When you ask any professional truck driver if they were ready for life on the road after finishing their driver's school, the answer is almost invariably a big, fat "No."
To be fair, no one can teach you how to drive a truck in a three-to six-week training course since truck drivers do so much more than drive those wheels. Even the most experienced driver is continually confronted with new situations and learns new things.
Truck drivers gain the majority of their skills on the job. That first year as a truck driver is difficult because you quickly realize how much more there is to being a truck driver than just driving. A career in trucking may be safe, enjoyable, and even lucrative with a positive attitude, additional training, and plain old hard work.
We're going to look at five things you probably didn't learn in truck driving school, and we're going to show you what you can do to get that extra knowledge.
1. Proper Load Securement
It is crucial to secure the load. Unfortunately, though, even experienced drivers who should know better frequently neglect load securement.
Every year, improperly secured loads cause hundreds of catastrophic accidents, but some truck driver training programs gloss over or ignore this critical skill entirely.
It should come as no surprise that incorrect load securement can result in things falling off the back of a truck. They may collide with the hood or windshield of the car behind them, crushing the passengers. Loose things that fall off the back of a truck can cause cars behind it to swerve, which can cause a crash.
2. How to Handle Your Equipment
CDL programs typically concentrate on the fundamentals of truck driving, such as shifting, turning, and backing up. However, short training in driving programs is just not enough to have a thorough understanding of your truck. You'll need to learn how to chain your tires in icy conditions, shift a conventional transmission, slide the fifth wheel for even weight distribution, and many other aspects of proper equipment handling.
Unfortunately, many CDL schools are failing to educate future truckers on how to fulfill these critical responsibilities.
Surprisingly, many drivers, even those with years of experience, are still unable to scale a truck or slide the fifth wheel.
3. The Risks of Driving a Truck
Most CDL school teachers will not teach you how dangerous the truck driving job you're learning to do is. On a regular basis, you're driving and controlling an 80,000-pound truck. The machine itself can be dangerous.
Keep in mind that your truck is transporting costly and occasionally contentious items. Truckers may be targeted by cargo theft gangs or demonstrators. It could be something as simple as a dangerous parking position.
Other things that should be considered are:
- Loading dock accidents
- Falling on (or off) a flatbed's deck
- Injuries caused by equipment handling
4. You Won't Realize You're Unprepared for the Road Until You're on It
You may not realize how much you don't know until you can't get the trailer into a narrow loading dock, have an accident, are battling rusted chains in a blizzard, or find yourself in situations where you don't know what to do.
This is one of the most common issues we hear regarding truck driving schools and their lack of ability to present the bigger picture to future truck drivers.
5. You Won’t Learn to Stand Up for Yourself
Getting your CDL license costs thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours for most new truck drivers. In most truck driver training programs, you won't hear that new drivers should prioritize speaking up for themselves and protecting their CDL. They'll also never warn you that the driver managers will:
- Urge you to drive even if you're unwell or tired
- Ask you to take on a load that requires extra attention even if you lack the necessary skills or experience
- Try persuading you to drive during bad weather conditions, even if you don't feel safe.
The majority of truck driving schools will only educate you to pass the required tests and obtain their CDLs.
After all, what can you expect from a three-to-four-week program? Of course, there are ways you can learn the things they don’t teach you.
What to Do?
Choose the Right Trucking Company
One of the most crucial things you'll need to accomplish in your truck driving career is to find the best trucking company to work with. It's also likely to be one of the most difficult decisions you'll make in your professional trucking career.
You'll need a trucking company with experience and dedication to achieving your goals. Road Legends is committed to learning about the specific requirements of our industry so that we can help you achieve your goals.
Choosing the right carrier to work with is one of the most important aspects of trucking success. This is true for both company drivers and owner-operators. If you do your homework, you'll have enough information to make an informed decision.
Find Yourself a Mentor
Even the most successful drivers began their careers as newbies. Most would tell you that having a mentor or two is the best way to learn the ins and outs of the industry.
If you're not sure where to look, think about:
- Truck stops
- Docks for loading and unloading
However, be aware that the sector is rife with untrained "super truckers" who are loud and have nasty attitudes. They should be avoided like the plague.
Feel free to get in touch with us if you can't find the answers you're looking for and would like some specific information about your trucking career or training concerns.
To Sum Up
There are many things that CDL training does not cover. What tools should you have at hand? When should a fuel filter be replaced? What is the procedure for changing a fuel filter? Why is the vehicle refusing to start? When the coolant level falls below the line, what happens? How do you prime the engine if you run out of gas? How can you know if your tires are properly inflated? What is the procedure for changing a belt? How do you tell the wrecker what size of rim or tire you need?
There are many more questions that the schools should provide answers to. Don’t be shy and ask away.
If you don’t get your answers at school, find a reliable company to work with that will give you the support you need, especially in those early days.
Road Legends Team
Post created: July 21 ,2022
Post updated: August 04 ,2022