Swift Training

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EngineeringMother's Comment
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So first day of school is over. Lots of paperwork, no surprise there. We started with 11 students - I am the only woman - and two got sent home already. One whose sugar was too high on his DOT physical long form and the other because he didn't have his driver's license. Had his CDL from a few years ago but no Class C/car license. This guy had not driven for a while and was coming back to get restarted.

Covered a lot of info today, even got started on Logs which I already understood thanks to the training here. Thanks Brett! thank-you-2.gif

Spent the last two hours out on the practice field beginning the pre-trip inspection freezing in this cold March wind. I finally got to see a truck engine up close. Tomorrow is Logs and more pre-trip. We have some good instructors, very helpful. It might snow on Wed and we'll be outside so I'll be wearing my long johns.

Right now I'm going to make a run to the grocery store, do some laundry, get in some study and go to bed early. BTW I love the super hot showers and fluffy towels here!

More to come.

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.


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.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Special K, aka Kathy's Comment
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Cool, I won't be training with Swift, but I want to know every detail so I will know what to expect! Good Luck!

EngineeringMother's Comment
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Days 2 & 3.

Day 2 was two hours in the class room going over Hours of Service-thanks again Brett,it was review for me. The rest of the day was on the range doing pre-trip check on the outside of truck. We went over it and over it working from a list (116 items). Our group of five work well together. We went around the truck as a group while one of us did the check so we all heard it five times. Then we did it again. And again. Finally an instructor showed us something else. We learned the in cab pre-trip and air brake check. We had a short while to do that and the day was over.

Day 3 was two hours in the class reviewing HOS and then 3 quizzes on logs and HOS. I passed them all. Most guys failed at least one. They will have to retake them Saturday. Then out to the range. Now today it was snowing and blowing. Schools were closed, the governor even declared a state of emergency and we still went to the range. Granted we spent the whole day doing in cab and brake checks but it's all good. On the road we'll have to deal with weather. Tomorrow we'll have another two hours in classroom and then we should start shifting and straight backing.

I am having so much fun! I can do this. I was sitting on the bunk while others in my group did their check, just looking around, imagining how I would fit my stuff in when I get my own truck. This is great.

BTW I caught up with Hawkman. He's here in his third week of class, finishing up this Friday and testing out next Tuesday. It was good to meet. He's very mellow and has a great attitude. He should do well.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

Roadkill (aka:Guy DeCou)'s Comment
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That's awesome EM..You got this girl...dancing-banana.gif

EngineeringMother's Comment
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Thanks, Guy. I truly appreciate the support. thank-you-2.gif

Old School's Comment
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I am having so much fun! I can do this. I was sitting on the bunk while others in my group did their check, just looking around, imagining how I would fit my stuff in when I get my own truck.

EngineeringMother, it sounds like its going real well for you, and I'm glad to hear it. I had to laugh when I read the above quote because it reminds me of my (3) daughters - that is exactly what they would be focusing on - how they were going to organize their stuff in this new living space. Isn't it amazing how different we can all be. I'd be interested in the horsepower and the rear end gear ratio, or some of the other mechanical parts of the truck, and the ladies are considering their living space.

Keep up the great job you've started, and thanks for posting updates for us. There will come some days that don't go so well, but I'm confident you've got the pluck to pull it all off like a true professional.

EngineeringMother's Comment
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It's a girl thing. What can I say? smile.gif

Thanks Old School for all your encouragement. Sure hope you're feeling better.

EngineeringMother's Comment
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Day 4. I got to drive!! First two hours in classroom going over trip planning and life on the road. Then out to the range. Did shifting and straight line backing. Driving was shifting around the yard. I got up to 5th gear. My instructor said he was very happy. I like that. smile.gif I like happy testers even better.

A student in another class backed into a cinder block wall yesterday and broke the wall. There's a gap and blocks are cracked. That person was sent home because they did not report it and attempted to hide their guilt. Apparently if they had reported it right away they could have stayed. Today we were backing into that same slot so I got a good look at it. That driver had to go up over a curb to hit the wall and must have been going at a good clip to crack open cinder blocks! I didn't see the truck but there must be damage. At the end of the day, the instructor manager explained to all the students what happened and told up about the "not reporting". Said we expect you to use ethics and integrity.

Sunny outside but cold and windy. Bring clothes for all kinds of weather if you come to Richmond VA in the spring or fall.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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At the end of the day, the instructor manager explained to all the students what happened and told up about the "not reporting". Said we expect you to use ethics and integrity.

...and that includes maintaining the integrity of solid structures! rofl-3.gif

Glad things are going well for ya!!! Keep it up!!! smile.gif

EngineeringMother's Comment
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Days 5 & 6

Friday was two hours classroom where we covered more about trip planning. Then out to the range for eight hours. The one other student from PA and myself practiced pre-trip check on a Freightliner, the same type truck we will test on. Each of us would do the whole thing, outside, in cab and air brake while the other followed the list so we didn't miss anything. We did that over and over until lunch. I'm feeling pretty confident about the pre-trip.

After lunch we started the skills test for PA. Pull forward, put front bumper in the box. Pull forward, put rear bumper in same box. Straight back 100'. Pull forward again and set up 45degree back into dock. Basically your trailer is at a 45degree angle from the dock. If you put the end of trailer over to the right a little and then turn it a little to the left you should be lined up with dock and basically do a straight back from there. You can't go outside the box and you must stop with rear bumper inside a smaller box. I got it a couple of times, missed a couple times. We had a lot of fun doing that. The other guy from PA, Andy used to deliver crated milk so he can back. I like that Swift has trucks and set ups for each of the states the students are from.

Saturday was all classroom. Trip planning and reading maps. Calculating miles, gallons of fuel, travel time. Then we had two tests. He gave us each a road atlas and a list of questions. If you have used maps before, no problem. If you can do basic math and understand what gets divided by what, no problem.

For example: How many miles is it from Pittsburg PA to Mobile AL and then to Albequerque NM? How long will it take you to get to each destination with average speed of 50mph? How many gallons of fuel will it take with average of 7mpg? If you left at 7:15am when would you arrive at each destination? Rest stops, fuel stops, meal stops were not included to simplify things.

Another example: What is the most efficient route from Jasper AL to Baton Rouge LA? Take into account the terrain. How many miles and how long would it take you?

If you don't already, start using a map to plan your trips around town. Read the map key, find out what all those little symbols mean. There is a wealth of information on good maps. You cannot depend on the GPS. It's a tool just like a map is a tool and calling the receiver for local directions is another tool. Use everything available to make your life easier.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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