Beginning My Truck Driving Career

Topic 6745 | Page 1

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Hrynn's Comment
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I've thought about becoming a trucker for a long time. I found this website while researching the career about a year ago, but I didn't decide until the last few weeks to finally take a step forward. Since I made the decision, everything has moved very quickly and very smoothly so far. I contacted a few company sponsored driver training schools and chose to go with Roehl Transport. I had my DOT physical, filled out my paperwork, and yesterday I took and passed my permit test. I'm very excited and this site has been a very helpful resource as well as study tool. Thank you all so much!

Class starts on Monday, Jan. 5th in Appleton, WI. I was in Black River Falls, WI recently with my boyfriend to visit some of his family, so it's kind of fun to be going right back to the same area. He's been very supportive of my decision and he's really proud to declare to everyone we know that pretty soon he will be dating a trucker. I plan to update this journal to let you know how everything goes with the schooling and, hopefully, how things go after with this company. I'm planning on joining Roehl's 7/7 fleet. I know that means less pay, but that shouldn't be a problem. I was only making 14K a year with my minimum wage job, so if I'm making that or better with Roehl, I can get by just fine. I have high hopes for this new chapter in my life and I can't wait to get started!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Don R.'s Comment
member avatar

I've thought about becoming a trucker for a long time. I found this website while researching the career about a year ago, but I didn't decide until the last few weeks to finally take a step forward. Since I made the decision, everything has moved very quickly and very smoothly so far. I contacted a few company sponsored driver training schools and chose to go with Roehl Transport. I had my DOT physical, filled out my paperwork, and yesterday I took and passed my permit test. I'm very excited and this site has been a very helpful resource as well as study tool. Thank you all so much!

Class starts on Monday, Jan. 5th in Appleton, WI. I was in Black River Falls, WI recently with my boyfriend to visit some of his family, so it's kind of fun to be going right back to the same area. He's been very supportive of my decision and he's really proud to declare to everyone we know that pretty soon he will be dating a trucker. I plan to update this journal to let you know how everything goes with the schooling and, hopefully, how things go after with this company. I'm planning on joining Roehl's 7/7 fleet. I know that means less pay, but that shouldn't be a problem. I was only making 14K a year with my minimum wage job, so if I'm making that or better with Roehl, I can get by just fine. I have high hopes for this new chapter in my life and I can't wait to get started!

Congrats to you!! I too have been considering this new career for sometime, studying High Road and other material I have looked at Roehl as well but haven't called their recruiter yet. Good luck to you and hope to hear your progress .

Don

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Craig N.'s Comment
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Good job ... congrats

Hrynn's Comment
member avatar

Thanks everyone!

Well, I'm here in Appleton settling into the hotel. I left home at around 11PM last night and drove straight through. Since I left so late I was able to get through all the big cities with very little traffic. I was a little slowed down by all the slush and snow that came down all night and hadn't been plowed away yet, but I made it here by 10AM. I couldn't check in until later in the afternoon so I used the extra time to drive around town and get to know the place, to find the school so I won't have to worry about getting lost in the morning, and to get a little bit of food for the week. I chilled out in the bookstore until check-in.

The hotel they put us up in is nice. They had mentioned the possibility of sharing a room over the phone, but I'm in a room by myself. It's a nice size room. The hotel offers a complimentary breakfast and they also have an indoor pool and fitness center. Safe, microwave, coffeepot, iron, and fridge in the room.

I'll be looking over the pre-trip inspection section of the High Road Training Program tonight and class starts in the morning at 6:45!

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.

Craig N.'s Comment
member avatar

I am so excited for you ... please keep us posted ... by the way is that a Corvus Corax on your arm??

Hrynn's Comment
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I am so excited for you ... please keep us posted ... by the way is that a Corvus Corax on your arm??

Haha. It is, but it's just a halloween decoration. I found it at my parent's house at Thanksgiving and was playing with it.

Hrynn's Comment
member avatar

Week 1, Day 1

Started class at 7AM today. Roehl pays for the course to be given through the Fox Valley Technical Center. There are several students for other companies or for refresher courses, but only 3 of us are Roehl. When we got in, the three of us were given directions and told told we needed to go take a urine test so we left the group to do that in Neenah, the next town over. When we got back we and the whole group filled out paperwork for the school. We were also given clipboards and textbooks, then the entire group was split among the instructors. For today at least, all of the Roehl people were one on one in the truck.

We took a lunch brake from 12:00-12:30, then driving began. For today the focus was getting used to shifting. My instructor had me driving on a circular track with slight upgrades and downgrades. I had a bit of trouble getting used to it, but we were out there for 3 hours so by that point I was getting a lot more comfortable. My instructor let me drive on my own for a half hour or so. During that time, I got up to 7th gear, but then when I started to slow down I forgot to flip the splitter and started grinding gears. I didn't realize what was happening until I stopped, put the truck into what I thought was third, and tried to start only to stall out. That was pretty stressful, especially without the trainer there, but I won't make that mistake again. We drove bobtail today, but tomorrow we are supposed to work on driving with the trailer hooked up.

Bobtail:

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

Ralph G. ( Arejay )'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I think everybody forgets that flipper switch at least once or a few times when first learning to shift confused.gif

Don The Kiwi's Comment
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Yeah, I think everybody forgets that flipper switch at least once or a few times when first learning to shift confused.gif

LOL indeed I know I have -there is just so much going on at times.

Hrynn- Really awesome you are posting your adventure - Awesome you were driving on the first day by yourself

One of my ex employers told me one day after a major stuff up ( to me it was & I was pretty upset with myself ) was " Don you're not the first person to do it and you're not the last person" I was surprised by the comment ( he's a lovely old man) but it helped me to keep it in perspective - Life's a journey enjoy the ride.

Cheers Don

Hrynn's Comment
member avatar

Well, I have half of the first week under my belt. These were both pretty big days and very eventful. One in a bad way, one in a good way.

Day 2: The day started out fantastic. Once again I was one on one with my trainer, Smitty. We coupled up to a trailer today so I could practice with that and continue getting used to shifting. We also practiced parking. After sleeping on it, my shifting was a lot better and I was able to handle the keller course much more smoothly. After about 1.5 hours or so, Smitty again told me he was comfortable with me practicing on my own and I was left to continue around the keller and out into the yard to park at my leisure until lunch. I'm not able to go on the road yet because our drug tests results from yesterday don't get back until tomorrow. Coming back from lunch, Smitty had set up cones for me to learn straight line and offset driver's side backing. The straight line wasn't too bad and I got the hang of it after a few tries. The offset I had a lot more trouble with. I was not able to successfully back into the spot without a pull up, but at least I only usually needed one. I need a lot more practice with it. We walked through it several more times and I was left on my own again to practice backing or drive the keller, whichever. I tried offset backing a few more times, but I decided to take a short break and go for a few laps around the keller. But going into the keller I cut too close to the curb and the trailer offtracked off the course. I felt it catch on what I thought was the snow bank. In my mirror all I could see was a white/gray blob that looked like snow around the back tire, so I thought I could pull back onto the track, but I drove forward the trailer didn't straighten out and I wasn't able to. I realized that I must be on more than snow. As I pushed the brakes, one of the trainers saw what was happening and came to the truck. I had hit one of the concrete barriers when I off tracked and dragged it along. Not only had it wedged between two tires, but it had also knocked down one of the small traffic lights as I drug it......Luckily, the truck wasn't damaged at all. They were able to pull the block out of the tires with a tractor. By then it was the end of the day so after campus security took statements and everything, I went home.

Day 3: I was nervous coming in this morning because of yesterday's incident, but it was fine. We did talk about it a little bit with the class and the instructors assured me that I'm not the first and far from the last to do the same thing, though I was unique in getting the barrier lodged BETWEEN tires. I did get teased a lot about it. My instructor today told me he had never seen anyone try to use one of the course barriers as a wheel chock. But the teasing honestly lightened the mood a lot and made me feel much better about it. The first half of the day was spent in classroom going over regulations. We got a copy of the FMCSRs pocketbook and did practice worksheets on driver logs. From today on we will keep driver logs for each day while we are in school. We talked a lot about driving hours and how long you can work each day and each week. After lunch we were split up to drive again. I was sent with a new instructor, Tim. He said my drug test came back good, so after going around the keller to see how I was at shifting and reminding me to watch my mirrors and turns, he took me over to the industrial park in town. There aren't any lights or much traffic in the park, but there are plenty of turns and roads so it was good practice. It was really nice to get to drive something other than in circles on the course! We spent a while out there and when Tim decided it was time to head back to the school, he let me drive. In traffic. Next to other cars. It was fun! I'm glad that I did well enough that he trusted me to, especially after yesterday. When we got back we walked over the pre-trip inspection since I hadn't covered that in detail yet. And that was the end of the day. I'm not sure what's on the agenda for tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to it!

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.

Fm:

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.
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