What kinds of skills do you need to be a truck driver? It is a very physically demanding job that can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. This is why the federal government has regulations monitoring the health and physical status of all truck drivers in the U.S. You won’t be able to be a trucker unless you can pass certain tests and prove that you are physically fit to take on the demands of the job.
As you probably know from the driving you do already, strong hand-eye coordination is essential for operating a motor vehicle. Being able to move your hands, legs, and eyes in conjunction with each other and simultaneously will help you to react to activities on the road. These skills are especially important because you will be driving such a large vehicle, where reaction time and safe driving are of the utmost importance. It is not uncommon for hand-eye coordination to wane when you are distracted or tired, two states that can pose quite a risk for truck drivers. Unfortunately, because you will be driving long hours and not always getting as much sleep as you would like, fatigue and poor focus do occur in the profession. You should take extra precautions to guarantee that even when you are tired or are having trouble concentrating, your bodily coordination is still strong.
It is absolutely a requirement of the job that you have great hearing. Specifically, federal regulations mandate that (with or without a hearing aid) you can hear a forced whisper from five feet away. Hearing is important because there will be a lot going on while you drive that you will need to be able to pay attention to – activities that you won’t always be able to see because of the size of your vehicle. You should utilize your hearing to detect where other cars are on the road and if there will be people or objects in your path. Unfortunately, short of getting a hearing aid, there is not much you can do about poor hearing. If you can’t pass federal regulations with an aid, you might want to consider another career option.
There is a whole list of medical conditions that will disqualify you from being a truck driver. Again, federal regulations mandate that you meet certain standards of physical health, because there are many ailments that could get in the way of your ability to operate a vehicle, such as epilepsy or high blood pressure. Imagine that damage you could cause if you had a seizure while operating a freight truck! Just like with hearing, there’s not a lot you can do to get around these medical conditions if you have one. If you have a condition that is not entirely correctable, you will probably not be able to get a job as a trucker.
The ability to see well goes hand-in-hand with the ability to hear well, and is actually more important. In order to become a truck driver, you will have to pass vision tests that will demonstrate whether or not you can detect the different colors of a traffic light and if you have at least a 70 degree field of vision in both of your eyes. You are also required to have at least 20/40 vision. The good news is that most vision problems are correctable with glasses, contacts, or surgery, but you will have to wear your glasses or contacts at all times on the road.