Humbled. But Ready!

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Deonte M.'s Comment
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Hey guys just an update from me. I have applied to prime , Roehl , and a host of other companies on my list. so far it has been about a month and I have heard back from only 1 carrier. Swift Transportation ( smiles at Brett Aquila , insider thing lol) . Being that swift has been adamant about pursuing ,me and getting me in a truck I have decided to roll with them even though they were not number one on my list (hence the humbled part) I have gotten my dot physical (btw do you know they made me pay for this out of pocket!! ) and my ship out date is the 28th. School is going to cost me 3600 + 500 (room ) paid for by 37.50 a week deductions. for a year. School makes me nervous because its supposed to be 2 weeks (which I think is short) then after that im out 6 weeks with a trainer. The only thing that makes me at ease is the school is ptdi certified . But a 2 weeks I know im going to have to be on the ball and make every rep count!! Starting pay my recruiter told me is 36.-.37 c ( he said no more sliding payscale) and ill average 25-3000 miles weekly. Now I know the situation is less than ideal with the deductions and shorter schooling , but this is my chance and I have to take it! My goal is to make the most out of whats given to me here , make my money , drive safe and stay with them for a year and then go into a better situation. any advice ,comments etc etc is appreciated!!

DOT:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jarod(Red)'s Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!
double-quotes-start.png

Once they see you mean business they will keep you moving. About a month after I started OTR I suddenly had very little wait time between dispatches.

Generally the home time goes 1 day off for a week of driving. Drive two weeks (the absolute minimum) get two days at home. Three weeks = three days off. You're the one who asks for & sets the date. (Don't wait for anyone you ask you if you want to go home - won't happen!)

Two suggestions, and I seem to be the only one with these: get a toy semi truck to take with you. It really helps to see how backing up a 53' monster works.

I haven't heard back from anyone about this one: Get the broom. Hold the "stick" end on your hip with one hand. Now walk around the house, and do no let the broom bump into anything. You have to walk in large curves. That's how you need to drive with a trailer on the back. See if you can figure out the trick to make a U-turn around a tree, dragging the broom along.

double-quotes-end.png

How was your swift school experience btw ? did you feel rushed or did you get all the time and help you needed? did you feel prepared after leaving school?

And yes I actually have a few toy semi's ! ill play with it . your second method , its unconventional for sure! I like it , ill try and get back to you on that one!

Deonte, welcome to the family bud! I also went to the Salt Lake City school about 2 months ago. Hopefully you'll get to stay in the Crystal Inn, or at least Sleep Inn, you do not want the Ramada Inn at all. Crystal Inn is a 4 star hotel, it's very nice bud, you'll like it. You can expect to be there about 3 1/2 weeks total which includes orientation.

You first 3 to 4 days(Monday to Wednesday or Thursday) will be in a classroom doing your drug screen, turning in your permits and your dot physicals and going over material you already studied when you got your permit, you'll go over training truck rules, yard rules and etc. Also keep a receipt of your DOT physical you had to pay for, take it to SLC with you and turn it in, they will reimburse you for that. Thursday or Friday you'll go out to the yard behind building 2 and you'll start doing pre-trip practice and straight-line backing. Saturday, depending on how many students are in your class, and how many other students from other classes are out on yard you'll probably go out to Rookie Road and learn and practice your shifting. For the next two weeks you'll be doing Industrial Park driving, City and Mountain Driving, and offset and parallel backing, it's pretty easy as long as you remember to hit your marks.

You'll get Sundays off and random days through the week depending on how many students are out on yard with your class and other classes. After your two weeks you'll be testing on a Thursday or Friday, you'll test your pre-trip first, then your A.L.E brake test which is automatic fail, then you'll do your straight-line, offset, and parallel backing test, after that you'll do your road test and be done. You get 3 strikes before you get sent home, so my suggestion would be study your pre-trip good and don't mess up your A.L.E brake check test that way you go into your driving test with all strikes available.

If you pass your test on Thursday or Friday you will start orientation Monday, you'll do another drug screen, and watch a lot of slideshows and videos. Tuesday you'll get a lot of your paperwork signed and receive some books on Hazmat , Tandem sliding and etc. Wednesday you'll sign more paperwork and your training coordinator will come in and talk to you about what you have to do while you're out with your mentor. At 4pm you'll receive your driver code and Comdata card, and also a piece of paper with your mentor's name on it and his cell phone number. You'll then be released and you'll go call your mentor and talk to him, he will tell you when he will be there to pick you up. 9 out 10 times he's probably already there and you'll leave right away, or you'll leave the next day.

Your first 50 hours in truck it will just be you driving and your mentor will be in passenger seat. After those 50 hours you'll start driving team for another 150 hours, you'll also have to do 42 backing maneuvers in that time frame. After that you'll go back to SLC for upgrade, you'll do a short 60 question, multiple choice test, and you'll do another road test, then you'll get assigned your truck. While with your mentor you'll get paid $9.75/hour while your BTW(Behind the Wheel), all other On-Duty time will be paid minimum wage for Utah which is like $7.75/hr I think. So try to drive as much of your 11 hours a day as possible so you can get better check. Also on your second day on truck with your mentor you can get an advance if you choose, you can withdraw $105 a week but it takes 24 hours after you receive your Comdata card for your card to be ready.

But enjoy it, drive as much as you can. You'll hear a lot of crazy stuff about "dumb" Swift drivers while your on the road, everyone will be watching you, but don't let it get to you. Remember this is your starting point, just get your experience.

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

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.

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".

DOT:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Jarod(Red)'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Oh, and when your on the yard practicing your backing maneuvers you'll see a lot of guys scared to jump in truck and go, jump up and jump in that seat if they are stalling, get all seat time you can because I've seen 40 student classes, when I left SLC school they had 2 classes on the training pad, one class was 50 students and one class was 65 students, there is only like 10 trucks out there to train in. I got lucky when I started, I only had 15 students in my class on day 1, by the time we got out on training pad we had 9 students in my class so seat time wasn't a issue, but it's very rare classes are that small.

And you'll run into a big guy, with beard, his name is Grizz, he's a really good trainer. Also Nate and JR are good trainers too. Pack plenty of sunscreen because it gets hot out there and drink plenty of water. If you can get to WYNCO which is a Wal-mart type store, you can get Gatorade and food really cheap there, WYNCO is right across street from Wal-mart. They have a van that runs to Wal-mart at end of each day after class. In building 1, which is where you'll spend your first 3-4 days and orientation is a cafeteria, they serve really good food there, they have coffee, bottle drinks, monster energy drinks, they have everything down there. Also while in orientation you get free breakfast and lunch at cafeteria.

Building 2 is out by training pad, they have Swift Store and drivers lounge in there, you can also go in there and buy drinks and food, shirts and hats, whatever you need. Enjoy it, keep us updated on your progress, if you want to know anything else just send me a message and I'll shoot you an email. I just finished my OTR training with my mentor a couple weeks ago.

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.

Deonte M.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Keep us up to date, Deonte. I made this thread a Favorite. You make great posts/reading!

Errol

Hey man you got it ! I'll keep it updated daily just cus you asked !

Travel update . You know even though I'm having to ride this bus for 3 days total I'm having a blast! I've met about 5 guys all going to salt lake . And we're just laughing and joking it up . And every stop where we have a pretty good sized lay over we get out and tour the city's downtown districts on foot .

Before I left atlanta (place of residence) I showed the guys the world famous magic city strip club ,which is a block down the street from greyhound in atl if anyone ever wants to check it out. (won't post pictures of that one ,not really sure if the forum is pg or not haha 😂😂😂😲🙌🙉🙈💸 but I saved the fellas from having to pay for a dance because i knew the dj playing that night.

Last night in Nashville they had my favorite classic arcade fighter game called marvel vs Capcom 2 for any video game fans out there . Haha I spent about 5.00 worth of coin playing it .

This morning while in Indianapolis we got out and hit Lucas oil stadium !

I have photos but not quite sure how to go about adding them on my phone.

And just now I'm leaving Omaha and on my way to denver. While in Omaha we stopped in at a place called "eat the worm" ,which is an tequila bar . We didn't drink , but we got to shoot pool and have a good time for 2 hours while the rest of the bus just sat at the station haha.

Also while on this trip we switched companies from greyhound to a bus line called trailways. Man! These buses are laid out! Complimentary water , Plasma tv's showing aaa titles ( right now we are watching the avatar ) , double padded seats (you can actually fall asleep on these soft seats ) , dedicated laptop stands and power outlets wifi and dedicated headphone Jacks at each seat so you can hear the movie playing better if you wanted to. And as a bonus , super clean bathrooms with.... (drum roll please ) double ply toilet paper! Lol! 😂😂 This company should teach greyhound how it's done .

Really looking foward to what we get into in Denver as we well have a 3 hr layover , kind of excited about experiencing the mile high air for the first time! Me and the fellas are talking about chipping In on a taxi to take us around if nothing is in close vicinity .

Who said travel had to be boring and routine ! Even though I'm having fun while riding I'm preparing myself for school mentally. There was this lady who had a serious negative energy because she didn't make swift (she's now going to cr.england) and it rattled the fellas and I could tell. So while we were playing pool I was hyping them back up and putting out positive and focused vibes.

Well That's all I have for now . Guys will update upon arrival at denver going to get some shut eye.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Deonte M.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Hey fellas. Update. First day of class was on tues day. All we did was drug testing and physicals. The drug test was a spectacle for me. This is because the rules were. Pee. Fill to line , dont flush. Well what do i do after i finish peeing? Flush! Crap. Had to wait 30 minutes to conjure up some more magic. And you wont believe it , i flushed again! Not flushing was really hard because its hard wired haha. Third time was a charm though. After our tests me and the fellas went downtown and toured salt lake city a bit. Salt lake is a nice city quiet too. While in a hat shop called lids ,i chatted up this beautiful Polynesian student. Shes been living here for 3 years , and we have a date planned for sunday the off day, maybe she'll show me more of the city while we are out! Later on my room mate treated me to the cheesecake factory! After that i just came back to the hotel and got some shut eye.

Today we signed contracts and that was it. Our instructor told us that we have a pre trip class tomorrow. So after class i walked around the yard and just inspected some trucks with what i already knew what to check for so far. Whilst doing so a man came up to me and said what are you doing to my truck! (while i was checking the lug nuts for rust) .... i yelled back inspecting your truck ! Incase you havent heard im sherrif around these parts! Btw your lugs have a bit of rust that'll be a 5 dollar ticket!(extending my hand out ) and we both just bust out laughing hard as can be. He then showed me some other things to check for around his truck. So im studying as we speak to be ahead of the game tomorrow. My buds all went out to go do something. Despite my best convincing efforts they said they were just going to wait til they get taught the pre trip and them study it. To each there own , but i decided to stick to my guns and go with what my gut was telling me. Maybe they will let me teach some of what i learn to them , it will really be more to my advantage because for some reason teaching something really reinforces it in your mind.

Now while im on the subject i was trying to access the tt pre trip flash cards by clicking the link but it just forward's me to daniel b's inspection . (great guide btw daniel b) is that the right page? The description made it seem like it was set up like high road or something.

Someone let me know.

Going back to studying now!

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Deonte, welcome to the Swift club! They aren't all that bad. Are you sure about a two week school? In January I had to do four weeks to get through, then the mentor ride.

Your recruiter's 25k/30k is a bit high for a newbie. But summer is on & Christmas (25% of annual retail sales in 6 weeks) is coming.

Where you taking your school?

Deonte M.'s Comment
member avatar

Deonte, welcome to the Swift club! They aren't all that bad. Are you sure about a two week school? In January I had to do four weeks to get through, then the mentor ride.

Your recruiter's 25k/30k is a bit high for a newbie. But summer is on & Christmas (25% of annual retail sales in 6 weeks) is coming.

Where you taking your school?

Theu are sending me to salt Lake city Utah... And I hope it is longer than 2 weeks. But that's what he told me it would be. So I'm just playing by ear. And well thanks for the welcome! How's it been going for you for Swift? Home time etc. They keep you moving? (I'd rather drive than be home)

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Once they see you mean business they will keep you moving. About a month after I started OTR I suddenly had very little wait time between dispatches.

Generally the home time goes 1 day off for a week of driving. Drive two weeks (the absolute minimum) get two days at home. Three weeks = three days off. You're the one who asks for & sets the date. (Don't wait for anyone you ask you if you want to go home - won't happen!)

Two suggestions, and I seem to be the only one with these: get a toy semi truck to take with you. It really helps to see how backing up a 53' monster works.

I haven't heard back from anyone about this one: Get the broom. Hold the "stick" end on your hip with one hand. Now walk around the house, and do no let the broom bump into anything. You have to walk in large curves. That's how you need to drive with a trailer on the back. See if you can figure out the trick to make a U-turn around a tree, dragging the broom along.

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.

Deonte M.'s Comment
member avatar

Once they see you mean business they will keep you moving. About a month after I started OTR I suddenly had very little wait time between dispatches.

Generally the home time goes 1 day off for a week of driving. Drive two weeks (the absolute minimum) get two days at home. Three weeks = three days off. You're the one who asks for & sets the date. (Don't wait for anyone you ask you if you want to go home - won't happen!)

Two suggestions, and I seem to be the only one with these: get a toy semi truck to take with you. It really helps to see how backing up a 53' monster works.

I haven't heard back from anyone about this one: Get the broom. Hold the "stick" end on your hip with one hand. Now walk around the house, and do no let the broom bump into anything. You have to walk in large curves. That's how you need to drive with a trailer on the back. See if you can figure out the trick to make a U-turn around a tree, dragging the broom along.

How was your swift school experience btw ? did you feel rushed or did you get all the time and help you needed? did you feel prepared after leaving school?

And yes I actually have a few toy semi's ! ill play with it . your second method , its unconventional for sure! I like it , ill try and get back to you on that one!

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I didn't feel rushed, though the pressure we talk about here for company schools is real. I started beginning of December 2014. The two holidays cost us two school days (they did not add days to the end). One instructor volunteered to come out on New Years Day so we could get in some extra practice.

I'm learning this truism: each step in the learning process gets you barely prepared for the next step. But, as long as you pass an evaluation, it counts as a pass.

You'll hear about this, and experience it yourself: you don't know what frustration is until you try backing up those 53' trailers! argh.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Yikes, 2 weeks?

Josh S.'s Comment
member avatar

If you've ever backed up a pickup truck and a small trailer, then you'll do fine. When I worked lawn care, those small trailers reacted fast to input where these 53ft trailers react slower.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the update Deonte, Good luck out there!

Sun King's Comment
member avatar

Though I went with a different company, my schooling was 2-3 weeks. Programs like this are super accelerated. My suggestions:

- it didn't help me to work on the pre trip before hand. My school took a different approach to what I found online. If swift has a video of their pre trip that could be helpful.

- I found getting backing practice, etc. was sort of like puppies feeding on mama. The more aggressive gets "the milk". If you feel you need more practice at something let the instructor know.

- The chapter in your state cdl Manual discussing the road test should be studied. This is what the inspector will be looking for. If you are from a different state you may be able to test out in Utah and bring back paperwork to your state. That's what I did. If that's the case know if there are any differences. For example the state I tested in did the straight back, standard parallel and offset back left. In my state it added three other maneuvers they could choose from.

I barely made it through because I was struggling getting the backing and shifting. Time solves these issues, but time is limited in company training. It is important to work hard, even out of class, to get it down.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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