If you are wondering what types of classes you will take when you are at trucking school, read below to see some examples. Please keep in mind that while this list is meant to give you an idea of the types of topics you will cover, it is by no means an exact replication of the courses you will take as a part of whatever program in which you are enrolled.
Because driving tractor trailers is so much more complex than driving a typical vehicle, there are often entire classes devoted to one specific topic, such as shifting. In a class of this type you will learn different shifting patterns and procedures so that you can safely and efficiently carry out shifting-related maneuvers. You’ll start by learning how to shift up and down using the gears of a variety of conventional transmissions, and then move on to more complicated processes, such as double clutch and time shifts. The goal is that your entire drive remains both fuel efficient and smooth. You’ll also study how to select the correct gear for different highway conditions and speeds. Instruction will also include practice identifying and assessing the instruments and controls involved in shifting.
Just like shifting, backing can be a complicated maneuver when done in a large truck, as it requires more adept maneuvering and skilled driving. In fact, it is one of the most difficult procedures you can do in a tractor trailer, and so you will spend a great deal of time studying how to appropriately and safely reversing in a large vehicle. You’ll learn the basic principles behind steering as well as the foundations of safe backing. You’ll be trained in how to do different types of backing, such as straight and alley dock backing. This is also a class in which you will be taught certain parking maneuvers, including the very difficult parallel park.
Coupling and Uncoupling
In a class of this type you will learn the standard procedures for how to couple and uncouple tractor trailer combination units. By the end of the class you should know how to carry out this process step-by-step while maintaining a safe environment. Some of the steps involved in this practice are: selecting a location, aligning the vehicle, securing the trailer portion against unwanted movement, disconnecting and connecting electrical and air lines, setting the controls involved in brakes, backing the trailer, and operating the landing gear. You will also study special procedures and other factors to take into consideration during this process, as well as the dangers of carrying out such functions improperly or hastily. Lastly, you will learn how to perform mechanical checks and how to prevent accidents.
You might not think that a truck driver would need to take an entire class devoted to communication, but it is important that, in order to be a professional, you follow specific practices when communicating with others on the road. For example, you might learn about the cues and codes other drivers will give you when trying to relay their intentions or activities. You will study how to communicate your intent, such as the use of turn signals and how to properly slow a vehicle down, as well as methods to make your presence known to others. You might specifically practice how to read and interpret subtle signs given by other drivers, as well.