Swift Academy, Memphis, TN

Topic 6563 | Page 4

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E.V.'s Comment
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E.V.'s Comment
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E.V., do I know you? What are you doing with my initials?

(Just kidding!)

Good luck with the academy! Feel free to drop in here with your own questions and successes!

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Lol... No problem.

Will do. Which Academy are you at?

Good luck to you as well!

E.V.

Cancel the above post. I just realized you're the one giving us the detailed account.

Are you on the road yet?

Errol V.'s Comment
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E.V., do I know you? What are you doing with my initials?

(Just kidding!)

Good luck with the academy! Feel free to drop in here with your own questions and successes!

double-quotes-end.png

Lol... No problem.

Will do. Which Academy are you at?

Good luck to you as well!

E.V.

Oh, I finished in Millington /Memphis in January. Yup, standing outside in freezing weather.

Little Syster (a.k.a. Sun's Comment
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Frustration? You don't know frustration till you try backing a 53' box with the tractor! The tail end isn't going to go where you want it to. There is a 10 foot lag between you turning the steering wheel and the back wheels changing direction. The skills we are working on (90 degree backing turn, parallel parking left & right, offset backing ("shift" over one trailer space) are not for the faint hearted.

Just remember what you are there for. And that nearly 2 million other truck drivers do this several times a day. And they all got their start with frustration, too! We have three days to practice - 'from zero to sixty' in three days. Testing is on Wednesday - two days away!

How true this is! After reading the schedule you went through during training, I think I'll keep my mouth shut and grow some thicker skin! Ha! I'll get that stupid alley dock if it's the last thing I do. I thought about it all last night and think that I'm not following the trailer at the right point in time, thereby over shooting the dock. Too sharp of corrections and oversteering. Talked to my neighbor last night and he'll set me up with a 4runner and little trailer to practice getting the feel of it. Thanks for posting your story of training!!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
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Sunshine thinks this will help:

Talked to my neighbor last night and he'll set me up with a 4runner and little trailer to practice getting the feel of it. Thanks for posting your story of training!!

Word of warning: the little trailer axle is about half way from the back of the trailer. This is way different than the tandems on a 53' trailer which won't even get 1/4 way forward. It acts all different. I'm pretty good backing a small trailer like that, but small-trailer techniques ("Hold the bottom of the steering wheel, move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go.") don't work on the biggies.

{{Side note Sunshine: Your avatar pic: You're wearing a day pack, on a trail through the forest in Colorado. Why do you want to stare at asphalt all day long??}}

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".

Little Syster (a.k.a. Sun's Comment
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SO I never did get to try the little trailer and I think that you were right about that Errol. I'm glad I didn't use it. It was totally a "feel" thing. And a little patience. I found that if I would just hold the wheel two seconds longer while alley docking before counter-steering I could almost always complete the maneuver with either just one pull up or none.

{Side note response, Errol: Good question! The short version is that if you look up from the asphalt it's like day hiking at 65 mph. I sure can't hike that fast! :) }

Errol V.'s Comment
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{Side note response, Errol: Good question! The short version is that if you look up from the asphalt it's like day hiking at 65 mph. I sure can't hike that fast! :) }

Good analogy. And you don't get out of breath going up a pass!

It's really kind of non-news, but the other day I put the trailer in between two others using a 45° set up. 1 foot on each side clearance. (Shh .. I didn't get out and look!) All because in my vast 6 months of driving experience, I have learned that "eyeball" to visualize where the trailer will go.

Alex H.'s Comment
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I am so happy that you did this diary! I'm going to get my DOT physical exam on the 22nd of June and then hopefully test for my CDL permit. Then I will be going to Millington for my training. Just wanted to say thank you so much for this. Probably the best part that calmed my nerves about schooling was knowing that if I mess up somehow, I will get a second (and third, if needed) chance at the school.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Tina A.'s Comment
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Too many places to quote. Boy am I glad that I’m going to a contracted school!!! That sounded rough. Nightmarish even! Thank you!

G-Town's Comment
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Too many places to quote. Boy am I glad that I’m going to a contracted school!!! That sounded rough. Nightmarish even! Thank you!

Errol woke-up from this nightmare with a CDL.

Tina what is it about Errol’s experience that can be compared to a nightmare?

Please be specific so we are able to help you set realistic expectations.

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.
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