You have completed truck driving school with your CDL and you are excited and looking forward to the possibilities in your new career. Next you choose a starter company to get over the road training OTR. Then you go shopping for all your essential needs like bedding, luggage, gloves and ect. Now you are ready for training with a trainer.
The recruiter has confirmed your travel arrangements and you're off to orientation in some distant land!
Ready for a new adventure?
You are now checked into the hotel. Most orientations start at 8:00am sharp at the terminal for orientation. The class is filled with all new drivers but they will be weeded out by the end of the week due to qualifications.
Orientation is from 3 to 5 days of sensory overload which includes DOT physicals, drug testing, paperwork, road and backing testing, and picture IDs taken. Did I mention paperwork, "yes I did", but there's more unfortunately!!
What should I expect from my trainer?
You will be paired with a random trainer male or female. He or She will greet you with professionalism and a smile and welcome you into their home on wheels that they are assigned to. They are required to introduce you to the trucking lifestyle and how to safely operate the truck. This person will be teaching you about your new career and also a lifestyle that sometimes isn't as easy for most of us ladies.
Next they will introduce you to the truck and the ends and outs of it, and at that time you will perform your first pre trip. By doing a walk around pointing out things that are very important to the workings of the everyday use of the truck.
Division of trailers
If you are hauling Dry van you will learn the placement of placards, hook up of the glad hands and also trailer door secured.
If you are hauling Reefer which is hauling food goods they will show you the settings for operation and how to fill the fuel tank located on the trailer.
If you are hauling Flatbed they will teach you proper securement.
Next you will get into the truck and your trainer will explain the ends and out of the cab and the rules of the truck.
Then you will move into your designated space by setting up your area and putting away all of your personal belongings.
They will introduce you to the type of truck that you will be driving and what all of the gauges are. Next they will teach you about the elog device that's installed in most trucks.
Training should be STRUCTURE, COMMUNICATION and SCHEDULES… Nothing more, nothing less.
- SCHEDULES which includes your driving shift and times needed to ensure the structure is intact and everyone is on task.
Remember this is training and you have to multi task a good trainer will assign you several tasks such as: paperwork, dealing with customers, logging, plus the times you will be driving.
It sounds like a lot but it's not IT IS APART OF YOUR JOB! Once you go solo or become a part of a team you'll still need these skills to make it.
Make sure you are prepared for training bring pen and paper, gloves, map, flashlight, working shoes, hygiene products, baby wipes and cash for your personal needs.
Remember that every one's experience is different and some people hit the ground running and some people struggle," PURE SCHEMATICS" and it's normal.
Training is what you make it and making it stressful on yourself isn't a smart thing to do so find some time for yourself when you are not working and just go back over some of the things that you've learned, and try to apply them as much as possible.
▪ Be up for each challenge and never let an opportunity pass you by to learn how to maneuver the vehicle, ask questions constantly stay engaged.
▪ Ask for help when you need it… REMEMBER A CLOSED MOUTH NEVER GETS FED!!!
Get what you need for your new journey in life Remember it's a lifestyle, because everyday is a new chapter and you will always be constantly learning… And hopefully your trainer is well equipped to get you to the next level but remember they are human.
"I wish you the best success in your trucking career! "
"Full disclosure I've had this experience
On both sides of the fence I am a professional driver and trainer, and I would just like to say, things have changed in the industry a lot."
Blog by Tamara Spivey, Board Member of S.H.E TRUCKING