Owner-operator Carolyn Carroll has had countless trainees come through her truck during her five years as a driver trainer, and she’s done her best to prepare each of them for the road.
Carroll, who is leased to Swift, goes so far as to put together comprehensive lesson plans for each of her students. She created a training binder complete with everything she thinks her students may need to know, from the rules of the road to the unwritten rules of truck stop etiquette. She gives each of her students a copy of her training binder to take with them as a resource when they leave her truck.
“I put it together because I found that the students coming out of orientation were missing all these tiny little details,” Carroll, from Clearlake, California, said.
Putting together the binder was a slow process. She added to it a little bit at a time. It covers scales, routing, taxes, and more. She enjoys being a driver trainer and having the opportunity to prepare her students for their careers.
“I see students who just got off a mentor’s truck and they don’t know the basics and I just get upset. I have a whole binder and I go through it. I have a lesson plan and I make sure I cover everything I can. I really work with them on the backing,” Carroll said. “I just don’t take them for granted. A lot of times mentors, some of them just do it for the extra money. I’m not so much into that as I am making sure the student is succeeding.”
Even if she only goes over something one time with her students, they have their binder to reference if it ever comes up again.
“I tell the students we may only touch on something one time but if later down the road you go wait a minute, I remember Carolyn saying something about that … then we’re okay. You’ll find it in the binder,” Carroll said.
Carroll started driving seven years ago and currently pulls a dry van with a 2015 Freightliner Cascadia. Her grandfather and father were truckers and her brother drives as well, and she decided to try it for herself.
“I thought well, you know what, let me give it a shot. It turns out my mother must be a gypsy because I really love it,” Carroll said.