It is not uncommon for people, when they are first thinking about enrolling in a particular educational program, to wonder about what kinds of classes they will take once school starts. It may help you make up your mind about whether or not truck driving school is right for you to have an idea ahead of time about what topics you will discuss in your studies and what you will be expected to learn.
In a class with a name like this, you will learn about all the controls and other instruments found inside a truck or similar commercial vehicle. You will learn how to identify and describe all the primary and secondary controls found inside truck, and learn how to use the ones used for starting the engine, accelerating, shifting, parking, and braking. You will also have to learn how to detect the acceptable range of operation for different vehicle systems, such as the oil, coolant, and electrical ones. The goal of the class is to give you a basic understanding of all the essential controls, including their location and function.
Because the design of a tractor trailer is different than a regular car, there is typically a class devoted to teaching you about the vehicle’s key parts and systems. This includes learning about the construction of the suspension systems, engine, fuel system, axles, lubrication system, cooling system, air intake and exhaust system, coupling system, steering system, brake system, drive train, wheels and tires, and the electrical system. By the end of the class you should have a basic understanding of what all these different design elements are and how they work.
It is essential that, as a truck driver, you thoroughly inspect your vehicle before embarking on any trip. That is why there is sometimes an entire class devoted entirely to teaching you how to properly conduct a tractor trailer inspection. The class will start by teaching you the importance of being appropriate and systematic in your inspection, and then will in the most efficient and accurate manner of carrying out such procedures. This includes teaching you how to identify damaged, missing, or loose parts; to recognize and report any defects with a particular system; and procedures for performing checks after the trip is over. Your studies will also include discussions on how unsafe and costly neglecting to perform inspections can be, the importance of having any issues reported promptly, and federal regulations governing the inspection process.
A class like this is an introduction on how to safely and correctly operate your truck. It is often required that you take this class early on in your curriculum, as it provides a foundation that you will build upon with later classes. The skills you learn in this class will crop up in later courses as well, so you will get a lot of practice with these basic aspects of truck driving. Instruction will cover how to start, warm up, and shut down the vehicle’s engine; how to accelerate and decelerate the vehicle; how to stop; how to properly back up in a straight line; and how to safely and efficiently turn a tractor trailer.