I've seen folks that use those CPAP machines and I don't understand how they can sleep with all of that mask on! That being said, everyone I have ever talked to about them has said they sleep better than ever with them. I guess you get used to them.
Congrats on passing the backing tests. Like I was saying, just relish each little victory and carry it on to the next part. Before you know it, all those little victories will make one big accomplishment.
Jake brakes are a wonderful little thing that I sometimes think we have grown too attached to! Kind of like Wal Mart. What did people do before Wal Mart?
Here's something I learned today that spiced up my supper- Next time you order a Chicken Burrito from Taco Bell tell them you want "Lava Sauce" on it. The KLLM driver in front of me in line swore by it. I tried it and I have to hand it to the guy. I went back and got 4 more to keep in the fridge. I knew KLMM could contribute to society in some productive way and I just found out how this evening!
Swift - Starting the New Year training with Swift 1/7/13 - A long read...
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Yeah, the CPAP mask is kind of weird to wear at first but the way it plays out is since you don't get any rest without it once you start wearing it to get rest you get used to it quickly. I know the first night I had one, way back when I was prescribed the thing, I tried it for about an hour one night and never wore it again until this summer when I bought my own used machine. The mask is fairly comfortable, has like a soft gel nose thing and then there are straps around the top, sides and back of your head over your ears. I'm pretty sure if I got up and ran around the street with the mask hanging off I could scare a few people with it. Sort of like a Hannibal Lecter meets Sesame Street's Snufellupagus on the loose. Looks like you are in some bad medical shape wearing it but if and when I ever get into an intimate situation I won't plan on wearing it that particular night so as not to scare my companion.
It doesn't really get in the way and now I can completely sleep on my back, something I haven't done in years before this. Not so easy to watch tv with it but it's not too bad. I"m used to it completely, takes only a few days to adjust. Now if I could just find a way to incorporate some good scents like "chocolate chip cookie", "Play-Doh" or "gasoline" to be piped in there I would be golden.
Day 11 -- Pre-trip test by Swift
Spent almost two full days studying the pretrip plus 2 hours in the AM and 2 hours in the afternoon for the pst 2 weeks preparing for this and it paid off. Missed one issue and got a 99%. I missed something about making sure the 5th wheel was positioned so that the mudflaps and tractor don't run into the landing gear in a turn. Should of got it but I was happy with the near 100%. Good news and I'm not studying #### tonight as I'm going to sit here in my hotel room eating Herr's Baby Back Ribs potato chips and watching tv.
Tomorrow we have all classroom watching movies, learning about life on the road, safety, shippers and docks and some other things. Looking forward to not actually having to pretrip tomorrow or drive as my clutch knee is killing me and needs a break.
Now this is my thoughts, so take them with a grain of salt, but I think one of the big reasons this industry has such a high turnover rate is because hey spend all this energy recruiting folks and just don't get them prepared for the "Daily Grind" kind of stuff. You can talk about safety, paperwork, log books ( or eLogs if applicable ), truck maintenance, company policy, and all the other mundane aspects that you can read in a manual the next time you have to check the plumbing out, but what about the day to day stuff you have to find out for yourself? A company will tell you what you CAN'T do, but don't spend anytime telling you what you CAN do. Little things can make a big difference for folks. I realize that a lot of problems can be solved with a good trainer, but that's really "luck of the draw" when it comes down to it. That Werner fellow was nothing more than a second log book for his trainer. Say what you want about Werner, but its still about not getting this guy prepared for what he's going to experience as far as life on the road. What I wish they would have done for my orientation class is go out in the yard and pick the first driver with more than 3 years experience to come in and do a Q and A session with all the new folks. Even for the veterans they could be useful about the company policies. I guess what I'm saying is to put a little personality back into it. Don't hold someone's hand, but let the person get a good idea about what is life is going to be like. All drivers who make it past sir first year and are proud of what they do should care because the ones who don't make it because they aren't prepared are one of the black eyes to this industry today.
Again, just my two cents worth. I just hate seeing good folks get burned out by either lack of knowledge or just drawing a bad trainer.
They didn't tell us too much about life on the road. This was just a very short introduction for us. We learn a lot more during the next phase in orientation and then again once we go on the road with the mentor for 4-6 weeks. That's when we learn the most about life on the road. But even then, we will never learn everything even after this training, after the orientation or the time with the mentor. I don't think any company can truly train anyone on everything as you will never really know until you get out on the road. Swift is very up front about this portion of the training. They are only training us to pass the state exam and get our CDL. We don't really start learning until we are with our mentor doing what learning what we will encounter from day to day.
The trainers we have had here on the Swift range have an average of 1 million to 1.5 million miles OTR. Not sure about the experience of those we will encounter in orientation or the mentor.
Day 12 -- Classroom
We had a day of classroom reviewing safety, some life on the road and more safe driving habits. Tomorrow we have the day off and Monday we start driving around town with the trainer. This next week is our last in this phase and at the end of the week we test for our CDL.
Hopefully you will get a good mentor. Again, it's luck of the draw for the most part. My trainer was a good dude who had one tragic flaw- he never met a slot machine he didn't like. He liked stopping at casinos, which I actually used to my advantage. We didn't run as a team for the most part. I did most of the driving and when we stopped, I got to sleep in a truck that wasn't moving because we were always parked somewhere where he could play the slot machines. Another bonus was by the time I was rested, he usually had been playing long enough where they would give him freebies like a couple of buffets. I had already knew how to drive trucks because I pulled cotton and grain trailers all through the Mississippi delta. I was able to ask him questions and I figured out the rest using common sense. He still works with the company and still goes to the casinos. In between gambling stops though, he was able to teach me the little things like never answering a knock at your door at night in a truckstop or telling someone you are hauling sacks of manure when they ask you what you have in the trailer. He taught me how to work the system with a dispatcher and how to eat healthy with a microwave and a mini crockpot. Just those little things like that made a difference for me. I hope you are ale to get a mentor that will have a little patience and take a little interest in getting you ready so you don't burn out real quick.
I definitely don't want to burn out. I"m going to have to have the right frame of mind to keep from burning out. I wish I had some experience before. I drove a straight truck a long time ago but that is nothing like this so I don't have any experience at all with this.
Off day today. No class. No range. No driving.
Studied and had to write out the driving commentary we will be required to say when we take our state test.
My test is this coming Friday when I go over to Pasco, WA with three other students to take our test. The other 3 Washington guys are going over on Thursday.
This week we start driving more regularly. I want to practice some more off-set backs and some 90 degree backs in the time inbetween driving.
I'm kind of relieved to be able to practice driving on hills and mountains around here. I was thinking it would suck to have to practice driving hills/mountains for the first time on my own or with a mentor instead of doing this with a trainer around here. Definite advantage.Bigdubber Thanks this.
Swift is supposedly one of the better companies when it comes to training so your chances are better than average that you'll end up with someone that has patience. As far as "clean" you never know. One of my bigger fears was not being able to keep a standard of clean that I have been living up to. It's all about give and take, but you will find little tricks that will help the cause. When I rode with a trainer, I always kept (and still do) a good supply of baby wipes that help out in the absence of a shower. I always keep a jug of water to brush my teeth and an electric razor to shave everyday. You will pick up little tricks of your own over time. A good rule of thumb is to remember that you can stay as clean as you want to be.
Sleeping in a moving truck takes getting used to but I got lucky in that department. As long as you don't run as a team it's not an issue. What is Swifts policy on training? Do they run as a team or does your mentor ride 2nd seat anytime you drive?
You seem to have the right attitude about the work so I wouldn't think you would burn out like some. You have to go into this with your eyes wide open. There are probably going to be times when you hate the job, hate the truck, hate the mentor, or whatever else you can get mad at. When it gets bad during your training, just know that when they turn you loose on your own, it's a completely different world. It WILL get better. Just hang in there and ride out the rough spots.
Heres a good metaphor I heard about this industry- Driving a truck is like going to prison without the well structured days. Stay away from the dudes that think its ok not to wear shirts in common areas and you will be just fine.
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