Hagerstown Community College: Commercial Vehicle Transportation Specialist

Topic 4973 | Page 1

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Richard D.'s Comment
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I'm late on letting you guys know. I enrolled into this college and started my first day of training on the 26th.

I arrived at the Volvo plant with my heavy bag and briefcase full of documentation and reluctantly walked towards the group of much older men whom I'll be destined to train with for 7.5 weeks.

Our instructors stormed out of their secret building, all dressed in HCC uniforms and had all of the students explain why we chose to be truck drivers and what our background were like. The usual meet and greet followed by a no frills "shut up and open your big blue book to chapter one". 8 hours of solid book work later I exited the classroom with readers fatigue and promises of driving the trucks on the 27th (Today.)

So lets get to the juicy bits.

I arrive today at the school and we almost immediately got down and dirty into the pre trip inspection. The sun came up and slammed into us without mercy. The instructor with his sunscreen and giant umbrella chuckling at our pain while we baked for approximately 6 and a half hours before given permission to enter the trucks and begin driving straight and reversing straight.


I FINALLLLLY Got to manipulate the air seat like I always wanted to. The power was in my hands! HSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!....HSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST!!!!!!! Hmm... maybe just a little more HSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!! just perfect.

Anyway. I aced this part of the course as well as the pretrip inspection. Right when things were getting fun it was time to head home. With my 3 points of contact I got out of the truck and felt that soreness of my body. How long has it been since I crawled under a trailer to specifically point out where all the parts were located? What on earth did I just do? Did I suddenly stop being lazy? LOL

The college course is amazing. I'll be left with 16 college credits. If I take 3 more classes I'll obtain a certificate for Commercial Transportation Management. I was thinking about just going for it. I'm already knee deep in right?

My willpower to type more has died off. I'm so exhausted and sunburned. I'm going to shower, drink a gatoraid, chug down some water, apply aloe vera to my flesh and eat like a pig on my stomach in bed while I watch old episodes of Home Movies (an old AdultSwim cartoon) like a fatty!

Here are some pictures I took! (Finally see the face of the most curious trucker ever.) and I figured I might as well show you guys my ride. Everyone at the school laughed at me. "HOW CAN YOU DRIVE THAT??? AND THEN THINK YOU CAN DRIVE A TRUCK?! AHAHAHAH" yeah well. So far so good!10014612_464443977022411_797200410969219training truck at hagerstown community collegetruck drivers picture in a reflective hubcap


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Cactus Hobbit's Comment
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Awesome start keep it coming.

Richard D.'s Comment
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I'm behind a lot on this log. A few days have gone by since I first posted.

We've attacked Pre Trip Inspections without mercy on a daily basis. Then began straight backing, beginner shifting on a flat surface, offset backing, parallel parking up until 9/8/2014.

On 9/8/2014 me and the other 3 students hopped into the truck and headed out to an abandoned warehouse to practice shifting from 5thgear to 8th gear, then back down to 5th gear. I had managed to find a company that let me borrow their truck and drive it around their parking lot so I had plenty of practice on double clutching already and flipping from low to high so I was on my game. Suddenly the instructor pulled a fast one and had us drive on the road with live traffic. HUMANOIDS!

Just like that all of my discipline left me and fear took over. I started grinding gears more often and lost my cool a few times during my first real trip out. My second turn through the city yielded better results and my third was just as decent. "Alright guys. Tomorrow we'll have a trailer attached to this truck and you'll taste what its really like to drive through the city."

Oh crap.

TODAY 9/9/2014: We load up into the truck and head to the usual training spot and take off into the city. Surprisingly I did a great job! Trailer was straight, didn't hit any curbs. Kept my truck within legal boundaries and shifted decent for my first two turns. HOWEVER.... my third turn. I was on a small incline to leave an establishment and people were tailgating me from behind. I had my service brake pedal down and did my best to slowly release the clutch until I felt a little bit of tug so I wouldn't roll back... CAH-THUNK stalled the engine.

I tried to recover and do the same procedure CAH-THUNK....CAH-THUNK...CAH-THUNK...CAH-THUNK.

Yes thats right. I stalled the engine 5 times in a row. I WAS FREAKING OUT. Finally my instructor yells "SET THE BRAKES RIGHT NOW. I DIDN'T WANT TO PULL THE TRIGGER BUT I HAVE TO. GET OUT OF THE SEAT!" so we switched seats and I never more ashamed of myself in my life. I've never driven a stick shift up until now and this is all so new to me. I feel like we're moving so fast and its hard for me to keep up. Thank goodness this other company is letting me borrow their truck to practice and train in with no catches whatsoever.

I was told to throw away the CDL handbook and just accept the fact that until I become much more proficient with manual transmission that rolling back a bit is just going to be part of my life until I get more experience. So I'll now release the clutch and do my best to gain momentum forward before rolling back too far. Hope that'll keep my nose clean for now.

Tomorrow we'll be doing the same thing. Evaluations are coming up soon at surprise dates and recruiters will start flooding into the training room to bother me. (I have to fill out this log sheet full of questions to ask the recruiters even though I'm not interested in any of the listed companies at all because it'll be graded. -_-)

All and all. Because of me suddenly becoming a morning guy for this school, and having issues sleeping at night. I'm always tired and I feel like this is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But I'm meeting the challenge head on and giving it the best I have. I'm not going to give up until they kick me out of the class and so far there's no reason for that just yet.

I'll do my best to keep you guys posted


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.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

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