Good truck drivers have a certain dedication to their job and appreciation of the work. If you're thinking about becoming a truck driver, it helps to know whether or not you have the skills, personality, and character to succeed in the job. Here's what you need to know.
No doubt about it, truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road by themselves. This doesn't appeal to everyone. Some people need to be around others to feel connected. If this describes you, then you may struggle in a truck driving career. Many truck drivers find time alone to be peaceful and relaxing.
Staying on schedule, arriving on time, and staying organized is an important part of driving a truck. A truck driver who can't deliver on time is unlikely to succeed at their job. Although driving schools discuss the importance of reliability, truck drivers must have an innate sense of timeliness. Truck drivers need to know how to be responsible for their load and getting to their destination on time.
Mechanical Skills and a DIY Nature
Trucks break down sometimes, and often the repairs are easy to make if you know how. Truck drivers who can't fix their rig without pulling in to a service station will find it hard to meet their deadlines and arrive at their destination on time.
Truck driving schools teach drivers how to replace a fuse or a light bulb, but drivers must still have the will and desire to fix their truck when it breaks. They must also have good mechanical instincts and an appreciation for DIY repairs. Without these skills, it will be hard to make it on the road.
Ability to Focus
Clearly, with all that time spent on the road and away from people, the mind tends to wander. It's important for a driver to have the ability to maintain focus even after hours of isolation. Without the ability to focus, drivers may have accidents, miss turns, or arrive late to their destination. The ability to focus improves performance and safety.
Sense of Adventure
Truck drivers don't just spend time on the road, sometimes they get to tour their destinations. One of the great benefits of this career is the opportunity to see the country one piece at a time. The best truck drivers often appreciate this aspect of the job, and it motivates them to continue doing their best work.
Some routes go through large urban areas that are heavily trafficked. Traffic jams, slow moving roads, and detours are a common problem on these routes. Truck drivers must have the patience to get through these difficulties without feelings of road rage. This is important for the safety of the driver and safety of other people on the road.
If you struggle to keep your cool during slow times on the road, truck driving is probably not the career for you.
Good Driving Record
A good driving record is crucial because your driving record affects your insurance rates. Employers don't want to hire drivers who might increase their overall insurance costs.
Going to a good driving school helps truck drivers develop and maintain that safe driving record. A good driving school teaches drivers the crucial importance of safe driving and also the norms of life on the road. This helps drivers to perform safely while sharing the road with others.
If you believe you have the qualities of a good truck driver, then you may have a solid career ahead of you. If you have more questions about being a truck driver or how to enroll in a truck driving program, contact Commercial Truck Driving School. We'll be happy to help you get your start.
Commercial Truck Driver Jobs: What Does Your Future Hold?
Commercial truck driving is an in-demand career with plenty of room to grow. While technological advances may mean the end of some hands-on trades or factory types of jobs, drivers will not likely be out of business anytime soon. And that means starting your career in a commercial truck driving training program can put you on the road to success — literally.
If the picture you have of a driver is someone who spends weeks (or longer) away from their family as they crisscross the country in a semi, think again. Over the road truck drivers aren't the only members of this growing field. What types of jobs can you get as a graduate from a commercial truck driving program? Take a look at the options that you'll have as a graduate with your commercial driver's license (CDL).
Over the Road Drivers
When you hear the words "truck driver," over the road drivers probably come to mind. In this type of position, you'll likely work as a heavy or tractor-trailer truck driver. This means you'll transport heavy loads over long distances. As a full-time over the road, or long-haul driver, you'll have to work long hours and may be away from your family and friends for extended periods of time.
The trade off is that many long-haul drivers are compensated well and may have a more flexible schedule than someone working in an office or desk job would have. Also, if you enjoy seeing new places, driving through scenic areas, and getting to explore everything that America has to offer, long-haul truck driving is a great way to get paid to travel.
Keep in mind, as an over the road truck driver you won't have to drive for days on end without a break. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration controls drivers' work limits and has established laws that prohibit truck drivers from working for more than 14 hours at a stretch. The 14 hours total can only include a maximum of 11 hours driving, while the rest can be spent loading/unloading or completing other job requirements as needed.
Long-haul drivers are also required to take a minimum of 34 hours off after working for 60 hours within seven days or 70 hours within eight, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Short-Distance Delivery Drivers
Some drivers don't like the idea of traveling over the road for extended periods. If you have family commitments, a social life that you don't want to interrupt, or just want to stay close to home, delivery driving may be for you.
Along with driving, you also may be responsible for loading and unloading your cargo as a delivery driver. This may include restocking products in retail stores, completing paperwork, and interacting with retail/grocery/warehouse owners and employees.
Like any other job, delivery driving has its pros and cons. Even though delivery drivers have far less time away from their loved ones, these jobs tend to pay less than long-haul jobs. The 2017 median pay for a heavy and tractor-trailer driver (such as a long-haul driver) was $42,480 per year, according to the BLS. Comparatively, delivery drivers made an average of $29,250 annually.
Long-haul and short-distance delivery driving may be two of the most common and popular career choices for commercial truck driving, but they aren't the only options. Short-distance jobs that aren't delivery related also include garbage or recyclable refuse drivers, moving truck drivers, and other driving specializations.
Heavy equipment/construction is one specialization that allows you to use your CDL without having to drive long distances. This type of job requires additional training, such as learning how to operate the equipment used in construction sites or for road maintenance.
If you enjoy working in a construction type of setting, but don't want to operate the machinery, you may want to consider a job driving or hauling the equipment needed. You'll transport machinery (such as forklifts) from site to site but won't actually operate it.
Use This Guide to Be Successful in Commercial Trucking School
You may have dreamed about being a truck driver since you were a kid, so now you may feel like you can't wait to get started on making a career out of driving commercial vehicles. Whether you look forward to driving a large passenger bus or transporting goods from one state to another, starting trucking school is the first step toward an amazing career.
As exciting as it is to work toward earning your Class A CDL, you should remember that as a commercial truck driver, you have a tremendous responsibility to protect the public's safety while you drive your truck on the roads.
For this reason, you will need to use these tips to successfully complete trucking school and pass all of the licensing requirements. You want to feel confident working behind the wheel of a vehicle that has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of more than 26,001 pounds.
Study the California Commercial Driver Handbook
In addition to enrolling in trucking school, you will need to pass a knowledge test to receive your Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP).
The state of California has issued a Commercial Driver Handbook that is available for free online. All of the information you need to pass the written test is available in this handbook. Start by setting aside time each day to study the handbook and have a friend or classmate quiz you on the information.
If you find anything in the handbook that you do not understand, then simply ask your trucking school instructor when you go to training. Although you have three attempts to pass the written test before you have to reapply, you’ll be best off if you pass on the first try.
Arrive At Your Training Ready to Learn
It is important to take trucking school just as seriously as you would any other type of educational path. In fact, you should take trucking school even more seriously because once you’re a trucker, you will sit behind the wheel of an oversized vehicle rather than comfortably lounge in the safety of a desk.
The majority of your training will be spent learning how to actually drive a large truck, so make sure to take the same precautions that you would before you get behind the wheel of any vehicle. Get enough sleep the night before your training, and do not take any medications that interfere with your ability to drive.
Focus on Receiving Hands-On Practical Training
When it comes to learning how to drive a truck, you want to get as much hands-on training as possible. There are some things that you cannot learn by reading a handbook, such as how to perform straight line backing or how to parallel park with a long trailer.
At our school, you can train as much as you want within our business hours, and we recommended you get as much training as you can before you schedule your exam. Having a lot of experience helps you demonstrate competence during your on-the-road driving test.
Observe and Learn From Your Classmates
During your training sessions, you will have the opportunity to watch and ride along with your classmates. While you may be tempted to zone out, you should recognize that observing other drivers is an important learning opportunity. By watching their mistakes, you can also learn ways to develop good driving habits.
At Commercial Trucking School, our friendly instructors and flexible training schedule makes it easy for you to realize your dream of becoming a truck driver. Contact us today and be on your way to starting a rewarding career within just a few weeks.