New Student, Might Get Fired!! HELP!!!!!

Topic 9592 | Page 1

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Ms. Tomboy's Comment
member avatar

I had 3hours of driving training before being put out on the highways. They say if you don't feel safe then they will help you through it......they are lying!!!!!! I cant slow down enough to down shift for the off ramp and I requested to get more time to practice off the highway before going back out there. They said just get back on the truck and drive....really!!!!! Okay, so I don't feel safe and they are going to make me do something that can cause an accident and worse. They dropped me off in Oklahoma City and I haven't heard anything for 3 days!!!!! Trainer said I was a good driver besides that one thing....very important thing though!!!!!

Mr. Smith's Comment
member avatar

I had 3hours of driving training before being put out on the highways. They say if you don't feel safe then they will help you through it......they are lying!!!!!! I cant slow down enough to down shift for the off ramp and I requested to get more time to practice off the highway before going back out there. They said just get back on the truck and drive....really!!!!! Okay, so I don't feel safe and they are going to make me do something that can cause an accident and worse. They dropped me off in Oklahoma City and I haven't heard anything for 3 days!!!!! Trainer said I was a good driver besides that one thing....very important thing though!!!!!

The middle one slows it down lol.

for real though... are you holding it (the accelerator) to the floor all the way until u slow down like a Winston Cup race, or do u let off and slow down a little bit before you get to the ramp.

i just hit the jake and slow down a little bit then down shift to 7 when i hit the ramp then depending on the trailer and weight i might not ddown shift again.

the law doesn't say you have to downshift through every gear. you just can't be in neutral. if you want to go to 6 then wait until you hit 13 mph and go to 3 there is nothing saying you cant...

why are you unable to slow down? are the brakes bad? are the trailer brakes bad? can you slide the tandems or does it roll with spring brakes applied?

if you are afraid of the brake pedal... its allot different at 60 than 5.

we can't help without knowing why you can't slow down.

you will eventually get it right or hit something... hopefully your not going to fast.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dennis R. (Greatest Drive's Comment
member avatar

Most companies frown on folks scared of driving the truck,speedo can gauge which gear you should be in, 15 mph=6 25=7 35=8 45=9 Add both numbers together. Just use brake to slow down,cluth,rev, change gears.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Most companies frown on folks scared of driving the truck

That's true. One of the first things they look for is whether or not you have the nerve to handle this job. You're going to be taking 80,000 pound loads down huge mountains and navigating a building on wheels through Downtown Chicago at rush hour. You'll be in terrible storms, heavy traffic, and on tight schedules on a regular basis. To be honest, you'll spend a lot of time in this job not feeling very safe because you're not! There's nothing safe about this job. It's one of the most dangerous jobs out there and no matter how long you've been driving you're going to be in very demanding situations on a regular basis.

Now I know what you're saying of course. You want to take it slower and ease your way into this. But trust me, they're not looking to put anyone in a truck so they can wreck it. If they're telling you to get out there and drive then they feel you're ready for what they're asking you to do. But don't think that being ready means you're going to feel confident, comfortable, and relaxed. You're not! You're brand new. No one ever feels comfortable and relaxed when they're new to something, especially something this difficult and dangerous.

So you have to find the courage to take the bull by the horns and drive that thing if you're gonna do this for a living. There's no way to sit in a parking lot and learn to be a good driver. You have to get out there and do it. I started driving in '93 and I can remember the first time I ever took a truck down the highway in school. And when I say remember, I mean I can remember conversations we were having word for word. I remember the weather that day, the traffic going by, and the sun glaring off the highway we were on. I remember pulling off onto the shoulder in front of a gas station when my turn was up so we could grab a soda and looking at the size of that truck in amazement. I couldn't believe I had just driven that thing down the highway!! I remember the whole thing like it was yesterday because it's such an overwhelming and exciting experience that it's burned vividly into my brain, and that was back in '93! Twenty two years ago and I can remember it better than I can remember what I had for dinner last night.

So you have to decide if driving a truck is for you or not. You have to be comfortable with never being comfortable. That's the nature of doing a dangerous job. I've had a number of dangerous jobs and recreational pursuits over the years and that kind of lifestyle isn't for most people. Trucking isn't for most people. Only you can know if you're cut out for this or not and there's certainly nothing wrong with deciding this just isn't your thing.

C. S.'s Comment
member avatar

I think it's normal to be a little scared at first. I know I was. I would actually be more concerned with someone who has no fear or nervousness whatsoever, because overconfidence when you're brand new can lead to some very bad mistakes.

However, the previous responses are right. You have to just stay calm and drive, there is no other way to learn.

I remember my first day out too, Brett. Granted it was 8 months ago not 22 years, but I don't think it's something I'll ever forget. I went to school at the port of Oakland, city driving all the way in a daycab with a pup trailer. But my first day with Swift I drove from Stockton, CA to just outside of Eugene, OR. Straight up I-5. I had never even been up or down the slightest grade, and I actually stalled the truck a few times because I could not get my downshifting together on the hills. I whiteknuckled it down Mt. Ashland and was relieved to be in the valley there around Medford, not knowing there were 150+ miles of hills left to go.

My point is, it is normal to be a little scared. But you can do it. It will get easier bit by bit until one day you will laugh at yourself for ever having been scared of off ramps. As to that part, you can slow down enough. Don't be afraid to use the brakes. Don't slam on them but don't be a mouse either. Use the jake to assist you. Let your speed come down a bit while you're still on the highway, don't hit a 25mph offramp at 65 (just make sure your signal is on).

Above all else, stay calm and be safe. Your trainer is with you and they have a vested interest in you not wrecking the truck, take solace in that.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Kenneth L.'s Comment
member avatar

IMO (note, I'm still new too, less than 4 months driving), don't worry about doing the perfect jake brake slow downs for off ramps. If you're cruising up to your off ramp, just disengage the cruise control at about a half mile from it. Let the truck start slowing and if it's going down a slight grade put the jake on. Use the normal brakes to get slow enough for the posted speed. If you're heavily loaded, slow another 10 lower than the posted ramp speed.

The main thing for the Jake brake is to use it on grades to keep your speed down. You don't want to heat up your brakes. You want to keep your brakes cool for "just in case". But going into a ramp means you are going to slow down and probably stop. That is not a continuous use of your brakes. Yea they'll get warm by the time you come to a stop, but that's not going to hurt them. As a new driver it is more important to be safe than perform a perfect Jake brake assisted slow down.

Later on, as you get used to your truck, you can start practicing that perfect downshift and Jake slowdown for off ramps. I've done a few myself, but can't do it perfect every time, YET.

A perfect downshift and slowdown with the Jake is done like this. Going 65 (my cruise speed) turn off cruise and engage Jake. Slow till RPM is 1200 (note, I use the RPM gage, not the speedometer). Then press accelerator just a bit to release pressure from the gears and shift out. Then floor accelerator till max RPM of 1600. Then shift in and let off accelerator, the Jake is still on and re-engages to slow the truck. When RPM gets back down to 1200, repeat process until you are going nice and slow and the traffic behind you thinks your tail lights are not working because they never saw them come on while you were slowing down.

Now I can't always do that without missing a timing sometimes because my truck is not always loaded heavy. And using the Jake like that when empty is just not called for. You can only practice the high gears when empty and even then it's really not needed.

Remember the Jake's number one use is to keep the brakes cool during descents on long grades. Aannd to keep you from crossing that speed limit barrier that gets that cop on the shoulder to come and chase you down. In my truck, on cruise control, if the Jake is on, cruise control makes use of it at 5 mph over set speed. This keeps the truck from going too fast down those short grades or long shallow grades. For those posted 5% or more grades, you need manual control and a lower gear.

Anyway, that's how I do it. Someone might explain how I'm doing it all wrong and any improvements or correction are welcome.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Christy R.'s Comment
member avatar

IMO (note, I'm still new too, less than 4 months driving), don't worry about doing the perfect jake brake slow downs for off ramps. If you're cruising up to your off ramp, just disengage the cruise control at about a half mile from it. Let the truck start slowing and if it's going down a slight grade put the jake on. Use the normal brakes to get slow enough for the posted speed. If you're heavily loaded, slow another 10 lower than the posted ramp speed.

The main thing for the Jake brake is to use it on grades to keep your speed down. You don't want to heat up your brakes. You want to keep your brakes cool for "just in case". But going into a ramp means you are going to slow down and probably stop. That is not a continuous use of your brakes. Yea they'll get warm by the time you come to a stop, but that's not going to hurt them. As a new driver it is more important to be safe than perform a perfect Jake brake assisted slow down.

Later on, as you get used to your truck, you can start practicing that perfect downshift and Jake slowdown for off ramps. I've done a few myself, but can't do it perfect every time, YET.

A perfect downshift and slowdown with the Jake is done like this. Going 65 (my cruise speed) turn off cruise and engage Jake. Slow till RPM is 1200 (note, I use the RPM gage, not the speedometer). Then press accelerator just a bit to release pressure from the gears and shift out. Then floor accelerator till max RPM of 1600. Then shift in and let off accelerator, the Jake is still on and re-engages to slow the truck. When RPM gets back down to 1200, repeat process until you are going nice and slow and the traffic behind you thinks your tail lights are not working because they never saw them come on while you were slowing down.

Now I can't always do that without missing a timing sometimes because my truck is not always loaded heavy. And using the Jake like that when empty is just not called for. You can only practice the high gears when empty and even then it's really not needed.

Remember the Jake's number one use is to keep the brakes cool during descents on long grades. Aannd to keep you from crossing that speed limit barrier that gets that cop on the shoulder to come and chase you down. In my truck, on cruise control, if the Jake is on, cruise control makes use of it at 5 mph over set speed. This keeps the truck from going too fast down those short grades or long shallow grades. For those posted 5% or more grades, you need manual control and a lower gear.

Anyway, that's how I do it. Someone might explain how I'm doing it all wrong and any improvements or correction are welcome.

The school or company I go to hopefully teaches this well, but gonna print for future use!! I'm nervous. The biggest thing I've driven is large moving trucks!! I do pretty good with those and somehow always get asked to be the driver, but I know it's nothing like driving a semi-tractor. Thank you for posting!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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