Well class started today. We have 9 or 10 from CRST doing a refresher 1 week class and 3 new CDL students. One new is going to CFI the other two not hired yet.
New is subjective as one has several years in a yard moving trucks and trailers. He nailed a 90 degree backing on the first try. The other guy has absolutely nothing, but today he got his physical and drug test done and tomorrow he takes the permit test.
These folks really work hard to get you licensed quick. It is not just a matter of passing the test. They strive to teach you how to succeed during and after the CDL Drive Test. Today they had several instructors in the trucks while Ruby taught us in the classroom. The experience level they have at the least is 10 years and the most was driving since the early 80's.
Ruby has a YouTube Video of the Pretest they have vetted with the local troopers that give the actual test. It is a guaranteed pass if memorized. Then again most all use the same verbage lingo. I hope to test soon since I have had my permit already for 14 days I can test when I am ready. Boy am I ready in my heart but probably should actually drive the 10 speed a bit first? It has been 15 years.
I had some jokes about the first day driving but maybe I will wait until we get further along.
Truck Dynasty Driving Academy
Today was backing and parallel parking with a sleeper cab and 53 foot trailer. All trucks are 10 speeds too.
Way too much fun. All lot maneuvers are in 1st gear under 5mph but still fun. I was surprised how easy it was. If you follow their patterns it is almost perfect every time. Now you may never do these again but for the test it is good knowledge for passing.
We have been debating about every thing lately from seat height to best companies to work for. The varied opinions from a student in Minnesota to the tip of Florida get interesting. Add in the age difference from 20 to 73 way too much fun here. I cannot wait for my days of waking up to a sunrise with the windows down, preferably not screaming like the other drivers on the interstate.
Still enjoying the school. Today was parallel parking both right and left. The CRST students only get a one week refresher class so they are supposedly trained but the testing at Truck Dynasty is more difficult. Most do not know how to do the lot maneuvers. They are also supposed to be able to drive a stick already but half could not. Not a terrible thing but someone passed them without training them.
The most difficult part at this school is for old dogs to learn new tricks. I have been pulling large trailers for 35 years or so. I did it using the hand on top of the wheel method. Different, but to pass this school I have to learn their way. They have a great pass rate at the Test Stations per the Troopers that work there. FOr me to ensure passing I have to do it their way. Some cannot. Old habits or "This is how I have always done it." To me, I paid $4500 dollars to get a CDL. If I do not do it their way I cannot say they did not do their job. I must admit, when done as they show us it gets in the pocket every time. Learning the steps and remembering them each time takes repetition. I do not like all of it but I probably will never use these parking lot moves again. How to correct my position? These I will use a lot.
Sadly another two did not make it passing the drive exam. One because a permit expired and another for a point. Still tomorrow is available for testing. The staff keeps on going giving good coaching and positive reinforcement. I am sure they will make it next round. Set it up and trust the moves.
Next week is a 4 day 10 hour each week. Maybe if I am lucky I will manage to get the moves right and get some testing done. The road drive cannot be until the last week.
Day five is over. Plenty of road time in the morning as Noah floated past us during the ThunderStorm. Rusty as all to go, but I am in a school to pass an exam. Rough is OK today as long as the end of week three I am smooth as butter. It is the end that matters not the beginning. No stalls, back rolls but quite a few missed gears and grinding. Stuff happens.
We got into a discussion about attitude. Several new drivers and old farts too refuse to accept a new idea. We have all been there at one time. So as a couple students fight the method being taught, I was in the middle of a parallel park maneuver. I had started a timer so I knew how much time it took me. You have 15 minutes from the first time you back up. I did my GOAL and got stuck with the instructor talking. I interrupted and asked if I ould finish as I was on the clock and wanted to keep it going. He laughed and said to keep on. Afterwards I was puzzled when I was singled out.
The instructor told the others, " Did you see what he did top me?" No one dared to answer. Then he explained that I was all business and just wanted to get it done. That is what Truckers are supposed to be about, BUSINESS. Then a million questions on ethics and attitudes. In the end I had now 4 of six instructors single me out and tell me they were pleased with my attitude. With the bad habits I have developed and the number of mistakes I will make until corrected, having them on my side helps.
Not to sound like anyone's parent, but we will be a reflection of the company we are working for. The company makes money when our wheels are turning and we get the goods to the location on time. If we do it so the company looks good too we all win. The dispatchers work for us as if we do not drive they do not get credit for the loads. Then again if we believe we have that much power and control without them working with us we would have a lot more to do each night finding the next several loads. It is the teamwork that brings the money home. If we all do our part putting aside who is wrong and who is at fault for the load being late no one makes a buck. WHen stranded for a day because a post trip was not done and the trailer needs repairs offer to do some cleanup loads for a day to help the dispatcher. Maybe then they will be able to help you easier.
SO back off the soapbox. Now with all the rain there was this huge toad on the flat top. We all tried our best not to get dead toad on an instructors truck. A cone is one thing but finding out their pet is now tire tread might not go well. We all missed it with 48 passings. Then, an instructor taking the loop to park kilted it dead. Smashed with guts everywhere. Not even a leg to fry. Goes to show even old toads may not be safe out there.
Next week is a new game. 9 new refresher students and possibly 3 more new CDL Permits. This school gets the job done right. Amazingly where we all drive the other schools also drive. We can all see the student errors just as fast as the instructors. Then we all get to "WTF?" the other trucks.
Week two Day 6 or sumthin like that. It was a great day as I was placed on 90 Degree Docking. Nailed it first 3 tries then confidence got in the way. Still doing well enough I was going to try testing at end of week. Humble pie changed my mind and I will wait. I think I got it down, but more practice could not hurt.
New classes from CRST this week too. Some are good some need help. It is amazing how CRST will ship folks from Texas, Florida, Michigan and such for this School. Truck Dynasty Driving Academy is one of the nations top !0. I can see why. The instructors work real hard to convince even the most stubborn to try their method. I can say with certainty, If you do it like they tell you, It works every time. It is not about getting it right the first time, but knowing how to fix a mistake and not repeat the same mistake again. When I get it perfect there is no second guessing.
Not much to say other than a 10 hour day with 6 hours driving. Try that in some of the other schools.
Wife and I went to TDDA for CFI. Was a pretty good experience, only issue we had was with a student who disrupted classes due to her inability to pass the driving/pretrip exam. They definitely give you the info and tools to pass. Just gotta put them to use.
As stated above one of the hardest parts was doing things their way. Which, I can't do and didn't do. I took what info I could from them and put it into techniques I could use for myself. Which caused me to bump heads with Ms. Ruby more than a few times. But once I set boundaries and they learned that I learn better on my own (like show me how to do it, give me a truck and let me figure it out myself, because you shouting at me gets me no where).
Which obviously worked, I went to test and got a one and done. I got the full tractor trailer and missed 2 parts, and got 90° alley dock and got it with no issues. Wife had to test twice because she got blind side parallel (it was always her weakness) but she passed 4 days after I did. (Due to the problem student, or it would of been sooner)
Agreed. Sometumes you have to make it work for you. Similar to your problem, my class is only 3 students. One was late getting permit the other fights the staff over every move. Now I am nailing the lot moves and need road time. Since the other two take their time and fight it , I have to sit and wait. Still I am only in the middle of week two and 4 instructors say I am ready to test. I want more time on the road.
Day seven I got almost 6 hours wheel time but 5 was doing lot moves. The rest of the training will be the same, road in the morning lot in the afternoon.
I will wait till I test to post again as this will get boring soon otherwise.
As a side note worth mentioning. This is a Veteran owned business that has also hired 2 veterans as trainers. In my book this is a big YES. Yes I am preferential towards Vets, but I find they are more detailed and successful. Most vets I know with success have it because of the discipline and dedication learned from their service. This company Truck Dynasty Driving Academy is in the top ten nationwide. KUDOS and I am confident I will get what I need to pass.
Friday was a surprise. I had to take a test on pretrip, straight line backing and Offset backing. No warning just , start now. Passed and am now scheduled for my cdl exam one day next week. Bad news is the test truck blew an airline and one trailer from the school had a short in the wiring. AAAARRRRGGGGGG
Both tractor and trailer are in the shop so hopefully I will be set. Next week will be all driving still focusing on my test. I am probably the only one ready to test. I may actually get some one on one drive time doing the exam course. Monday will be all 90 degree alley backing. And the excitement builds.........
BTW the staff here really does an excellent job. If you come with the right attitude you will leave with a license. My goal is one test and done. So far it has worked well.Cerberus XVI Thanks this.