Off to a Fresh Start: 9 Things to Know If You’re Considering to Become a Professional Truck Driver
Being a professional truck driver can be a great career if you put the time into it. A joy for being on the road is one of the requirements so that you don’t get burned out. If you meet that one requirement, there are only a few steps left before you pursue a fulfilling opportunity. Being familiar with a Speedliner is helpful if you have specific truck jobs in mind.
9. Will It Provide Enough Money?
The type of trucking work you get involved with will determine starting and yearly salary. It also affects benefits, which are tied to specific contracts. Experienced drivers will always make more money since it provides a type of insurance for the company. Increases in salary are fairly common and come often when you’re a truck driver. Staying with the same company is recommended for workers that want to see a steady increase in their yearly worth. Health benefits will be erratic if drivers constantly switch contracts.
8. Have A Dialog With Other Drivers
No one can give you a better idea of being a truck driver like a professional truck driver. Their experience will let you know of the ups and downs of the job, including some hurdles that you didn’t see coming. The often-complex work hours lead to times where you’ll be lonely on the road. Professional drivers can let you know the many ways they dealt with the long hours while being away from home. There is no one answer that will fit the mold, but their insight is invaluable.
7. Check The Pros And Cons
This is something you should do whenever there is a chance a job will affect your personal life. Married couples and parents have it hardest when they decide to become trucks drivers. If becoming a professional truck driver will cause strain to parenting or marriage, then consider that a major problem. Make a pro and cons list with priority being given to the cons. There are some things on that side of the list that can’t be overcome, so you have to weigh it differently.
6. Research Professional Truck Driving
In some ways, this will prepare you for the actual test. There are a lot of things that you won’t know about the career if you don’t do a little creative research. Laws are different for each state, so it can be beneficial to check which state has the most favorable conditions. That means you may get paid more in one state while having better healthcare in another. Certain routes for companies will be shorter based on where their home location is. These are all things you can research before investing time or money into the profession.
5. Take The Time To Study The Material
Every DMV has a copy of the state commercial driver’s manual. This is an important study guide that costs you absolutely nothing. Study it front and back until you understanding everything written within it. Not only does it tell you how to get a CDL, but it contains all information associated with restrictions, fees, and classes. Always get the most recent edition of the manual since traffic laws change constantly. Before you get an official study guide, use the state commercial driver’s manual as a reference.
4. Take The Licensing Exam Seriously
Truck driving school can take up to a year to complete. When the time comes to take the state CDL exam, your money and time are on the line. The licensing exam is just as serious as any other certification and deserves your full attention. Since this is a written and road skills test, make sure to get adequate sleep before testing day. Being groggy will only force you to make mistakes and fail the exam. The state-licensed examiner watching will make note of your attention to detail, so slacking off is not an option.
3. The Minimum Requirement Should Not Be Your Ceiling
Meeting the minimum requirements for CDL school is nice, but it should not the goal. Many future professionals pass the minimum requirements for school only to fail the final test. The truck driving profession is not a hobby and requires serious commitment. The moment you decide that driving a truck is a career, study and work hard to make it a reality. Trying to coast it all the way to the finish line is an easy way to end up disappointed.
2. Don’t Goof Off In Truck Driving School
This is self-explanatory and similar to tip #3. Once you’re in school, treat it like the actual job. One of the reasons to do this is for career opportunities after passing the exam. There are many prospective employers that will be waiting to hire direct from the class. They are less likely to be interested in someone that doesn’t take truck driving seriously. From the moment you step into school, you are auditioning for a potential employment opportunity. Lots of drivers want to get hired on contract for the same position.
1. The FMCSR Is Tougher Than The Normal Exam
At this point, you have reached the finish line, although the FMCSR is the final qualification. Just like the state driving exam, it is written and physical. The difference is in the latter components, with physical covering hearing and vision. There are stories of drivers getting this far and failing due to forgetting their glasses. Technically, the FMCSR should be the easiest of the two exams. What makes it hard is when you psyche yourself out or forget little things like eyewear. The physical portion of the test has to be taken every two years. Once you take the written portion, it never has to be taken again.
Becoming a truck driver is a career that can be really rewarding when you get good at it. By using the nine listed tips, you will be in a better position to pass the test. Follow the rules, don’t break any laws and try to enjoy your new career.