C1 Truck Driver Training Blog

Calming Nerves at Trucking School — Tips for Week 2

First time behind the wheelSo you’ve passed the CDL permit test and the first week of CDL training. Now comes the stressful part — getting in a semi truck for the very first time. Understandably, this can be a very nerve-wracking experience. After all, you’re responsible for controlling 53′ and up to 80,000 pounds of machine.

We asked past students what their tips for the second week of CDL training were. Keep reading to find out how to calm those nerves and how to make the most out of your second week at truck driving school.

Just Relax

“Relax, breathe, and study, but most importantly, just relax. It’s not that big of a deal.” –Matt Miller

“Keep calm and don’t over think it and breathe. Take the time to make sure you’re ready.” –Ridge Adkins

“Take a deep breath and remember where you are and that you are starting a great career.” –Jackie Morrison

A key component in passing the second week of trucking school (and first time driving a semi truck) is keeping your composure. Relax — the instructors will help you through the stressful first-time drive. Do your best to stay calm, trust your road/range teachers, and relax.

Listen to Your Instructors

“Listen to your instructors, pay attention to what you’re doing, stay calm, and have fun.” –Jacob Leverett

“Just listen to the instructors and drive the truck. Everything will happen when you take in and listen to what you are being told.” –Craig Shelton

The instructors at truck driving school know a thing or two about driving an 80,000-pound vehicle. Though it can be scary to get behind the wheel of such a large vehicle at first, students at C1 Truck Driver Training are in good hands. Rest assured that the instructors know all the ins and outs about operating a semi truck. Under their guidance, students can learn to drive a 53′ vehicle in just a couple weeks.

General Tips

“Don’t let aggressive drivers get to you. I listen to my iPod and enjoy the ride. Week 2 I was nervous the first time driving a truck but instructors were laid back and fun!” –Susann Merritt

“You will be nervous every day from this day forward. Things change every second. Learn your mirrors and remember a good pre-trip will reduce some stress knowing that everything is safe. If it’s not get it fixed. Remember, be safe and keep the rubber on the road.” –Wesley Cooke

“Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right away. Don’t judge your progress by the progress someone else is making. Listen to the instructor even when you’re not behind the wheel, and have fun.” –Gerald Johnson

Driving a truck for the very first time is stressful — I think anyone would agree with that statement. But with these tips and the help of the instructors at C1 Truck Driver Training, it doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking! Instructors have many years of combined tractor-trailer experience and teach and create successful truck drivers every day.


4 Survival Tips for the First Week of Trucking School

trucking school classroomWe’ve heard from C1 Directors about what the first week of class is like, but what about the experience from students’ perspective? The first week of class is crucial to eventually getting a Class A CDL, so it’s important to really utilize the time spent with the classroom instructor and your peers. Here are 4 survival tips to help you get through the first week of trucking school.

1. Pay Attention in Class – Remember You’re Here To Learn

“Pay attention in class, listen carefully and study what they tell you. It’s a short time and a lot of information to take in but it is possible if you are serious.” –Shesha Ragan

“Listen and pay attention to the instructors, they will get you through the whole course!” –Bryan Heath

One of the biggest keys to success during truck driver training is paying attention to what instructors are teaching. Trucking school instructors have been through all of this before, both as a student and a professional driver, so you can trust that they know what they’re talking about.

2. Practice Good Study Habits Outside of Class

“Take your studying seriously. Use the information on the internet to your advantage…even YouTube. Learn your pre-trip and 4-point brake check. You will not be able to practice the range if you don’t pass your pre-trip.” –Kia

“Take and retake all practice tests. If the questions aren’t exactly the same, they’re darn close. Make note of the ones you miss, and you won’t miss them next time. Take and retake all tests until you’re getting them right.” –Jesse Gooden

“Study, study, and take every endorsement sub test. The general knowledge is long, but easy. The Hazmat section has a few tricky questions, so read the questions thoroughly!” –William Wolf

It’s important to recognize that you’ll have to put some time into studying outside of class time in order to make the most of your time at school. Remember, school is only about three weeks long, so it’s important to learn and retain as much information as possible. Students are at school to learn, and as such, should utilize the extra time available to prepare for the CDL permit test and pre-trip inspection.

3. Partner Up!

“Listen and pay attention. Don’t let anything or anybody disturb you from learning your CDL booklet and partner up on your pre-trip inspection.” –Dee Muldrow

A good way to study for the permit and pre-trip inspection tests is by partnering or grouping up with other students in the class. This makes it easy to review material and help each other out. Quizzing each other is a great way to practice and learn the information you’ll need to know to get your Class A CDL.

4. Calm Down & Think Things Through When Taking the CDL Permit Test

“If all else fails, skip the question if you are not sure that you know the answer. Remember that when you get the percentage of questions right your test is done and you may not have to answer the question you didn’t know.” –Ray Teigen

“Don’t overthink the question, usually the first answer that you pick is the right one.” –Val Barrera

Taking the CDL permit test can be a bit of a nerve-wracking experience. There’s so much riding on it — advancing to the next part of training, being able to actually get into a truck, and getting your actual license. Many people get flustered and start second guessing themselves when taking the permit test. But if you do the above 3 things — listen to instructors, study the material, and partner up — your chances of passing the CDL permit test are high.

What are your tips and recommendations on passing that first week of trucking school? Share with us in the comments below.


The First Big Test — Getting the Class A CDL Permit

CDL Permit TestBeginning a new career can be nerve-wracking, and sometimes it’s difficult to know what to expect when you get into a classroom for the first time in a decade or more.

Today, I’m going to give you some insight on the first big hurdle students will encounter at CDL training — passing the written tests and getting a class A CDL permit.

Preparing for the Classroom

The advice I have for students who have not had to study in a long time is to think about what method worked for them in the past. Some people have to write down what they are trying to memorize, some people use flash cards, others like to read the same thing over and over and over until they see it in their mind’s eye. The most important thing is to be “mentally” prepared to study. No method will be fully effective if you have distractions affecting your concentration.

Preparing yourself to be mentally ready starts long before you arrive here! Some of the distractions that will hinder your progress can be situations at home with family, finances, your rent, etc. Trying to resolve these distractions while you are at C1 will be very difficult since you will not have much time in your day to focus on these issues. Planning ahead will be a great first move.

The Importance of Studying on Your Own Time

When I go into the classroom on Monday mornings to welcome the class to the school, I make it a point to stress the importance of studying while at the hotel. Simply put, if you do not study while at the hotel, without question you will struggle trying to pass some of the BMV test(s). You must get a passing score on the required test(s) in the classroom. Additionally, you must pass the BMV test(s) in order to get your class A CDL permit to drive the trucks. If you do not get a passing grade on your classroom test, you will be required to return to the classroom the next week to sit through the lesson again and retake the test. This takes away from the time you could be in the truck. Additionally, if you fail to get your permit before the Monday of your second week, you will have to make trips to the BMV until you pass the test, again negatively impacting your time behind the wheel of the truck. Not a good situation for any student to be in.

The Best Way to Study

My advice for studying effectively is being proactive. As soon as you know you are coming to this school, you should access the Indiana BMV website, access the available drivers manuals, download them (print them if necessary) and begin studying them before you arrive here. Arriving with even a little advantage you’ve gained from reading this information will be a great first move. A way to test your knowledge and see if you’re retaining the information is to use the eGears course available to the student. I think this is a good measuring tool, but the majority of studying should be done with the BMV manual. Often the environment you are in at home works to your advantage. Arriving in a new town and meeting a group of new people can be distracting and often can affect what you might think are your priorities in your new environment. Getting this head start will certainly be an advantage!

Permit Test Study Tips

Advance preparation is very important in preparing to go through our school. Make sure you bring all the necessary documents you are told to bring, make sure to take care of all your personal issues before you leave home and make sure you come prepared for a fast-paced three weeks. The challenges will be great and the time will go by quickly. If you are prepared to do your part, we as a staff will guide you along to a successful and rewarding accomplishment…your CDL and new career! You will quickly build new friendships with your classmates and are encouraged to build study groups and help each other get through the course. Knowing you are all here for the same reason and facing the same challenges will be a way to build friendships! The support you will get from the staff and from the other students will help build confidence. Believing you can do it is huge in your success!


Why the 1st Day of C1 Trucking School is the Most Important

It’s very normal to be nervous for the first day of CDL training. In fact, it would probably be more unusual if you weren’t! It’s a new, nerve-wracking experience and many students haven’t been in a classroom for many years when they take the leap to get a CDL license. So, what exactly should incoming students expect for that first day of C1 trucking school?

I’ve written in the past about the importance of forming trucking school friendships during CDL training. Making friends at school is a great way to learn and progress through training. You’ll meet a LOT of new faces the first day of truck driver training, so it’s important to come prepared and ready to meet/create study partners and groups. Many of our past students still keep in touch with friends they made during trucking school, and who knows, you could meet the person you’d like to team drive with at school.

Just to clear up one misconception, no students aren’t thrown into a huge truck on the very first day of truck driver training! It’s a guided process. In fact, the first day starts bright and early with completing necessary paperwork. After this is completed, students will begin classroom training, which focuses on all the ins and outs of becoming a professional truck driver, including trip planning, map reading, logging, and of course general knowledge-type information you’ll need to know to pass your CDL permit test. After the first few days of truck driving school, students can expect to have all the necessary information needed in order to pass your CDL class A permit test.

Students will want to make sure they get as much out of that first day as possible. My advice for taking advantage of your first day at training is to listen, stay focused at the task at hand (getting your CDL!) and never be afraid to ask questions about something that may not make sense right away. The instructors are here to teach you how to drive an 80,000 pound truck. Ask questions! If additional help is needed, instructors are always willing to stay late to help a struggling student, so do not be scared to ask. This is your career — it’s up to you to take charge and ensure that all of your questions are answered. The first day will set the stage so to speak for your progress throughout the rest of school, so it’s important to start off on the right foot.


Preparing for the 1st Day of C1 Truck Driver Training – Rich’s Tips

The first day of CDL training can be a nerve wracking experience. A common question is usually, “what the heck should I expect?!” This is a great question. Most students haven’t been in the classroom for years or even decades, so it can be a bit stressful to know what to expect. I’m going to discuss just that today and detail what the first day of class at C1 Ft. Wayne is really like.

It’s normal to feel nervous on your first day of training, but the staff here at C1 Ft. Wayne does an awesome job of helping prioritize the many requirements you will have to meet while you’re here at C1 Truck Driver Training.

What’s the First Day of Training Like?

On your first day of training, you will meet many new people, so it’s important to arrive with an open mind! Soon after you arrive, you may meet people of all cultures from many countries who will be chasing their dream of becoming a truck driver. You will likely meet people that will share the same challenges and ultimately you may build permanent friendships with your classmates, and maybe even some of the instructors who will be helping you reach your ultimate goal — your CDL!

Much of your first day will be spent doing procedural tasks and getting familiar with the students, your school environment and the staff as well. However, we have a great deal of information to cover with you, so come prepared to get to work on the first day!

After the first day you can expect to get a little more familiar with the lessons we will be covering with you as well as how important your attendance will be while you are here at C1. The course is fast paced and it will be very important to minimize any distractions that will hamper your ability to keep up with the pace.

How to Take Advantage of the First Day

My advice for getting the most out of your first day of training here at C1 is to be prepared when you arrive! Make sure you ask many questions when talking to your Driver Solutions agent and arrive prepared. Any time spent having to send for a document you forgot to bring with you is time away from learning. With the length of the course and the volume of material we will be covering, you cannot over prepare! This is the key to having a productive and enjoyable experience at C1 Truck Driver Training.


Ask Arthur: What’s the First Day of CDL Training Like at C1 Springfield?

school books

Image credit: albertogp123, Flickr

After getting the go-ahead to attend CDL training at C1, incoming students wonder what to expect on the first day. Most students haven’t been in school for years, or even decades, so it can be a little intimidating to return to the school setting for three weeks.

Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about the first day of CDL training, including what is covered in school that first day, how to make the most of it, and what to expect.

It’s normal to feel excited and even nervous on your first day of training. You felt nervous on the first day of high school, right? Well, truck driving school is no different just because you’re grown! It’s very normal for students to feel nervous and excited the first day, especially if they’ve never driven before, but the staff here at C1 Truck Driver Training Springfield does an excellent job of settling you in.

You’ll meet a lot of new people on the first day of CDL training, so it’s important to listen to direction and be open to meeting new people. And hey, you might even meet your future co-driver/teammate at school! The instructors and staff at CDL training will tell you exactly what they expect and what you’ll be doing for the three weeks you’re at school, so make sure you pay attention and follow their direction.

You know how the first day of class in the good old days was usually composed of going over the class rules, expectations, syllabus, etc? The first day of CDL training is the same concept. Most of that first day is spent doing greetings, completing paperwork, and getting students acquainted with the program.

Following the first day of truck driver training, students can expect to hit the classroom, range, and road, and learn/refine their skills in each area before eventually testing out and earning their Class A CDL.

To get the most out of your first day at CDL training, it’s imperative that you get a good night of sleep and eat a good breakfast. Arrive at school with an open mind, and be prepared to hit the books and learn everything that’s thrown at you!

What suggestions do you have for new students beginning their first day of CDL training?


C1 Truck Driver Training Review: “A New Career!”

Title: A New Career!
Grad Date: 10/11/13

I was unemployed and looking for work when my son-in-law suggested I get my class A Commercial Driver’s License and drive over the road, I started looking into CDL training schools and made several calls looking for the right school.

From the first call to C1 in Springfield I spoke with Diana Pulse. She was very professional and informative. She sent me the information about the school and explained how everything worked and even sent me information on companies that would pay for my training up front and arrange for me to pay the company back over the first year working for them.

After that call I decided C1 was where I wanted to get my truck driver training. I started my training on September 23. My first week instructor was Dan and he made the first week much easier by explaining things and detail. He had a great sense of humor and several years of first hand experience from driving over the road himself.

The second week we were training on the yard and driving on the road. My yard instructor was Paul — prior military, prior truck driver and an awesome personality; strict on the training but he also eased the tension by telling you about past experiences and treating you like a person instead of a number on a training log. I felt like he was behind me all the way to get me the best training on the backing and parking maneuvers.

My driving instructor was Jim. He had a hardcore attention to detail and a great sense of humor. I am sure he gets tired of saying the same things to you over and over — foot on the floor, tag it up, hands on the wheel, scan your intersections, check your mirrors! This man has unreal patience and was a great instructor.

I had help in the school from other instructors like DJ, Mike, Tom, Harry, and Joe. All of them were professional and friendly and have years and years of experience. I can’t leave out Kevin, he was great helping me with paperwork and suggestions. He is prior military and has that sense of pride in his job. I really liked that.

Everyone at the school helped me to get the training I was looking for and trained me to pass my Missouri state CDL test. On Friday October 11, 2013 I took my test and passed the first time. Three weeks of training and learning and practice came down to that moment and now I have my Class A CDL and a new career. Thank you to everyone at C1 Springfield!

Robert S.

Hey Robert,

So glad to hear that you enjoyed your CDL training experience. Your story is not a unique one, but it is always great to hear that things went the way you had expected them to. The biggest reason for that is the effort and attention to detail that you put into it. While we are very appreciative of your kind words, it is ultimately your own hard work and focus on training that makes this a success. We do have a program that is structured for success with a team of professionals that work hard to assist you each step of the way, but at the end of the day YOU are the one that made this a success! Keep up the same hard work out there that you displayed here and you’ll have a long successful career!


Director, C1 Springfield

More C1 Truck Driver Training Reviews



Truck Driver Appreciation Week GPS Giveaway at C1 Campuses

Truck Driver Appreciation week is fast approaching! Every year during Truck Driver Appreciation Week, we celebrate truck drivers for all the hard work they put into the jobs we as Americans tend to take for granted. Think about it — what would happen if there were no trucks? There would be no food on our shelves, gas in our cars, or products in our stores.

During the week of September 16-21, all five of our C1 training campuses will be hosting a free lunch cookout to honor our truck drivers and celebrate Truck Driver Appreciation and Wellness week.

But this cookout will be a special one, because we’ll also be doing a giveaway for all of our C1 students!

The Giveaway

truck specific gpsMany people pursue truck driving jobs because they want to travel and see the country. For this giveaway, current students will put a sticker on a U.S. map in the place they’re most looking forward to seeing during their trucking career. Every student who does so will be entered in the giveaway. The winner will be selected randomly, and all C1 campuses will be competing against each other in this drawing.

I know you’re wondering what the winner will receive in this little giveaway…

We’ll be giving away something that benefits every truck driver — a Garmin dezl truck GPS!

Truck specific GPS devices make getting to your destinations much simpler. When deciding on a GPS, it’s crucial that you get one that is truck specific. Otherwise, it could potentially route you on roads that your truck either cannot fit on or is not legally allowed to travel on. This Garmin dezl is a high-quality GPS with many positive reviews on Amazon.

Thank you to all our truck drivers, and we look forward to seeing our C1 students for the free cookout!


Blind Spots on a Truck and 3 Dangers They Present [Infographic]

One of the very first things you learn during CDL training is where your blind spots are located. While all vehicles have blind spots, the ones on a semi truck are much larger than those on your typical 4-wheel passenger vehicle. Unfortunately, many motorists are unaware of where these spots on semis are located and as a result, engage in dangerous driving practices near big trucks. Today, I’m going to reiterate where these blind spots are and discuss some common dangerous behaviors 4-wheelers do that they might not be aware of.

View 10 tips for sharing the road with semi trucks here!

10 tips for sharing the road with trucks - infographicWhere are the blind spots on a truck?

Semi trucks have four large blind spots. They’re located in front of the truck’s engine, directly behind the trailer, along the left side of the trailer near the driver’s door, and along most of the length of the right side of the trailer, extending several lanes out.

Common Driving Mistakes Cars Make

Traveling next to the trailer. This is one many motorists are guilty of without realizing. One thing everyone needs to be conscious of is where they are in relation to the truck and if the trucker can see them. Many passenger cars will travel along next to a semi truck for extended amounts of time all the while being in the driver’s blind spot. As you can imagine, this can pose problems when the truck driver needs to change lanes. Save yourself a potential accident by being conscious of where you are — if you’re in any of the 4 truck blind spots, speed up and get away from the truck or slow down and hold back at a distance where the driver can see you.

Cutting in front of a truck. This is something truck drivers have to deal with 100s of times a day — people don’t want to get stuck behind a slow truck, so they cut right in front of the driver. Not only is this dangerous simply because you could get rear ended, but you’ll also be in the front blind spot of the truck if you cut it too close.

Turning right next to a semi. Many times when trucks are turning right, they’ll kind of straddle the lane lines prior to making the turn. This is because the back wheels on a truck follow a shorter distance than the front wheels, so the driver must “swing wide” in order to get the whole tractor-trailer around the turn without hitting anything. When a driver doesn’t get all the way over in the right lane to turn, some passenger vehicles will take this as an invitation to scoot up next to them so they can turn at the same time and get out of the way. Only, this is a bad idea. Remember how I said the rear tires follow a shorter path? This means that if a truck and a car are both turning right next to each other, the semi trailer will most likely scrape the side of the car as it turns and cuts into the right lane. Prevent this by hanging back and allowing a truck to make its right turn before you make yours. Patience!

Learn more tips for sharing the road with semi trucks and check out the infographic here! Awareness is the first step in ensuring trucks and cars can safely share the road.



Rob’s Trucking School Review: “Keeping an Open Mind”

C1 Springfield grad Robert BrashierTitle: Whoo!
Graduation date: 6/13/13

Well here is my story. I am 23 years old. I’ve been around big trucks for a very long time. I decided that I wanted to get my CDL and hit the road. I found PAM Transport and got set up with Driver Solutions. I spoke with my rep from DS for the first time on a Friday afternoon. The same weekend, I was packing my bags and drove to Missouri for C1 Springfield. I arrived Sunday and began trucking school that Monday.

The first week of class, I can’t lie, was somewhat boring due to having paperwork and a couple tests and what not. I mean who really likes to do paperwork and take tests? Mr. Perry who taught our class inside was an awesome instructor. He helped with whatever we needed promptly. He also told us every story he had about his experience with sleeting while driving. Lol (inside joke).

Once I got on the yard things were different. Each day for the 2nd & 3rd week, half the day was spent on the yard and half was out on the road. I had Mr. Joe Brown for my instructor. Now as I said before, I’ve been around 18-wheelers for the majority of my life. I could basically tell you whatever you want to know about them…… so I thought. Mr. Joe taught me more. I learned more from my instructor than I have over the years of being around big trucks almost daily. So I listened, payed attention and learned even more. I knew I would have issues with my backing maneuvers. And I was yet again wrong. Joe told me exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. And guess what? I nailed every maneuver perfect each time. I got so good at it, that we even had competitions on the yard of who could do the maneuver better. (Yes I did win a few of them, and Rich the director witnessed). When your instructor teaches you how to do something better than them, that should tell you how good of an instructor they are.

Once we got on the road, it was a little different. My instructor knew I had a lot of experience with trucks. So he wanted to see what I could do. And surprisingly again, he taught me more than what I already knew, and showed me how to improve what I did know. These guys don’t just teach you how to drive, and how to back up. They teach you so much more than what they are required. One of the most important things is how to fix your mistakes. Anyone can back up a truck. But the hardest part is knowing how to correct a mistake when you make one. If you can back a truck up and be crooked and jackknifed beyond belief, and you can figure out how to fix it, then hats off to you because you are doing well and will make it farther than you think.

Now, to the rest of the staff. Ms. Diana, and Ms. Cindy in the office. Ms. Diana is amazing. She takes care of your paperwork and whatnot. Makes sure that when you leave there, you are 100% ready to go to your carrier and not have to sit behind a desk again doing more paperwork. She fixes everything. Not sure how she does it, but do not underestimate her lol. Ms. Cindy, oh dear lord. This lady, I PROMISE, can put a smile on your face every time she comes in the room. Very outgoing, fun filled, smiley, loveable, funny character. She is a trip. And she brings Popsicles and ice cream out on the yard on those hot sunny days. Major plus.

And finally the director of the school, Rich. Very awesome guy to meet. He is very straight forward. He and his instructors will do what it takes to make sure you leave there with a CDL. The school is run perfectly. Very efficient and a great environment to be in. It is not by any means a boring school. Rich is very blessed to have the crew of instructors and office staff that he has. I would like to thank you, Mr. Rich and your entire staff for everything. Thanks to you guys and gals, I’m now a first seat driver for PAM Transport. I will continue to recommend this school to everyone I come in contact with. You guys are amazing and should definitely be rewarded for it. Thank you again. And I will be stopping by soon!

Hey Rob –

Great to hear from you, and very glad it’s going well out there!  I appreciate you taking time to talk about your experience here as it is crucial for people to hear it straight from the students, instead of from us.  You did know a lot about trucks when you got here, but I’m glad that you kept an open mind while you were here.  That’s a huge key to success here in school;  keep an open mind to what your instructor is teaching you.  When we have experience with something, we have an overwhelming urge to just go with what we know.  We need to keep that open mind, no matter what we think we know, and absorb all available information out there.  You were able to do that very well, and it paid off greatly for you.  Thanks so much for all your kind words, but never forget that it was YOUR hard work that made this happen!

Take care of yourself Rob, and drop in on us every chance that you get!