Truckin' along

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Theresa Williams is hoping driving an 18-wheeler will allow her to travel around the country and see places she's never seen. For now though, she's just learning how to use a clutch.

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Ms. Williams is taking the course through Xtra Mile driving school and Aiken Technical College while she is applying for jobs.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Ms. Williams is taking the course through Xtra Mile driving school and Aiken Technical College while she is applying for jobs.

Ms. Williams is enrolled in the Commercial Driving License Truck Driving course organized by Xtra Mile driving school in partnership with Aiken Technical College.

The four-week course is hands-on and intensive, preparing students for the CDL test.

"The students are tested on their knowledge of the truck, how to use the airbrake and trailer coupling systems as well as the rules of transporting hazmat materials," said Scott Davis, instructor for Xtra Mile truck driving school.

"They're always surprised by how much math is involved. When it comes to the weight of the truck and figuring out driving hours, since you're only allowed to drive 70 hours in an eight-day period," he said.

After the first 50 hours of classroom basics, the students spend 50 hours on pad skills, where they get hands-on experience driving a $250,000 semi-truck as well as backing up in a straight line and at 90 degrees.

"The first time I tried it, it wasn't good," Ms. Williams said. "I've had a hard time with the brake and clutch. It's fun, but I didn't know it would be so difficult."

In the coming weeks, as she gets more comfortable with her rig, Ms. Williams will spend time on public roads, both in the day and at night.

She is already applying to various trucking companies.

Mr. Davis says he's seen an increase in students in recent months.

"There's definitely more participants and it's getting tough on the trucking industry, but it's still a good place to go in these tough times," he said.

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NANF 06/15/09 - 06:21 am
The first thing you have to

The first thing you have to learn about over the road trucking is that it's nothing like you tho't it would be . It's a job and it takes 24/7. Do you think you can get around in NYC and even bigger cities than that? Find an out of the way address back in the nether-land and alleys of slum town? Trucking is not just on the Interstate honey . You will have lot lizards try to crawl up in the truck or someone spray either in the vent while your sleeping. then when they know your knocked out, they break in the truck. Guess what happens next. Some fuel stops have nasty showers. Some companies don't get your pay in your card in time and your hungry. Best think twice because the list goes on and on.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 06/15/09 - 06:38 am
In two more weeks she'll be

In two more weeks she'll be text messaging and eating an order of chili cheese fries as she wheels around in traffic.

harrisjr 06/15/09 - 07:30 am
Best of luck to you Ms

Best of luck to you Ms Williams and if eating chili cheese fries floats your boat-then chili cheese fries it is! You go girl!!!!!

curly123053 06/15/09 - 08:24 am
Good luck can

Good luck can do anything you set your mind to.

marien 06/15/09 - 12:03 pm
If she can do this I wish a

If she can do this I wish a lot of these other good for nothing thieves would get out and look for a job. Good Luck Theresa

jewel 06/15/09 - 04:44 pm
Always something negative to

Always something negative to say coldheartedboilednut

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