Before you can begin a career as a trucker, you will have to complete a CDL training course in order to receive a commercial driver’s license, or CDL. Also known as trucking school, a CDL course can be a challenging program that not only teaches you how to drive a large truck, but also how to better understand the ins and outs of the trucking industry. In order to have the best chance of success while getting your CDL, keep these six ways to survive trucking school in mind.
In this post:
1. Keep Accurate Logs
Some drivers in a CDL program assume that if they can drive a tractor-trailer well already, there is nothing to learn from the program. However, that is a serious mistake. One of the most important things you will learn during trucking school is how to keep accurate logs. As a driver it is important to log all the details of every trip from fuel used to stops made. Get in the habit of keeping these logs as soon as possible.
2. Sleep Well Each Night
Being well rested can make a big difference in how you do each day. On days when you know you will be challenged in tasks like exams, reversing trucks, or anything you are not confident about, try to allow for some extra sleep the night before. Studies repeatedly show that drivers perform better when they are rested.
3. Find an Outlet
After a day full of driving, learning about driving, listening to people talk about driving, and watching movies about driving, you may need to have an alternative hobby or activity to clear your mind. While it is is great to focus on your studies and learn more about getting your CDL, it is healthiest if you have an activity to enjoy in the evenings or in your free time. Try meeting some friends for a drink and a game of pool, going for a jog, or just reading a book unrelated to trucking.
4. Spend Time Reading Maps
The ability to read maps is an important quality for a full time truck driver. Whenever you have free time, flip through an atlas of the United States and get familiar with reading a map. You will also want to learn about all the major cities and where they are in relation to one another. A thorough knowledge of geography will come in handy when your boss wants to know how quickly you can drive from Omaha to Miami.
5. Be Courteous and Professional
One major mistake that drivers make when in trucking school is being rude to fellow students or even to instructors. Even though the trucking industry is large, extensive networking and lots of travel means that it can be a small world. Being rude to one person while in trucking school can result in you not getting a job in another location six months later.
6. Remember That Graduation Isn’t the End
Even after receiving your CDL, you won’t be ready to hit the road on your own. Expect to spend a month or more driving with a veteran driver as a team and learning the ropes before you are an official driver with a company. Having patience during trucking school and after can help you survive and create a good career as a trucker.
Trucking school can be difficult, but it is also a big move forward for your career. By using this guide you can easily survive CDL training and make a successful start towards your new profession.
Scott Salsbury is a freelance blogger, who writes about alternate career paths in the auto world. An auto-enthusiast, Scott recommends checking your airbag suspension to make sure your car or truck is job-safe.