Wayne Cragg was a driver for USA Truck during 2012-2013. Below are his thoughts and experiences driving for the company during that time. The views and opinions expressed below are his and not representative of those of Driver Solutions.
In April of 2015, Driver Solutions and USA Truck mutually agreed to dissolve their partnership. Driver Solutions remains committed to helping new drivers find the best truck driving job and CDL training opportunities available. Learn more about our company-sponsored CDL training program here.
Lester Barber from Driver Solutions Facebook page asks: Wayne, I start school the first week in March. What do you think is the most stressful thing about starting school and OTR training? What's the most stressful thing you found when you started running solo?
Let me start this 3-fold question with school. When I started CDL training, the first week was all classroom instruction. It can be pretty overwhelming if you're not focused the entire 3 days before you start testing. Yes, even after you leave school for the day, you will need to study, study, and study more. A week of great information comes your way. In my case, I had a great instructor (Perry) with our team of about 17 people and he was able to guide us through all this information in an easy to understand way. It was a lot of info, but it's doable. I suggest you study a lot before school. This will get you in the right frame of mind and also give you a heads up on what you will be studying in that first week and beyond. I started studying eGears on the Thursday before my Monday class, and I can tell you that it paid off hugely.
OTR Training is stressful just for the fact you are going out on the road for the first time. You are really getting in that 18-wheeler and trucking around the U.S. No one but your trainer is there to help you along in your process of going solo. That in and of itself is pretty intimidating. BUT, the most stressful part of OTR training is the backing up part. You know what though? Sometimes you get very, very lucky and go to a place in Texas where you have like no room to back up your truck. You don't think you can do it. But your trainer (Randy in my case) talks you through it. He shows you how to use the available space to "Get 'er in the hole." Then, when you're solo, you go back to the same place! LOL Yes sir, this just happened to me 2 weeks ago. I was so lucky to have done that back up before. It was still super hard, but I had done it once before, so I knew I could do it again.
Running solo has many stresses, but I need to say the most stressful thing about running solo is finding the place you are loading or unloading. It never gets any easier as you move along towards your year, you just learn how to make that part easier. I've mentioned this in previous blogs, but I call every place I go and ask for directions. Don't always rely on your GPS, it will get you in trouble for sure. Just yesterday I unloaded and loaded in New Jersey. Jersey alone has its own stresses. Just one of them is finding the place, and they have plenty of "No Trucks" signs. So always pay attention and read all the signs.
Good luck with school and have fun!
(Image credit: bottled_void, Flickr)
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