CDL Training Diary - NC Truck Driver Training School
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Day 10 - Friday, September 24, 2021
We started Friday evening with a visit from a recruiter with http://www.howardtransportation.com/index.cfm . She gave us their company pitch and answered any questions we had. I know it's her job to make it sound like a great place, but it really did sound like a decent company. Based in Mississippi, but they have a terminal a few miles down the road from the school.
After that, we spend the remainder of the evening discussing pickup and delivery, shippers and receivers, proper paperwork, etc. Interesting stuff, but nothing exciting.
Day 11 - Saturday, September 25, 2021
Road driving day! Started the day driving first in my group with the instructor. Had a different road instructor today than I've had the other times. Nothing wrong with that, different teaching methods, different personality, etc. You never know what style of teaching you'll "click" with, so it's good to not always have the same instructor I think.
I drove for an hour and 15 minutes or so again. Nothing new really, still just getting used to the truck. Working on upshifting, downshifting and skip shifting mostly. Also tried to make sure I got more right turns to practice. I drove all over the place... In towns, in the country, small 2 lane roads and 4 lane highways. Getting exposed to lots of different things which is good. I just wish I could drive longer. Seems like that hour-hour and a half just flys by too fast!
I felt I drove well. Shifting is coming along fine. Just overall starting to feel a little more relaxed and not quite as nervous. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not getting so relaxed that I'm getting complacent! I'm on my toes the entire time for sure.
Things I need to work on... Making sure I watch the tach on every shift and holding the rev on the downsift through the entire shift (which I have questions about actually). Obviously I need to work on everything, these were just the things pointed out to me.
After driving, it was back to the yard for the station work again for the rest of the day. I helped another student with her pre-trip for a while, which in turn made for good practice for myself. I feel comfortable with the pre-trip. I'm not anticipating any issues there, just lots of memorization.
Next I went to the backing station. Still just straight line at this time. But I'm getting a lot better at it finally. I can get it in without struggling too much now. Still need to work on getting it in the hole more straight though. I keep getting crooked right towards the end of the back. But it's coming along. My brain and body are starting to actually work together instead of fighting each other!
Finished the day driving around the obstable course a few times. We started timing each other since we'll have 5 minutes to complete the course on our test. I've been between 3:30-4:00, so I think I'll be ok there. Still not hitting anything or having to reposition any, so I'm getting better and better at the obstacle course.
Back at it tommorrow!
Day 12 - Sunday, September 26, 2021
Same Sunday schedule as usual, all day outside on the yard. Thankfully it wasn't quite as hot as it has been. Still hot, but not as miserable as the last couple of weekends.
More of the same for me today. Started with some pre-trip stuff. Then drove the obstacle course. Only part of the obstacle course that is kicking my butt is on one of the 90 degree right turns where you have to get your trailer tire to go over a 12 inch (I think?) painted spot. I'll try to explain... So right at the 90 degree turn, there is a tire laying on the corner of the ground to simulate a curb. There is a painted yellow stripe about halfway around the tire on the ground, sticking out about 12 inches. Your goal is to get your trailer tire to go through that yellow paint without hitting the tire. The idea is getting as close to the "curb" without hitting it. If you don't hit the paint, you lose points on the test. I don't think I've hit the paint yet. I miss it by an inch almost every time it seems! It's kind of an ongoing joke now about how I can possibly keep getting so close and not hitting it. Guess I'll get it eventually!
I then did some more backing. That's still coming along. I want to say I'm getting the hang of it, but next week I wouldn't be surprised if I can't even come close. So I'm just going to stay with... I'm improving.
Worked on the coupling station more today. Not hard to do, but for our test we have to complete a set of specific steps in a certain order to couple and uncouple within 10 minutes. I can do all the steps no problem, just need to work on memorizing every little step they want us to do and the order and make sure I do it quickly. I'll get there.
We went back in the classroom for the last hour or two of the day. Which was a welcome change to just get off the yard for a change. We had to finish up some more of the classwork that we didn't get to on Friday and we also had our first written test. I think I did fine on it, nothing hard.
Also, the class size is now down to 8 students. We started with 11 signed up, but 1 hasn't been at all. So it's really been 10. One guy didn't show up at all last weekend and then again this weekend. That puts him over the 39 hour limit, so he's out. Another lady has had to drop out due to her work schedule. Hopefully everyone else can stick around! But I get the feeling we'll be losing a couple of more before it's all said and done. Either by their own choice or by the school's choice!
More next week! Thanks for reading my babbling!
In my school, this is how we are taught to downshift:
- Check the RPM and clutch to N
- Press the accelerator to rev up to the required RPM (dependent on the operating range of the truck)
- HOLD the rev at that RPM
- Clutch to gear while still holding the rev through the entire shift
Now, every video I've watched and everything I've read is basically the same except for holding the rev through the shift. Everything else says/shows just tapping the accelerator to get the revs up and then shifting when you catch the RPM you want as it drops. In other words, not holding down the accelerator. I hope I'm making sense?
Is there a reason we are being taught this way? Is this the "proper" way?
Just curious everyone's thoughts. I'm going to ask about it at this weekend's class as well.
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