The Path To Your Own Truck Isn't Easy.

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Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

I want to share this story with you folks. I've never shared this before and even though it will make me sound like a bit of a jerk, it's the true realities of trucking.

As some of you know, Ken C. from TT was my first student. But just because we were from the same site didn't mean anything to me. The only advantage I saw was that I didn't need to gain the Trainer/Student respect because he already had that for me after reading my Adventures Thread. We were still total strangers who were in the same online community.

While I was originally wanting to take our village smartass Jopa :) , I ended up going with Ken C. because Jopas training was delayed. I didn't think much of it. Me and Jopa have more similarities and a more fitting personality that would make living together in a space the size of a walk-in closet more manageable.

On the final day of orientation, Ken woke up at 0530 and I around 0700. While we knew we would be paired today, my plan was to depart tomorrow in the morning on our first load. I could spend today teaching him how to back, and also to attentitively observe his driving style and correct any bad habits from the start.

The afternoon rolls around and we attend a final meeting hosted by Mr. Stan. At this time I still didn't get my training truck assigned to me. So while Ken did his thing, I made sure I got my truck as soon as possible.

In hardly any time at all, I got my truck and moved everything in. After I was done Ken moved all his stuff in. After some organizing we were done and we headed to the pad to practice and drive in first gear.

Ken had some experience in a Class B vehicle. Let me tell you right now, it didn't help him at all. So just because you've driven something bigger than a F-350 please don't come into trucking thinking you're going to be amazing from the start. Ken also had driven a manual car all his life so when he double clutched he pushed it all the way to the ground instead of two inches. One of the toughest things I've had to do in my life is break a 40 year old habit.

That time on the pad went well. I told Ken straight up, I am not going to babysit you. Why should I babysit you when trucking won't? In my opinion, if I hold your hand too much then you won't know what to do in the real world when there's not a helping hand sitting on the passenger seat.

I will be completely honest with you guys, I purposely did bad set-ups from time to time to make the backing more difficult for Ken. When you're out there as a rookie, do you think your every set-up will be a great one? Not a chance. I wanted him to know how to fix errors. I taught him the correct way many times, but I also messed it up on purpose sometimes.

It's not a perfect world out there. You must know how to get yourself out of hairy situations. I'll be damned if I get a call because my now solo student got into an accident.

After an hour or two on the pad I went inside to Driver Lineup (load planner). I asked for a load leaving tomorrow or picking up tomorrow.

The guy told me that he absolutely has nothing for me. The only thing he can do for me is to send me bobtail to Twin Falls, ID to pick up a Chobani load. Wow! That's a nice bobtail! I'll probably make a huge fuel bonus off of this load! Then he told me, "but you have to leave right now. We need you to get there as soon as possible."

This was about 1900 (7pm). So guess what we did? We drove off immediately.

I can't tell you how scary it is to ride shotgun with a guy who doesn't even have a license yet. You obviously cannot show your fear, so you do your best to conceal it. But man, I was on edge and just trying my best to not bite my finger nails! The fact that we werent attached with a trailer did help though.

We got to Wyoming and there was a terrible storm that night. Ken was still driving, I bet he was tired. I explained to him the importance of shutting down when you're too tired to drive, but he kept going and looked like he was handling it well. We got to the mountains between Laramie and Cheyenne. Mountains, snowing very hard, 8,800 elevation, and bobtail. Ken no longer felt safe driving, that's okay I was going to take over anyways because he's not ready for these types of conditions.

So we drove to Laramie that night. I decided to push it down the mountain instead of parking at the rest area, in case it got worse in the morning. It was a tough drive, but a great learning experience for him as he got to sit back and watch.

We woke up the next morning to the road west of us shut down. Apparently, the road we were on last night had gotten black ice late last night and there was a massive amount of accidents. We barely dodged a bullet. One decision can mean everything!

That day we were almost awake for 24 hours. Busy all day, then driving at night. Now, can your first day beat??

I put him through hell that first day. He survived and he's now a successful trucker. I knew he could do it. Trucking isn't easy, and it never goes according to plan. Be thankful you're blessed enough to have the opportunity and make the absolute best out of it. Also, thank that trainer of yours. Training is very tough for both parties. Lots of things are out of his control.

Bobtail:

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

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I don't think I have the courage to be a trainer - and I'm too much of a control freak. I just don't think I'd feel comfortable putting my life in somebody else's hands. No thank you.

Jopa's Comment
member avatar
While I was originally wanting to take our village smartass Jopa :) , I ended up going with Ken C. because Jopas training was delayed.

Sometimes life can be so disappointing . . . but we all make the best of it, eh? Just living up to my title!rofl-3.gif

Jopa

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

While I was originally wanting to take our village smartass Jopa :) , I ended up going with Ken C. because Jopas training was delayed.

double-quotes-end.png

Sometimes life can be so disappointing . . . but we all make the best of it, eh? Just living up to my title!rofl-3.gif

Jopa

Not lately. You haven't been online much. We need you back! We need our village smartass back!

smile.gif

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

David's Comment
member avatar

Ahh the joy of an AWESOME Btail journey.. reminds me of mine at swift from Troutdale, OR to Red Bluff, CA..

Good read Daniel. Thanks for the new perspective. =)

Dennis R. (Greatest Drive's Comment
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Hope I don't get a trainer like you.One reason I want to truck..to avoid your kind.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
Hope I don't get a trainer like you.One reason I want to truck..to avoid your kind.

Nice statement there! That's something I'll laugh about for a long time!

Let me ask you something. Would you prefer a trainer who had **** bottles in the truck? Who took a #2 in the truck and told you to wait outside while he does the deed (totally not joking). Would you prefer a trainer that told you to drive on his logbook because he felt sick but didn't want to be late. A trainer who was an O/O so the only thing on his mind was miles.

Well, that was my trainer. While he was a total nightmare, I do respect the man for taking me as a student. I consider him a friend and talk to him regularly. Not because I think he did a terrible job with me, but because I appreciate what he has done for me.

No trainer is perfect. From the sound of your comment, it sounds like you just want to be held to your CDL. Listen, I as the trainer am the one signing you off. Giving my signature and telling the company that you're a safe driver who is ready for the open road - alone.

Do you remember Brett saying that the training is all a test, one long interview if you will. Well, a good way to weed out the drivers who won't make it is to see how they perform under pressure. Hand holding isn't in my books. Maybe I just made the wrong impression? I have and will always spot the student, give advice and make sure they don't hit anything. But what about when they will go solo? Hardly anyone spots a fellow driver anymore. Some places in this world are so tight you cannot possibly do a nice, proper setup. So what will become of you when you're clueless because you're out of your element. You must know how to maneuver when times aren't ideal, I incorportated that into my training program.

And apparently it worked because Ken C is nearing 1 year accident free.

Training is always tough. There are more bad trainers than good trainers. If you think I fit under the bad category then I would love for you to talk to Ken yourself.

At the end, I got out of training. One reason I wanted to go back to solo was to avoid students like you... :)

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.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Oh, and another thing. Take note that I'm a company driver and cannot refuse loads. This was the only available load for us and Ken felt up to the task. Like I said at the end, a lot of things are out of the trainers control. Students fail to see this time and time again. When things don't go according to plan they blame the trainer, they always find a way, when the trainer has little or no say in the matter.

Family Man's Comment
member avatar

Daniel B., I envy people who possess a hands-on learning/teaching style and who make lightning quick decisions. Sometimes, when you're a newbie learning how to maneuver in less-than-ideal conditions, you feel like a naive office worker who's trying to learn the steps to a line dance. I have appreciated reading your posts over the last couple of months, and even if people like me might not be the easiest to train, we benefit a great deal from the challenges you are courageous enough to present to us.

Dennis R. (Greatest Drive's Comment
member avatar

Hope I don't get a trainer like you.One reason I want to truck..to avoid your kind.

Nice statement there! That's something I'll laugh about for a long time!

Let me ask you something. Would you prefer a trainer who had **** bottles in the truck? Who took a #2 in the truck and told you to wait outside while he does the deed (totally not joking). Would you prefer a trainer that told you to drive on his logbook because he felt sick but didn't want to be late. A trainer who was an O/O so the only thing on his mind was miles.

Well, that was my trainer. While he was a total nightmare, I do respect the man for taking me as a student. I consider him a friend and talk to him regularly. Not because I think he did a terrible job with me, but because I appreciate what he has done for me.

No trainer is perfect. From the sound of your comment, it sounds like you just want to be held to your CDL. Listen, I as the trainer am the one signing you off. Giving my signature and telling the company that you're a safe driver who is ready for the open road - alone.

Do you remember Brett saying that the training is all a test, one long interview if you will. Well, a good way to weed out the drivers who won't make it is to see how they perform under pressure. Hand holding isn't in my books. Maybe I just made the wrong impression? I have and will always spot the student, give advice and make sure they don't hit anything. But what about when they will go solo? Hardly anyone spots a fellow driver anymore. Some places in this world are so tight you cannot possibly do a nice, proper setup. So what will become of you when you're clueless because you're out of your element. You must know how to maneuver when times aren't ideal, I incorportated that into my training program.

And apparently it worked because Ken C is nearing 1 year accident free.

Training is always tough. There are more bad trainers than good trainers. If you think I fit under the bad category then I would love for you to talk to Ken yourself.

At the end, I got out of training. One reason I wanted to go back to solo was to avoid students like you... :)

I can see where super trucker comes from.No Human would take that garbage. I don't need my trainer to purposely set me up to fail. Pretty much just a babysitter for the company equipment. I can handle anyone for 6 months,I was married for two freakin years (sam Kinnison) I'm seriously getting into trucking to avoid the dumb people I meet on a regular basis..looking only out for themselves. America has really become something to be proud of.

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.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

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