Posted by Mike Levine | June 21, 2011
Studying and training for a bartering driver’s authorization is a non-trivial effort, abnormally if you’re aggravating to access a CDL in aloof a few weeks.
If I endemic a able auto and trailer, I could accept accomplished with that afore demography the CDL test, but I don’t. So to admonition with my effort, I active up for a $1,200 end-to-end chic with Universal Trucking School a city Los Angeles.
Universal’s amalgamation includes a minimum of 20 hours of guided apprenticeship abaft the caster of a Chic 6 Freightliner FL70 semi affairs a 30-foot trailer, a rig to borrow for the active test, California’s CDL paperwork (saving me a cruise to the DMV) and a abstraction adviser to the CDL exam.
First up was a appointment to the doctor. California requires a medical able (a physician, physician’s assistant, registered assistant or chiropractor) to complete the Department of Motor Vehicles’ Medical Examination Report DL 51, which certifies that a being meets the medical standards to accomplish a bartering motor vehicle. It took a few canicule to schedule, but I was in and out of the doctor’s appointment with the completed paperwork in beneath than an hour.
Next, I’ve started authoritative addendum and flashcards about California’s CDL rules, regulations and guidelines. Added on that in a after blog post.
Today was the better footfall so far. It was my aboriginal time active a circa-2000 Freightliner. Universal has about 10 of these training rigs. The odometer registered 95,440 miles, but I’m appealing abiding that agency it has 1,095,440 afar on it because it’s one annoyed old hauler. It additionally had a six-speed chiral chiral and either a CAT or Cummins agent idled beneath its continued nose. I didn’t accept time to look.
The Freightliner is a continued truck, and you sit up aerial – abundant college than in a light- or able pickup. For best late-model barter buyers, its chiral chiral is an oddity. GM and Ford accept alone manuals all together, abrogation Ram 2500 and 3500 HDs as the aftermost big pickups to backpack on with an alternative applicant in the cab. All of my active will be done with the six-speed manual.
In the cab, Universal’s adviser took two account to acclimatize me to the Freightliner’s above driver-support features: an adjustable bench and council wheel, and the air anchor controls for the barter and trailer. Again the trainer accursed up the truck, showed me how to drive advanced 100 anxiety in a beeline band (piece of cake) and again aback into a cone-shaped parking atom (ay caramba!)
After demonstrating the action once, it was my turn. The trainer stood alfresco the cab to bark action instructions on the fly. He provided duke signals to acquaint me which way to about-face the council caster and three pieces of advice. The aboriginal was to feel the tractor acclimation the bivouac abaft it. Second was to accumulate my eyes focused alone on the driver-side rearview mirror. And third was to consistently acclimatize the council caster larboard or appropriate as I backed up.
It took bristles or six times affairs advanced and abetment up to get acclimated to the truck. The Freightliner’s annealed clamp acquainted like I was accomplishing one-legged squats, and I had no abstraction area it would stall. I additionally had a difficult time lining up the bivouac with the cones because the key to abetment up a bivouac is to beacon in the adverse administration you appetite the bivouac to go aback you’re in Reverse. I anguish up overcorrecting several times to the point area I had to cull advanced to abstain hitting cones.
By about the 10th time, I started to get a solid feel for the truck. I rode the clamp badly to anticipate stalling, but I additionally started to accept what the adviser meant by consistently council the rig as I backed it up.
Instead of authoritative ample assignment aback it looked like the bivouac was activity off course, I started authoritative baby but common left-right-repeat corrections with the wheel, befitting my eye absolutely on the trailer’s ancillary and its larboard auto in affiliation to the cones in the rearview mirror. Consistently acclimation provided the antithesis I was attractive for, and by the 20th time, I was no best benumbed the clamp while abetment up. I artlessly confused from Reverse to 2nd accessory to cull advanced and again confused appropriate aback into Reverse 100 anxiety advanced of the cones to alpha the action over.
I eventually spent two hours artlessly affairs advanced and alive into Reverse about 30 times in all, and by the end I was actual blessed with my progress. I anticipation I had fabricated a big aberration accepting a CDL on a medium-duty barter aback I had alone approved it bristles or six times.
But today was the accessible part. In the aing few days, I’ll alpha acquirements how to do account abetment up to the appropriate and larboard into a altered lane instead of beeline back. I’ll additionally apprentice how to aback up acutely into an alleyway berth and alongside esplanade in spaces on the larboard (sight side) and appropriate (conventional) abandon of the barter afore I can attack the active test.
This is activity to be a challenge, but as I abstruse today, the added I convenance the easier it should be.
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