Have you ever wondered what your job would be like if you went to trucking school? If you enjoy driving, work well by yourself or with small groups, and can focus on one activity for long periods at a time, truck driving might be for you.
Your Job Responsibilities
Your main job, as a truck driver, will be to transport goods to different locations within the country. More than likely you’ll be working as a long-haul driver and will drive trucks that weigh more than 26,000 lbs. Working “long haul” means that you will stay on mostly large highways and interstates and that one trip may take you across several states. It will be a requirement of the job that you can drive long distances without losing focus or concentration. If any incidents occur during your trip, you will be required to report them to a dispatcher. You will have to follow all traffic laws, and may have to be extra careful when driving because you will be maneuvering a large vehicle that has a wider turn radius than cars and has a larger blind spot. You’ll also be responsible for inspecting the truck both before and after you make the trip and reporting any defects that you uncover so that they can be corrected before you begin or take your next trip. It will be especially imperative that you report any serious mechanical problems you find and don’t try to drive if there is a problem that could cause a major malfunction or collision. As you inspect your vehicle you should also clean it so that the truck stays in great shape despite frequent and repeated use. You might also be asked to keep a log of your activities, which might be used later to try to make hauling more efficient or as a reference for your performance.
Things to Remember
A certain portion of the responsibility for delivering the goods is squarely in your hands. Someone at the company you work for will tell you a delivery time and location, but you are responsible for planning a route and making sure your cargo arrives at its destination on time. You might choose to use a GPS tracker, or, after working as a trucker for a while and gaining experience with many different routes, you might make driving plans solely based on what you have learned on the road. You might be asked to make trips that take you to Mexico and Canada, so you should have a passport and be able to travel internationally legally. If you drive to Mexico regularly, it would probably help you to pick up some Spanish. You might also be asked to work as part of a team of two, where one driver sleeps while the other one drives to reduce downtime, so you should be able to get along well with others and coordinate with them. If you are asked to transport hazardous materials, you should take special precautions, use any required safety equipment, and follow any specific rules you have been given.
If you work as a truck driver, you will most likely work in general freight trucking, with a smaller percentage of people working in specialized freight trucking. Some drivers also work for merchant wholesalers. Driving a truck means spending days or weeks at a time away from home, and can be physically taxing, as you will have to drive for long hours without sleep. Luckily, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration governs truckers’ work hours, and focus on making sure drivers don’t drive for too long at one time and receive adequate breaks in between driving sessions.