It's Been A Long Journey

Topic 7591 | Page 1

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Matt S.'s Comment
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As the subject says, it's been a long journey to get my CDL. I began the process last summer through careful research and learning. I tried the company paid training route last November but it was just too fast paced for me. I found Smith and Solomon Driver Training nearby where I live and went to school for 5.5 weeks. I finally obtained my CDL with Tanker, Doubles/Triples, and Hazmat endorsements on February 17, 2015. It was a long and difficult journey with lots of ups, downs, and times where I thought I was just incapable of operating anything but a four wheeler. Well, just last week I attended orientation for U.S. Xpress and was officially hired as a student driver and I'm now waiting for my trainer who is due to arrive tomorrow, March 2nd 2015, weather notwithstanding. I will be celebrating my birthday on the 3rd and on the road as well as the new career.

I got a quality education from Smith and Solomon as they not only taught me how to handle the stress of the road but a 34,000+ pound 18 wheel vehicle. I'm also very impressed with U.S. Xpress. They are safety and technology oriented with some of the most modern fleets in the business. My experience with everyone during orientation was welcoming, positive, and encouraging. I'm looking forward to completing my 175 hours of training and upgrading to a First Seat driver. I truly believe I found a home at USX. Finally, last and certainly not least - not in any way - I owe a lot to the trucking truth website for keeping me very well informed.


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.


Hazardous Materials

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


Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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Us Xpress offers some great opportunity with different routes they have available. Good money, home time and you'll actually do some work out of the seat which is nice for some extra exercise.

Jopa's Comment
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Congrats . . . now the adventure begins . . . take your time, ask lots of question BE HUMBLE (you sound like that will not be a problem) and enjoy yourself . . . even though the company training was a bit fast paced for you and you wanted to slow it down a bit, the real world will set it's own pace . . . do not let outside forces intimidate you . . . we were all new at one point and so keep in mind the skills will take a while to perfect . . .



Matt S.'s Comment
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Thanks Jopa! It took a bit of time for me to develop some confidence on the road. I came from a career in IT where the largest vehicle I'd ever driven was a Ford Excursion. LOL.

I'm giddy with excitement and can hardly sleep.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Congrats Matt!

I'm sure you know you're going to continue having a lot of ups and downs in the coming months. Just prepare yourself for it mentally and keep in mind that everything is just temporary. Never panic over anything. You get in a tight spot and you're not sure how you're gonna get out of it just relax and remind yourself, "This is only temporary. In no time I'll be relaxing over a steak dinner and enjoying the peace and quiet with a big smile." Try not to look at anything as a problem. Try to look at everything as a challenge that you want to get through while keeping a calm, clear mind and without putting a scratch on the truck. That's it. Stay relaxed, don't hit anything, and it will all work out beautifully in the end, often times in the form of a steak dinner.


I'm also very impressed with U.S. Xpress. They are safety and technology oriented with some of the most modern fleets in the business. My experience with everyone during orientation was welcoming, positive, and encouraging.

I worked there for six years and they're an excellent company. The owners have run that company forever and they're great at what they do. They genuinely care about the health and well-being of their drivers and equipment and they've created a fantastic place to work with a lot of great opportunities. It takes quite a long time to get to know some of the right people and to earn yourself a reputation as a hard working, reliable driver. But if you do a great job, get along well with people, and have the patience to keep at it until you've earned yourself a nice reputation you can be very happy there for as long as you care to stay.


Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

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