Beginning My Journey With Roehl.

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Donnie AZ's Comment
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Hey everyone, my name is Donald and I have just started my journey to becoming a driver. I am 22 years old and have never driven a semi before. I have driven trucks with trailers and mororhomes, but nothing this size or for a living. I have been researching options and opportunities for a few weeks now and thanks to this website and all of you guys posting, I made the decision to train with Roehl Transport out of Phoenix, AZ.

I have been studying non-stop for my CDL Permit and I take my physical tomorrow. I have an amazing recruiter working woty2me who has been prompt and very helpful in answering all my questions about working for Roehl. I opted for an OTR position in their Flatbed Division working 18 out 4 home. Starting pay seems great, for someone who has never done this before anyway.

I am looking forward to sharing my experience with everyone here. Updated will be slow until I actually get up to the terminal and start class.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Donnie AZ's Comment
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Best Answer!

Alright my friends, time for the beginning of the Roehl Transport School diary. I forst want to apologize for being a few days behind in posting, it's been a crazy few days and very busy. So, here we go!

Day One: Monday July, 27th, 2015: Our first day was pretty simple, we went through all our hiring paperwork and tax forms, took photos for ID's and took our drug tests (urine and hair folicle which goes back about 90 days). There's three of us in our group and all first time drivers.

That's all I'm going to say about Dat One because our actual trainer wasn't in yet and we really didn't discuss anything to do with trucking.

Day Two: Tuesday July 28th, 2015 So for Day Two, we actually started. We began by going over the Log Books and how important they are, well, for now because we don't have E-Logs yet. After an hiur or so on that, we went out to our temporary truck, a 2007 Freightliner Columbia. Our actual trainer truck is going to be an International ProStar Plus, but for some reason we don't have it yet.

Went over a basic pre-trip inspection. Seems like so much to learn in four weeks, but it gets easier everyday he assures us. We were told we wouldn't be driving until our drug tests were cleared, but lo and behold our trainer (Guillermo) had us in it and showing us how to double clutch and up/down shift while managing RPM's and our load.

We got to practice going up to 5th, back down to first and turning the truck in the yard. It was surprisingly easier than I was afraid of, but I need a lot more down shift practice.

After awhile, he had us do straight line backing. Now I don't want to spund arrogant or ****y or any of that, but I nailed it fairly easily. I've had a lot of trailer backing with pickups and car trailers, so anticipatimg and correcting drift is something I consider myself fairly proficient at. Unfortunately for me I did so well, I had to park the truck for the day between to van trailers.

Little nervous but I got it in in the second try, I missed the pull up pretty bad haha.

Day Three: Wednesday July 29th, 2015

So, today only two of us were there, no idea where the third guy was. So we started the day updating our log, then out to the truck to do a pre-trip inspection. He's going easy on us so far, using our packets and helping us along the way. Split it in half, each doing one side of the engine bay. I lucked out and got the driver side which was much easier.

We did the whole inspection, but we each had a chance to do the brake check. Then came offset backing. I am having a terribly hard time with it so far. Failed two out of three times, finally managed it on my third try.

After lunch came the part I was completely unprepared for; we got to drive on the real road. We did a quick 15 mile loop, left and right turns, up to 50 MPH, straight runs and some curves. I had a hard time downshifting the entire time because of my nerves. But, I made it through the whole trip with no accidents and no curb hits, so I'll consider that a victory.

We switched drivers and the other guy drove the loop and did very good. We're all improving everyday and learning more and getting more confident; well until we get to the beginning of our loop and I get told to drive back to the terminal. Made it there with no issues and no curb hits, so I'm feeling better about my driving ability.

Sorry about how short this wound up being, but I'm on my phone. I forgot my laptop down at home. Feel free to ask any questions and I'll answer as best I can and I'll keep posting as I go.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my progress and I hope you're enjoying 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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Donnie AZ's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Alright, I'm on my off day and drove the 2 hours back home yesterday to see my fiancée and family, so here's my second half of week one recap.

Day 4 Thursday July 30th, 2015 Only two of us agin today, but the opposite two. Our classmate threw his back out the other day and looks likes he's dropping out.

We worked for two hours on the pre-trip inspection and brake test, I'm getting it down thanks to The High Road here and others posts that keep it simple. Made a couple of acronyms that have helped me out to, since it really is just saying the same basic information for every part.

PMS= Properly Mounted And Secured

For tires: ABC= Abrasions, Bulges, and Cuts ICD= Inflation, Condition, and Depth

Keep things simple and learn what the part looks like and I've gotten down.

Drove another 40 miles today and my downshifting has gotten better. Getting really used to the double-clutch.

Day 5: Friday July 31st, 2015

Today I completed my first "solo" pre-trip and only missed three things so I'll consider that a victory. Another 30 miles logged for driving and I'm finally getting downshifting and turning almost perfected. Not bad for my first week haha. We're still only doing back roads out by the raceway, few traffic lights but mostly stop signs. There is one intersection that people keep trying to turn in front of me as I'm making a left, but a quick pull of the air horn (as per Guillermo) makes them realize what they're doing. Freeway drive time starts sometime this coming week.

So here's a quick story about the day, because nothing really changed since yesterday. At about 4pm local time, we backed the truck up for the day, and it was starting to rain, so Guillermo told us to go put our log books in the classroom before it got worse. I dropped my log book, wallet and phone in the classroom and came back out and it just hit hard. Hard wind and thicker rain.

Got back to the trucks, and there were guys trying to get a tarp on a load, but the wind kept whipping under the tarp. Now, I've tarped loads on a pickup, but never something this big or with that large of tarp, but if someone didn't hold it down, those guys on the trailer were coming off. So I rushed over and did all I could to help, and then every driver who was in the terminal came out to help.

When we started, we were told how much help we would get from our fellow drivers, but I didn't expect something like that. I mean, these guys came running out with phones on their hip and Bluetooths around their neck, potentially ruining their equipment, just to make sure this load got covered before the storm got worse.

Now I won't make a full entry for Saturday because it was a half day and we only did our company HazMat training and worked on our J.J. Keller handbook, so there isn't much to tell.

But I will say this, I made the perfect choice in companies. They care, and not just trainer to trainee, dispatch, fleet managers, other drivers all ask about us and who we are as people. There hasn't been a day go by that I haven't met someone new who asked about who I was and why I'm doing this. These people care. I may only be in my first week, but I know I've chosen the right path.

I'll try to keep updates daily from here on out now that I'm not so nervous about the first week and how things would go.

Thanks again for reading this and following my training journey.

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

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

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Fleet Manager:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Donnie AZ's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Thanks for the time you've put into the update. Roehl is one of the companies that really interests me and your account so far affirms that. I look forward to engaging them regarding possible employment in the coming weeks as training progresses.

Like I said, I'm only in my first weel here, but I absolutely love the atmosphere and environment they create here for us trainees. You start Day One as an employee and with the same respect as any of the upper management. I applied to a few different companies that pay you to go to school, and Roehl called me the next day and answered the questions I had. My recruiter was Meghan Force and not once did she blow me off or not call me or not answer even the stupid questions I asked. You'll enjoy it here. Classes are small and they cater to each individuals skill level and progression.

The training pay is $500 per week for the first four weeks, lunch and room provided. (I opted of the hotel because I have a friend I'm staying with.) Worst thing I have to say about the pay is that we won't get paid until the third week because of direct deposit and banking information, which hurts me a lot but I'm stretching every last cent.

If anyone has questions, ask and I'll answer the best I can.

Joeziah B.'s Comment
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I'm interested in hearing your story, I too am considering Roehl in mid august.

Donnie AZ's Comment
member avatar

Physical yesterday went great. Apart from noting I am overweight, which I knew, I am pretty healthy.

All that's left is to get my CDL permit and head to Phoenix.

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.
Jessica A-M's Comment
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Good luck and keep us updated. Keep cool down there!

Rashaun R.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm going for my Permit test today myself, we might end up in class together.

Donnie AZ's Comment
member avatar

I'm going for my Permit test today myself, we might end up in class together.

Going to Phoenix as well? I look forward to meeting a fellow member.

JakeBreak's Comment
member avatar

Physical yesterday went great. Apart from noting I am overweight, which I knew, I am pretty healthy.

All that's left is to get my CDL permit and head to Phoenix.

Hey on that physical did they ask a whole bunch of questions about sleep apnea? Im beginning to figure out that that seems to be a pretty big deal in the industry.

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

Donnie AZ's Comment
member avatar

Hey on that physical did they ask a whole bunch of questions about sleep apnea? Im beginning to figure out that that seems to be a pretty big deal in the industry.

They gave me a questionnaire with some questions about if I currently suffer from it or any symptoms of it. They measure your neck and if it's above a certain size, then they'll recommend a sleep study. But since I don't have it or any symptoms he just signed off on it.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

Gary J.'s Comment
member avatar

Good luck Donnie. I'm interested in following your progress.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

JJ's Comment
member avatar

Keep us posted for sure Donnie , I too am looking into Roehl. I plan to get started middle of July

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