Inside the Rig - CDL School Week #2
by, 07.13.2012 at 06.56 AM (519 Views)
Week #2 ended this Tuesday instead of last Thursday, thanks to the July 4 holiday pushing the schedule back 2 days last week.
Week 2 was very trying. There was still the Pre-Trip Inspection to nail down and then pass, along with the challenge of newbie BTW (behind the wheel time), nighttime observation (and getting home at 11 PM, only to have to wake up for another training day again the next day at 4:45 AM), and straight backing and 45 backing in the yard.
The week started out not so good but ended much better. I finally started to get a feel for the truck, the shifting, and my confidence grew as I continually improved my skill level.
Backing the trailer straight back for 100 feet became easy once Victor (the head Instructor) showed us the trick of watching the back tires and making small changes the second they need attention, then canceling the change.
The 45 backing between cones is a lot more of a challenge at this point, but I'm improving.
Up shifting is no longer a problem and is being accomplished quickly and effectively by double clutching and using the tach along with the engine rev/turbo sound. Down shifting is getting there but needs more work. Even at the end of week two I'm still popping the clutch a bit on shifts and when rolling off the brake from a stop on an incline. But the shifting is coming together nicely.
I failed my Pre-Trip inspection. The engine/outside of the tractor and trailer is no problem, but when I got to the inside of the tractor I didn't have both buttons depressed before I started my LAB test (leaks, alarms, buttons). If one button is out before you say the actual words that you're ready to start the LAB Test, it becomes an automatic failure. I'm ready to pass Pre-Test on my next shot.
Overall, after the completion of the second week, I'm feeling a lot more comfortable and my skill level has dramatically improved. It's good stuff.