier in the end for doing so, and it'll open up many many more possibilities for you, now and in the future.

Now about that anxiety. Let me ask you this: After trying the straight back for the first time, do you think you'll be as nervous on the next attempt? Probably not, I suspect. You are completely new to the mechanics of backing a trailer, so no one expects perfection from you. With every attempt, you'll gain experience and confidence in your ability. With time, practice, and focus you will become comfortable and that anxiety will be gone.

Everybody out here experiences anxiety at times. Maintaining your focus and not freezing up is key. Become a sponge for training and absorb all the tips and instruction with confidence, knowing you are getting better every day.

If you don't use your class a, who cares?. You'll still have it in your pocket for when you want it. That's my view on it.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

As a CDL Instructor, I see this a lot. I stopped teaching straight line back and start with parallel now. The straight back is in the parallel for short distances and allows the person to learn. The larger turns of the wheel during parallel gives them more control and builds confidence

You didn't come outta your mother's ****** backing a trailer. Give yourself time

Time yourself with a stop watch. Compare your times to yourself and see the improvement.

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.
Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

I disagree with Ryan, go all in and get the A. If you end up wanting to operate a A vehicle you will be able to without the cost and delays of having to upgrade. If you decide to stay with B vehicles you can do that as well.

As for anxiety, I deal with it as well. I've been out here 5.5 years now and still deal with it from time to time. It will get better the more time you practice.

Nuts's Comment
member avatar

Doug, welcome. Speaking from the perspective of someone who has their class B, it opened doors but the A will open more doors. What if you don't like the company or job once you start but have you Class A? Options in your favor are good and make you more marketable. If you get the A but never need it so what. However if a job pops that is better and needs that A do you want to go back through training?

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

All of the reasons for stating to just go ahead and get the class A make sense. One thing I wonder is a common theme that is talked about on this thread is a CDL going stale. So, if a person gets a class A license, but is working a job driving a class B vehicle, wouldn't the issue of the class A going stale be the same? Companies that hire class A drivers without experience would still require a refresher course or CDL training for the class A, something that we have seen here plenty. Driving a class B vehicle is nothing the same as driving a class A, so the experience doesn't really count for anything with trucking companies, other than it's good work history.

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.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

All of the reasons for stating to just go ahead and get the class A make sense. One thing I wonder is a common theme that is talked about on this thread is a CDL going stale. So, if a person gets a class A license, but is working a job driving a class B vehicle, wouldn't the issue of the class A going stale be the same? Companies that hire class A drivers without experience would still require a refresher course or CDL training for the class A, something that we have seen here plenty. Driving a class B vehicle is nothing the same as driving a class A, so the experience doesn't really count for anything with trucking companies, other than it's good work history.

Ryan... Refresher courses are different at each company. Prime, for example, brings in a stale CDL holder and gives them an evaluation. If they pass. They go into training. If they fail, they get the refresher course at no cost to them. There is no need to do a full DOT CDL exam. That is a major difference. So again... If you are already paying and using your time. It is still better to get the CDL A, rather than just the B.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey Doug, it's great to see you pursuing this career! Just take things one step at a time. Try to relax and embrace the hectic process. We've all felt backing anxiety. It's every rookies weak spot.

We have a fun article about learning to go backwards. I hope you'll check it out.

The Backing Range - Clown Soup For The Soul

BK's Comment
member avatar

Doug, I know full well the curse of “backing anxiety”. For a long time every time I had to back up, my deodorant protection would break down . After more than 1 & 1/2 years of experience, I don’t consider myself a good backer. More of a third string quarterback level backer, but getting better with every attempt. Tonight, I had to park in the staging lot at a Costco DC. It was a ridiculously easy situation. But I failed in my first attempt and had to swing around for another setup. I still had to do a GOAL and two pull ups. I know several other drivers were sitting in their seats watching me and wondering why I didn’t have a “STUDENT DRIVER” sign on the back of my trailer. I know they were laughing at me, but I didn’t care because I was laughing at myself. Probably the best backing advice I ever got from another driver was what he said about himself: “ I don’t care how who is waiting on me, I don’t care how many times I have to GOAL, i don’t care how many pull ups I have to do, I’m just not going to hit anything.”.

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