Truck drivers are responsible for transporting finished goods and raw materials to and from manufacturing plants or retail centers. Some of them perform sales and customer service as part of their job. Truck drivers need to inspect the vehicle for maintenance and safety issues, plan routes, and perform delivery schedules. They safely serve supply chain logistic departments. They have to deliver goods and other articles to customers promptly. They work closely with a team of dispatchers to plan routes and track deliveries. Truck drivers need to possess CDL or commercial driver’s license to perform the job.
What does a truck driver do?
Truck drivers are accountable for performing various duties:
- Drive long distance to deliver goods to clients
- Loading and unloading cargo, recording cargo deliveries
- Cleaning and maintaining the vehicle
- Planning routes and meeting delivery schedules
- Logging the work and rest period, kilometers spend driving, and retain toll receipts
- Update the system for each stage of the loading and unloading process
- Comply with truck driving rules and regulations, also the company policies and procedures
- Verify delivery instructions
- Maneuver the truck into loading and unloading positions
- Report accident, fault, and violation of the concerned manager
- Plan various route using GPS
- Verify paperwork for accuracy
- Maintain personal network and update knowledge frequently
How to become a truck driver?
If you are a person who enjoys driving and doesn’t mind spending long days away from home, choosing a career as a truck driver remains interesting. Before you search for a job, you need to meet certain requirements.
Step 1: Education requirement
Technically no formal education is required to become a CDL driver. A high school diploma or GED is recommended and you may hold a certificate of completion from an accredited truck driving school. This would help you during your hiring process. With a short amount of schooling, the job offers you high start paying rates with a decent benefits package. What you require is a commercial driver’s license which is also known as CDL. In certain states, CDL will be issued on the completion of truck driving and safety competency courses. Additionally, some jobs may require additional certifications. Many companies provide a training program for the position and you need to pass the test to fill the position. While every job varies, there are some basic education requirements you may face.
Step 2: Qualify for the job
A prospective individual who is looking for a career as a CDL driver needs to meet the minimum requirement. You need to meet several basic physical and legal qualifications. In most states, the individual must be at least 21 years old and should be eligible to work within the country and within the state. You will need to have a clean driving record and remember, employers may overlook minor traffic violations. You need to have a diploma or GED before applying and complete an apt program from a truck driving school. Good schools will provide you both classroom and practical education.
Step 3: Pass the licensing exam
After completing the truck driving school, you need to appear for the state CDL exam. Each state has its exam procedures and individuals need to pass both the written test and a road skill test. If you are choosing to get a hazardous material endorsement, you need to pass a background check with the TSA. Then you need to pass the FMCSA exam which includes both written and physical components. The written portion covers federal traffic law and the physical portion includes hearing and vision tests.
Step 4: Physical requirement for truck driving
Truck driving is a physically tasking job and some physical requirements must be met. One of the main requirements is that you need to be healthy. Another requirement is individual should be ready to sit for a longer period and you should be ready to load and unload your truck. A company will hire a driver who can lift 50 lbs. Truck driving requires a lot of traveling, so you would be away from your family and friends for multiple days. Some companies hire drivers for regional deliveries where drivers remain out on the road for a week or months.
Step 5: Find job placement assistance
Some truck driving schools offer job placement and career counseling services and you may need to pay for their recruiting service. If your program doesn’t offer a job placement service, you may contact trucking companies directly and ask for openings. Apply for an entry-level position that fits your qualification. Once you are hired by a company, you need to undergo orientation that lasts for three to 5 days. The orientation program will teach you about the company and its policies. You may also need to pass a drug test and a physical exam.
After completing the orientation undergo an official training period. In most of the case, one experienced driver will be providing you training following company rules. You will work alongside your trainer for several weeks. When you finish the training, you need to pass the company’s trucking exam. The exam includes a road test and a written portion depending on the company. After passing the exam, the company will assign your truck. Most beginners start the field with a long hauling truck and you can advance to a better position after gaining several years of experience.
Skills required to become an outstanding driver
- Great navigation skill – GPS has made things easier today, a truck driver should possess skills to navigate large trucks. They must be aware of roads that can and cannot be traveled.
- Responsibility – The driver should be reliable and responsible. They must be conscious while driving to prevent accidents and mishaps.
- Self- motivated – self-motivation will help drivers to perform at their best.
- Excellent communication skills – the driver must possess excellent communication skills. There must be no confusion between them and the dispatcher and must be able to work well with customers to resolve any delivery or pick up issues.