Life on the open road is something that many people aspire to. Waking up in a new city every day, driving through the quiet roads at night. To some people, it sounds like a dream job. If you’re one of these people, then perhaps you could take up a career in trucking. It’s a lucrative career, with plenty of stability and job opportunity. You’ll take responsibility for an enormous vehicle, packed full of expensive goods. It’s up to you to get it from A to B in a professional and efficient manner.
The job seems simple from the outside, but it’s a highly technical career. Truck drivers are trained in safety and extensive vehicle maintenance. After all, they’re in charge of a lot of expensive equipment. Of course, there are some downsides to driving a truck. These are mostly personal implications such as being away from the family for long periods. It’s usually balanced out by a decent paycheck at the end of the month. Think you’ve got what it takes to be a commercial driver for a living? Let’s dive into the finer details.
Patience Patience Patience
The life of a truck driver is often spent waiting, queuing, and stuck in traffic. It takes a calm persona and a lot of patience to get through a day like this. You’ll spend hours waiting for you load at the depot. There are traffic jams to contend with almost every day, and there is yet more waiting at the other end of the line. Getting angry, frustrated, and enraged at this lifestyle certainly doesn’t help, and it doesn’t move traffic! The best truck drivers are patient, and take it in their stride.
Time away from the family
Truck drivers will often hit the road for weeks, or even months at a time. One truck driver joked that some companies now advertise that they get their truckers home every month. If once a month is the best you can hope for, your family needs to be comfortable with long periods apart. It’s not an easy routine to shape your family around, but truckers quickly get used to it. If you think it might put a strain on your family, it might not be for you.
You need razor-sharp attention to detail and safety
Truck drivers are responsible for thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Both the truck itself its contents are highly valuable. It goes without saying that attention to detail is key. With long time spent on the road, it’s up to the driver to inspect and check the vehicle every day. They’ll wake up in the morning, and check the truck for signs of trouble. They’ll know how to spot the early warning signs that could lead to a breakdown. Most importantly of all, they’ll take an active approach in the day-to-day maintenance of the truck. That includes looking out for the engine parts and the exterior.
Additionally, trucking requires drivers to keep their finances in order. Tracking down invoices and ensuring timely payment by clients is key to keeping their business going (which is why some opt to use a factoring company for truckers).
CDL training and exams
One thing we haven’t explained yet is how to qualify as a truck driver. Unfortunately, your average driving license doesn’t qualify you to drive a ten-ton monster! You’ll need a truck driving license, which is typically referred to as the CDL or commercial driving license. It’s composed of two parts, the written exam and the practical exam. Much like a traditional driving test, you can take plenty of training and practice tests. You can even practice your commercial driving test from this site.
Clean driving record
You’re looking to find a reliable and professional truck company to work for. They’ll pay the best rates, give you the best holiday options, and the nicest vans! But, if you want to work for the best companies, you need a fully clean driving license. Remember, trucking companies are insured up to the eyeballs. But, they’re charged a premium if their drivers have black marks against their name.
Good physical fitness
Truck driving isn’t necessarily something you’d associate with peak physical fitness and stamina! But, every driver we spoke to told us it’s a useful skill to have. Being a trucker isn’t just about driving. There is a lot of heavy loading, lifting, and shifting. You’ll also need to maintain a ten-ton vehicle with heavy movable parts. Coupling trailers is hard work, and – quite frankly – so is moving around the equipment.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, and you’re still interested, congratulations! For the right people, truck driving is a fantastic career opportunity.
Image target: Flickr