Last time, we introduced PAM Transport driver, Michael Price. Michael told us all about his construction job and how he was PAYING to drive 3 hrs to and from work. He decided to trade that drive in to GET PAID to travel the USA in a new truck driving job.
But all drivers have to start somewhere - and that place is truck driving school. Today, we're going to talk about Michael's experience at CDL training learning how to drive an 18 wheeler.
How I Got The Most Out Of CDL Training
Q: How do you think your family history in trucking helped with CDL training?
A: I was a lot more comfortable than most. There were people that you could tell were getting sick to their stomach just thinking about getting in a truck. It helped me being around trucking for as long as I had been with different members of my family being truckers. There were some students who struggled, but the instructors did a good job of helping those people get up to speed. Because I had a history around trucking and things came natural to me, I was able to pass the CDL test on my first try. After I graduated trucking school, I started helping other students. I made index cards for the pre-trip inspection because everyone was trying to go off the paper which is much more difficult. So I decided to make a whole pre-trip on index cards to give to the students who were thinking “I can’t do this; I’ll never remember!” I'm proud to say most of those students passed the pre-trip inspection part of the CDL test with no problems after studying the index cards. Needless to say, I made a lot of friends during this time as I was helping people out. I wouldn't have it any other way...I was happy to help.
You see, you can’t be shy in this line of work; you have to be able to get out and talk to people. I do that, and by doing that, I made a LOT of friends.
I’ve actually met most of the people I’ve interacted with on the phone, but one person I haven’t met yet, and it drives me nuts, is my Driver Agent. She helped me out a lot and I really hope I get the chance to meet her.
My Driver Solutions Review - What Training Is Really Like
Q: What do you have to say about the CDL instructors and the type of encouragement they gave you?
A: Overall, the instructors at truck driving school in Ft. Wayne were great. The classroom instructor got into a lot of detail on how things were on the road. I really appreciated that and even though I grew up around trucks, there was a lot he knew that I didn't.
On the range, I had Dave for two days and he literally explained EVERYTHING in terms of how your backing goes and pretty much where I’d be using that sort of backing at (for example, truck stops, docks, stuff like that). After, that I had Jeff and he was a great instructor as well. I got along with him very well. I talked to people as much as possible during training. I think that is key. Get to know people and ask a lot of questions. Jeff was more talkative than anybody. He would help you if you messed up at any point in time. He’d pinpoint and show you exactly how to get around the part you were messing up. He got into detail and explained it.
Neil was my road instructor and he was really cool. For me, it wasn’t all that hard because like I said, I’ve been around it for so long, so I did more talking with him than anything. But once I got on the road, he took me through downtown Fort Wayne where there is a LOT of traffic. That was one thing I wasn’t comfortable with – a lot of traffic. Once I explained that to him he took me through it and that’s where I’d go every day in the truck until I got comfortable with it. He’d walk me through taking turns in heavy traffic and he helped me a lot on the road part. I had him for 3-4 days and learned a ton.
Next was Diane. She was really cool – she pretty much did the interstate and on and off ramps just to get me a little more comfortable with it. All in all, the trainers up there were really cool. They walk you through everything. They ask you what you’re nervous about then help you through that particular thing. I can't tell you how helpful that was to have that type of support.
How To Get Started
Driver Solutions' CDL training sponsorship helps entry-level, inexperienced truck drivers get the experience needed to find a trucking job with no upfront tuition cost. Just fill out our no obligation online application here. Filling out an app does not commit you to anything, but allows you to schedule a time to speak with one of our Driver Agents about your career options.