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Suggestions for a Good

Trainer/Trainee Relationship



DON'T make and leave a mess of your stuff in his/her truck.


DON'T rearrange the trainer's things ... it is his/her truck, after all.


DON'T take your sweet time in the truck stop so he/she has to always wait on you.


DON'T stop the truck unless you really have to.  Be sure you know where you're supposed to be changing highways, stopping for fuel, etc. so you don't have to stop and look at the map.  BUT if you aren't sure, stopping to look is preferable over going the wrong way!


DON'T turn the music up very much when your trainer is trying to sleep. There's very little sound barrier between the cab and the sleeper and even if you leave the volume low, it can still be heard in the bunk pretty well.


DON'T turn the CB radio up very loud, either. Turn the squelch high. Try not to talk loud, if you use it. For that matter, you may want to ask if the trainer minds if you talk on the CB.


DON'T say to the trainer, "Well, that's not the way we did it at driving school."

DO maintain good hygiene.


DO your part ... go on the docks with the trainer, unless he/she says otherwise. Get out of the truck at fuel stops and help clean the windshield, thump tires, etc. Help to slide tandems.


DO ask for clarification if you don't understand directions you're given.


DO ask the trainer what they expect of you don't be afraid to ask questions! If you don't understand how to do something, the trainer will strongly prefer you ask rather than to have you do it wrong.


DO find out if the trainer smokes, if possible. If you do and the trainer does not, don't expect smoking privileges in his/her truck!


DO pay attention to what the trainer does -- even seemingly mundane tasks such as fueling the truck and checking in with shippers/receivers.


DO show respect and courtesy -- even if they don't... probably the hardest advice to follow.



The training period isn't very long so do your best to get through it. Watch your trainer and what he/she does in different situations. Be your trainer's little puppy dog, his/her shadow, and learn everything you possibly can in this time. It will help you tremendously when you become a solo driver. No matter how good or bad of a trainer you have, you can still learn a lot. If their methods are not those you've learned at driving school, don't be surprised! You'll have to use some judgment - you don't want to pick up the bad habits that many experienced drivers have developed but you do want to find more efficient and productive ways of doing things.


Trainers comes in all shapes, sizes and levels of experience. No matter how good or bad the trainer is in the fine art of training, you can learn a great deal.

Most companies that accept new drivers also have trainers. The length of time you stay with a trainer varies among companies, but 3 - 6 weeks is pretty average. Pay during training is typically low.


The job of the trainer is to provide the trainee with as much real world knowledge as possible so the trainee can function and succeed on his/her own. Company procedures must also be passed on. The first part of the job of the trainee is to listen, not just hear, but really listen and absorb the knowledge given to them. The second part is to simply observe what happens. How the fueling procedure works. How the communications occur between the dock people and the driver. The third part of the job is to assist the trainer. Don't sit in the truck when he/she is on the docks! Don't stay in the bunk when the trainer is driving through heavy Los Angeles traffic learn what you can from the experience before you have to do it on your own!


This article is an excerpt from "Driver's ABC's, Surviving the First Year," modified for the Web. 

This article may appear in more detail or in a different format in the book version. 

Copyright 2000-2007, Creative Curriculum FTTI, All Rights Reserved, no reprint without permission.



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