Did you know that there are about 3.5 million employed truck drivers in the U.S. as of 2021? Have you ever had the idea of driving a truck?
It’s a satisfying career where you get to be independent, travel through some of the beautiful scenery in the country, and be your own boss. Except that’s not all! Trucking companies are also seeking experienced and new drivers to join their teams.
If you’re ready for an exciting and lucrative new career, keep reading to learn about what it takes to become a successful truck driver.
Understand Truck Driver Responsibilities
Truck drivers are a vital part of our nation’s transportation system and the economy as a whole. Before one can become a truck driver, it is important to understand the role that a truck driver has. They are responsible for hauling freight to its destination safely and on time.
Aside from this, truck drivers must be up to date on their routes. They must know basic navigation and must adhere to any and all safety regulations. They must also take maintenance measures to ensure the safety of their vehicle and cargo.
Being a successful truck driver is far more than just driving a large vehicle. It requires time to understand the job and the responsibilities that come along with it. Taking responsibility and accountability will ensure success in this profession.
Master the Regulations and Laws of the Road
Truck drivers must master the regulations and laws of the road. These were designed to keep truck drivers and other motor vehicle operators safe on the road.
All truck drivers should become familiar with the applicable motor vehicle codes. They should also follow the laws in their jurisdiction. This includes the speed limits, hours of service, and vehicle inspection rules.
As a truck driver, it is also important to understand the strict safety guidelines prescribed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These are designed to prevent injury and death caused by truck crashes. With the proper knowledge of the regulations and laws of the road, a truck driver can remain compliant while on the job.
Obtain Professional Training and Certification
Professional training offers the education and skills that are necessary for any driver. This training prepares an individual with knowledge of truck driving safety and other related information.
Through this training, individuals will also gain invaluable hands-on experience. This will help them gain confidence and boost their job prospects.
One of the most important training to consider is entry-level driver training (ELDT). This type of training can provide the knowledge and skills when preparing for a career in truck driving.
Through their program, participants can learn hands-on skills from experienced drivers. This helps them gain the necessary qualifications to obtain their commercial licenses.
The program also includes certified exams. This is to ensure that individuals have the ability to pass state and federal driving tests. Check out this article to learn more about ELDT.
Certification is also a must-have for any truck driver. It attests to their competency and experience level. Drivers must also renew their certification as required by law to maintain their ability to operate motor vehicles.
Acquire the Appropriate Licensing Requirements
All new truck drivers must obtain a CDL (Commercial driver’s License). To obtain this license, you must have a valid driver’s license and pass certain examinations. These exams test the driver’s knowledge of traffic laws, safe driving practices, and the operation of the truck and trailer.
Additionally, depending on the type of load or distance you will be transporting, you may need to obtain endorsements on your CDL. For example, if you only plan to drive a vehicle within your state, you may not need additional endorsements.
After obtaining the required licensing and endorsements, potential truck drivers must also hold a valid medical certificate. This should state that they are healthy enough to safely operate a commercial vehicle of any size. Adhering to the necessary licensing requirements enables drivers to safely operate vehicles while on the road.
Learn the Basic Mechanics of the Truck
It is important for aspiring truck drivers to learn the basic mechanics of the truck they intend to drive. Having knowledge of the different systems and system components will make troubleshooting and maintenance operations much easier.
Common engine systems such as fuel, ignition, and cooling should all be studied and understood. Knowing how to use the truck’s controls and buttons will also be important. This includes knowing how to use the speedometer, tachometer, and gauges that provide information about the truck’s maintenance and performance.
Learning how to check and maintain tire pressure is a valuable skill for any truck driver. Knowing how to do a pre-trip inspection is essential to becoming a successful truck driver.
Being able to use basic tools such as jacks, wrenches, and ratchets will be very helpful. Developing these skills will make operating a truck easier, safer, and more efficient.
Know Defensive Truck Driving Safety Practices
Defensive driving techniques can be incredibly valuable and important for drivers. The main purpose is to anticipate dangerous situations and react appropriately to avoid them. Techniques such as maintaining a safe following distance and reducing speed, when visibility is impaired, can make all the difference.
Try to keep a few car lengths between trucks, as it will give you time to react to any impromptu scenarios. Avoiding distractions such as cell phones, as a split second of distraction can lead to devastating consequences.
Finally, be vigilant and ready to make snap decisions. Being aware of defensive driving techniques and using them to your advantage can help you become a successful truck driver.
Understanding How to Become a Successful Truck Driver
As a truck driver, you need to be willing to take initiative and really give it your all. With the right tools and resources, anyone can become a successful truck driver.
With the industry continuing to stabilize, now is an excellent time to pursue a career as a truck driver. Visit a local truck-driving school today to learn more and start the process.
Keep exploring our site for more advice that can put you on the fast track to success.