Trucking School Is Hard: Peter's Crybaby Blog

by Peter Jr

Woe is me. You know how some people say good things come to those who wait. Well I really hate waiting! Before I go into the troubles you might have when trying to get signed on to a company fresh out of school, I figured I would start this blog out with a haiku.

Waiting is a pain

Orientation so far

A month is crazy

Ok so maybe my high school haiku poetry skills are a little off, but the fact of the matter is, that after I graduate on April second, I can't start orientation until may eighth! So that leaves my family broke for a month, and myself looking for a temporary job. If you're going to school through a company, then you probably lucked out. If you're going to an outside driving school, unless you're lucky, be prepared to wait. Stash away as much money as possible, or you'll be hanging out with me in the waiting boat. I'm probably over-reacting. A month is not that long, but boy is it annoying. Also, my school seriously frowns on a temporary driving job. They don't want me to figure, "Hey! I already have a job now. I guess I don't need to go over the road now." My placement manager told me just to sit tight, everything will work out. Easier said than done. So if you're going to an independent school, make sure you try and get a pre-hire as early as possible, set up orientation, and push for the earliest date possible.

Alley backing is proving to be quite a task. The first day I nailed it! That was with step by step instruction. Doing it on my own seems to be a little more difficult. I know I'm going to get the hang of it, I know it gets easier with time, but right now, I feel like an old granny trying to back up the Lincoln into the garage. For those of you who don't know what alley backing is, it's when you pull up to a dock at a right angle. (Your left shoulder facing the docking point) and you back that big s.o.b into it. The way my school has it setup, you feel like your backing into a gigantic car port.

Why are you so hard?

Why must you make me look bad?

Die alley backing!

Ok! Now that I got all the crying out of my system, let's go onto the good parts. By this time, you should be a natural at double clutching and feel like a pro on the shift patterns. Your instructors can stop worrying about you burning out the clutch, or having to replace a gear box. The Australian instructor that I wrote about before doesn't have to hit me with a ruler, nun style, and when I drive on the highway, service roads, busy streets, whatever, he doesn't have any complaints. That's a serious relief, because my hand was starting to bruise. Also, straight line backing and parallel parking should be like second nature. This morning though, I had to struggle with parallel parking my little Oldsmobile. It looked pretty funny, pulling up in front of my school, in which I'm studying to be a professional driver, and having to stop-n-go eight times to park my four wheeler.

Well that's all the whining I have for today. Now it's time for me to stop sweating the small stuff, and start seriously considering my CB handle. I was thinking about kongzilla, the muffin man, or (thanks to this blog) Whiney McCrybaby.

Have Fun

CB Handle:

This is the nickname people use on the CB

Over The Road:

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.

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.

Double Clutching:

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.


What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
by Brett Aquila

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