My mind is mush after the day we had so my apologies if this sounds haphazard.
The morning started with us being handed our pocket versions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. This little green book is 720 glorious pages of everything we have to know. For those that are curious to check it out, there is an online version as well. I can't remember the website right now, but just do a search for FMCSR.
We also were given Swift Driver Manuals that have a bunch of Swift policies and procedures ranging from payroll and benefits to the ride-along program. The main chunk of the manual is paperwork that has to be filled out daily when we are with our mentor. For those in the military, it basically looks like OJT records. Once filled out, they will be placed in our driver file that our driver manager (DM) holds. One of the issues I am going to run into being a flat bed driver is that I have to have 28 back-ups. It's not a big deal for van drivers as they back up to the dock everyday, but us flat bedders are loaded by cranes. So the instructor told us we needed to take charge of our training and make sure we get the needed back-ups logged. Even if that means hooking up a van in the yard when we are waiting on a load n backing it up.
The rest of the morning was spent on SAFETY, SAFETY, n more SAFETY. If you haven't figured it out yet, Swift is huge on safety. We are the largest carrier as well as the premier carrier n going for best overall. The theme is if it's not legal and safe, don't do it. We discussed all kinds of things from driver fatigue to road rage and were shown some pretty nasty videos to make sure the message stuck.
One of the hardest hitting scenarios was the instructor had us close our eyes n imagine we were in the truck. We than had to visualize the most important person to us in the vehicle ahead of us, the second most important in the vehicle to the right, the third most important in the vehicle to the left, and the fifth most important in the vehicle behind us. Once we had that mental picture, she had us open our eyes and asked, "NOW, how are you going to drive?". With that example came another little saying.. Drive for 5..
Today pretty much changed my train of thought on driving.. We are 80,000 pounds rollin down the highway at 60 mph and it takes a split second to take our life of someone elses. That's a scary ass thought when you think about it.
So the next time you hear someone tell you that driving a truck is easy, you will know they have no clue what they are talking about. We have to constantly scan our mirrors, watch our tandems, and look at least 15 seconds ahead. It takes a loaded semi approx 749 feet to stop traveling 60 miles an hour. Boggles my mind when I think about it.
Since all of us had a glazed look on our faces after that, after lunch was nothing but filling out paperwork. We filled out state tax forms as well as a new hire form, emergency data card, and a personal information form. Oh, and we were issued our fuel cards too. :). The drug tests will be back later today and sometime tomorrow we should get our driver codes. Once we get that, we are officially hired and our gas cards become active.
That is all for today. Now I am off to read a HAZMAT manual n take n open book test that we need to turn in for tomorrow. Even though I don't have a HAZMAT endorsement, Swift requires all of their drivers to be HAZMAT certified.
Sent on the Now Network from my Sprint® BlackBerry