Hey everyone. I'm writing this blog from a hotel room in Red Oak, Texas, about fifteen miles outside of Dallas. I finished up orientation on Wednesday and now I'm playing the waiting game. My trainer was supposed to be here, but he was stuck with a hot load, so he had to truck on through to Georgia without me. Now I'm hanging out in this hotel room, bored.
The first day, I arrived by bus to the Dallas south Greyhound station, where a shuttle driver was waiting to bring us to the hotel. When my teammate and I checked into the hotel, they handed us a pack of papers to fill out. That was basic information like job history, previous addresses, and the like. Then filling out another, more in depth application. Anything that doesn't match is a big red flag. They made one of the more experienced drivers go home because his job history was jacked up. So make sure you fill everything out honestly and correctly because they'll find out. While I was waiting to head out to orientation, I worked at a day labor place. I didn't add it on to my job history, and sure enough, I got a piece of paper saying I missed a company I worked for.
After all the paperwork was filled out, it was a safety video marathon. Video after video, after video. By the time you leave outta there, you're gonna be a safety expert. It was all about hours of service, driver wellness, and things that will get you hurt or fired.
Once you're done with safety videos, they give you a basic skills test. They take you to a truck and have you do a pre-trip inspection. When you're right outta school, it should be easy for you. If you're like me, and you have a month to sit and wait, it might be a little more difficult. Then comes the backing test and the driving test. For the backing test, you have to do a straight line back, and make sure that the SCC bar, or as I like to call it, the "Super Cranium Crusher," is right on the line. Then they make you do a 45-degree back. The driving test for my company was ridiculously easy. It was all on the access road, and you just had to stay in the lane and not hit anyone. They know you are students, and they know you're going to come back from riding with your trainer a lot better. So don't stress out about it.
Basically, when going to orientation, prepared to be bombarded with videos, tested on your skills, and grilled about your past. I'm looking forward to getting the heck out of this hotel, and getting on the open road. Hopefully, my trainer will show up in the next day or two. If not, it looks like I'm just going to have to wait. Wish me luck.
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.
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