So, You Want to be a Truck Driver

This article focuses on driving tractor trailer trucks. Before deciding how to become a truck driver, you have a few other decisions to consider. First, where do you live and is that where you will reside when you do become a truck driver. Trucking occupations are open to both women and men in most jurisdictions but has historically been a male dominated field. This article will be geared to driving occupations in North America however many of the same considerations and tips apply to the UK and Western Europe. Currently there exists a shortage of qualified drivers in the United States, Canada and the UK. That bodes well for anyone who wants to attain a stable, well-paying career in trucking.

So Many Decisions

Other decisions for your consideration are how much trip distance do you want to cover, such as local, regional, and long haul. Local and regional are likely to get you home after every shift. Long haul usually runs you from several days to a week or longer away. Next you must consider whether you want to haul truckload (TL) only or less than truckload (LTL). Truckload means you have one pickup that fills the trailer, while less than truckload consists of multiple pickups and multiple deliveries in a single trip which often takes a week to complete.

Give a Thought to Trailer Types

Next you must give some thought to whether you want to pull a dry van, refrigerated van, or flatbed trailer. Each of these trailers comes with its own degree of required physical abilities. Dry van is easy to haul if you carry full truckload freight, with pretty easy load securement. The refrigerated trailer, also known as a reefer, may require multiple pickups and deliveries and a knowledge of temperature settings and monitoring of both the refrigeration unit and documentation. A flatbed trailer requires more physical abilities and work but usually comes with increased compensation.

And when you are thinking of where you want to locate, will you run in your own country or run cross border. That’s an important consideration because if you want to run only in your home country you need to deal with one set of regulations, where if you run cross border, you are subject to each country’s regulations which usually are quite different, plus carrying extra documents for crossing each way. Still, such an arrangement can be lucrative.

 

The Nitty Gritty

If after reading the above, you decide to go ahead with becoming a driver there are steps you need to take to go forward. First, you will need to obtain special training and education from a  HGV driver training school in order to acquire your Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). This will include classroom and actual truck driving with instruction on how to turn corners, shifting gears, using air brakes, backing up a tractor trailer, and merging and exiting on a freeway, and proper use of mirrors. An additional 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years is required to stay qualified. So, don’t take advice for driving from your uncle Bubba. He may be a veteran trucker, but get trained in a school. It will provide up to date training and information. Remember, you get what you pay for.

Once you finish your training you will know better what type of truck driving you are interested in and will be up to date on regulations you need to adhere to depending on where you want to run. You will be a full-on professional driver and you will possess the skills to act as one. 

We wish you great success in your new career on the motorways. And as always, motor safely! Go out and show your stuff on the road.

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