No. Thank you, Driver. You've eased some of my fears about me being able to do this safely. I don't know where they come from. I've got almost a million accident-free miles in a truck, and I wear a half a million-accident-free mile patch on my bus uniform- which ain't bad for constant city driving. I guess I just worry too much. But it's posts like yours that restore my confidence- that with a bit of training, I'll be just fine. But, yeah, I'd call you an ''old hand'' and I mean it with the utmost of respect!
Pulling Doubles, are they as intimidating as I'm thinking?
Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by Kennyworth67, Dec 8, 2022.
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tscottme and Cattleman84 Thank this.
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The drivers at Fed Ex Freight are employed by Fed Ex Freight. The Fed Ex Ground trucks are contracted to Fed Ex Ground and the must be owned/controlled by a corporation in the state they reside in. Fed Ex Ground requires drivers to be paid by w-2 not 1099. This was to isolate Fed Ex Ground from employee problems, unemployment etc. There is some discussion that Fed Ex Freight will be taking over Fed Ex Ground routes when they can, and a lot of Fed Ex Ground contractors are unhappy as the fuel prices have gone up and the fuel surcharge has not. The contractors that run from a large terminal can possibly purchase discounted fuel, at the terminal, but not sure.
1. The things to know about dollies is you have to drain their air tanks so their brakes will release and you can roll them.
2. Once you have a set of trailers and dolly hooked up and air hoses connected, you shut off the rear airline valves at the rear of the last trailer. All the valves from rear of 1st trailer, converter dolly are left open so air can flow from tractor to the rear brakes of the last trailer.
3. When you apply brakes, apply them gently and expect the brakes of last trailer to take effect a split second before converter and 1st trailer/tractor. If your rear trailer is empty or very light it's easy for the last trailer brakes to cause last trailer's tires to skid.
4. Even when pulling 2 empty doubles my trucks always drove like I was pulling a 53ft trailer that was moderately heavy. Also, even an empty set going downhill will pickup speed like a moderately loaded single trailer. I think there is more weight in a set of doubles than 1 empty 53 ft dry van.
5. If the pup trailers/double trailers have roll-up doors, expect the latch on some trailers to work themself open, with door opening on the road. I carried a carabiner, like this. There is nothing special about this particular one. I would clip it through the lock mechanism so bumps would allow a latch to unlock and a roll-up door to open while driving. Carabiners are sold in truck stops or you can use a coat hanger or probably some kite string. I wouldn't buy any until you see the door of the trailers.
6. I learned from pulling tankers, and not in the 20+ years in dry van, to take on/off ramps at or below the yellow sign advisory speed. In a van or reefer before tanker I got away with 5 over the curve speed. Doubles and tanker be at or below that speed before you start making that curve and you will be OK.
7. When you are backing a pup trailer to a dock door it is surprisingly difficult if you are used to a long trailer. Short trailers react very fast compared to long trailers.
8. if the pup trailers have extendable legs that drop down from the nose of the trailer, make sure you feet are well away from the spot before that leg or you will drop that 20 pound steel leg right on the top of your foot. More than one rookie has broken a foot on putting their first trailer in a door.
Pulling doubles is not as hard as you may fear. Anyone with a little training can do it. I'm confident you have the skill and, more importantly, you want to learn how to safely do it. You will be fine if your trainer shows you. The first time I made up a set of doubles was in a sloped gravel parking lot and huge potholes. I didn't know what I was doing and the location didn't help. My truck didn't have a pintle hook, which is how the converter dolly hooks to the lead trailer. Some tractors pulling doubles have a pintle hook on the rear frame of the tractor, which makes things much easier. My truck was an OTR truck without the hook, so I hooked to my lead trailer and used the pintle on the back of it to do what I could. After a couple of hours I was ready to leave, dirty, and sweaty. The second time I made up a set on flat ground and it only took 30-45 minutes. BY the 3rd time I could make/break a set in about 30 minutes.insipidtoast and Kennyworth67 Thank this.
Powder Joints Subjective Prognosticator
- Sep 25, 2007
DOnt over think it, doubles have there advantages. Personally I dont care either way, I have over a million miles pulling double, there certainly easier around town, you just have to gentle with them in other ways, but thats time you learn with your trainer, no big deal for sure go for it and dont look back.tscottme and Kennyworth67 Thank this.
Thanks. I guess that's what I've been doing. Overthinking things. Thanks, Driver.
Thanks, again! Your posts have really made me chill about it all. I guess it all comes down to who trains you. Crap in- crap out. Good info in- good practices out. I really felt I had hit the jackpot when I met the guy who would train me how to drive back in 2001 - I was right out of a mega school. My trainer was a cool old guy with 32 years experience and the patience of a Saint. He reminded me a lot of my Uncles in the NYPD and FDNY. He was a no bs kind of guy who told you where the bear - well you know. I really liked his method of teaching. He taught me how to float gears on the Grapevine. Anytime we were stopped for more than 2 hours, guess who put out cones and had me doing backing practice? The only thing I didn't like was that he made me listen to Rush Limbaugh every day. Lol. He was a great guy and an awesome trainer. He was getting up there even when he trained me and I'm sure he's dead now. Just the same, I say to him- thanks for everything, Larry! You remind me of him. Your language and calm demeanor. So, that's a big compliment in my book.
Made me laugh about the ''helmet'' comment. I go back to the army- ''the only stupid question is the one that's not asked." Now, I know that can be horribly abused. But, better to ask questions while people are training you than to be a know it all who steps on his wiener because he was too proud to ask.
I was an instructor and CDL tester at Central for a year before they got bought up by Swift. It was super easy work and I liked teaching new students. I fully understood my role. Which was soley limited to TEACHING them HOW to pass the CDL test and get them in a truck with a trainer who could teach them to actually drive the darn things.
The pay sucked and the work wasn't particularly interesting. But, it was an eye opener. I can tell you, it shattered many previously held stereotypes. Many of my best students were older ladies who didn't have anything to prove. They were patient, they easily applied instruction and were gentle on the equipment.
My problem children were veterans who considered themselves drivers because they drove a 5 ton truck in the military or the sons of truckers who liked to tell you all about ''their daddies'' truck. Half of them would never shut up long enough to learn how to pass a pre trip on their test.-- And- they got sent home.
Me, training a ''driver'' who was a 64 Clutch in the Army and figured I was just wasting his time. He had a come to Jesus moment right after this. We pulled over and I asked him if he was ''ready to learn'' now? He said yes. He ended up passing his CDL test only after he "let go his E'go."
Not paying attention during cdl training - YouTube
Once you are with a trainer try and distinguish what techniques or demands of the trainer are what he wants so his truck remains his truck and what demands are company/legal requirements. Just accept the personal demands of the trainer how he operates his truck, since that is the quickest way to your solo truck. I'm sure you have much more and better personal skills than us typical solo truck drivers. I like to take advantage of being new in a situation to ask questions that can sound stupid, but are often me confirming I understand what I think I have been told or shown. Also, being new you have more leeway to be careful and not rush. Don't be your own worst enemy. I really want to get to next level quality ASAP. My go-to question is usually "OK, what do all the newbies do in this situation you really want my to not do." Sometimes, not making that standard rookie mistake instantly puts you on the easy path or almost varsity level. Everything suggests to me you just need to so how things are supposed to be done and you are not starting off with no experience like 90% of trainees who have never even had to try and drive without doing 9 things on their smartphone and actively working to be distracted. Most newbies are the same idiot drivers in 4-wheelers who haven't once thought about improving their driving since they got a license at age 16. Drivng has ALWAYS been a background task and success was just being alive at the end of the day. Your half-million safe miles in or around urban areas is easly worth a million or two on the highways, if not more. In the airline industry when a pilot moves form one aircraft to another, he doesn't have to learn how to fly, like he did with his first license and aircraft. He is essentially just learning the differences between his last aircraft and next aircraft. The normal and common techniques to all aircraft are almost all handled at, if not the subconscious level far away from the wide-eyed and overwhelmed level real newbies enter the industry. You're probably going to get minor injuries like pinches of hand and feet or minor cuts from making/breaking sets or man-handling dollies, but you are not going to be swamped and questioning IF you can do this. Be careful, ask questions, double-check all connections, and be super alert when doing something new. You may be perfectly set-up to succeed in doubles with multiple advantages working for you. It sound like that to me. I'm no expert. I'm just a guy on the internet.
There should be a ton of videos on YT about making/breaking a set. I would watch those, especially the videos made by a school or trucking company. Those school/company videos probably have more careful procedures than the ones made by one driver. Sometimes the oen driver making the video is a perfectionist that is showing master-level techniques the company/schools don't waste their time with. Sometimes the single driver videos are the cowboy showing how he cuts corners and gets it done the easiest/fastest way. Until you can tell the difference between master-level or real super trucker and just the most common bad habits I'd stick with the school/company videos. There is often a leg that extends from the nose of the pup trailer meant to prevent the trailer from tipping forward when in the dock door. It's a foot destroyer. When you raise or lower that leg on the nose make a triangle with your feet and the foot of that leg. If you don't it will drop onto your foot and destroy a few toes or break your foot.
In dry van and reefer most newbies are being shows the "just barely good enough" way plus all of the bad habits that help a 90 day trainer push newbies into their solo truck the quickest and it really really shows on the roads and truck stops.Last edited: Dec 11, 2022
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