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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Got the CDL, now for the Diploma

Merrily now has her Commercial Driver’s License in hand and is fully legal and trained to drive big rigs.

Of course, her goal was to become a safe competent driver of our own home and that, she has accomplished through this 8 week truck driver training class.copy_of_img_0532

I am sure that she could have gotten a license on her own without the class through study and some practice with our own rig. But, what she wanted was to be safe, confident and comfortable doing it and that takes a lot of hands on time behind the wheel.

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Most of her 10 hour days were spent on the practice field where they have the various field exercises setup with trucks and trailers, obstacles and simulated typical situations to learn to navigate.

Typically, 3 hours of each day was in the classroom learning terminology, technology, regulations, map reading and how to fill out log books. With the possible exception of the log books, all of other content goes to training a driver to be more aware even when a situation is not in play.

The rest of the day was spent getting hands on experience in their trucks with their instructors. That has trained her mind, eyes and muscles to reliably respond correctly in real time situations. This not something that one can get from books. Neurological patterning and muscle memory training has to be done through conscious repetitive actions and that means some long exhausting hours behind the wheel.

Prior to this class she had never driven a truck while towing a trailer of any sort. By itself, that makes for a huge confidence gap. Add to it virtually no experience backing any sort of a trailer and you have borderline panic just thinking about parking our rig.

Now, her confidence is solid and her fears are gone. Add some time on the road and she will be as comfortable handling our rig as she is running to the grocery store in our Smart car.

Congratulations, my Love!

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