Essential Up-Skilling For Truckers: How To Expand Your Career

The trucking industry faces many challenges today: working conditions for truckers, a shortage of workers, fraud, workers’ rights violations, and road safety breaches. On top of this, autonomous trucks have the potential to change the trucking environment forever. 

With that in mind, there is absolutely a need for truck drivers to up-skill to stay successful in this competitive industry. 

This article will discuss the different types of truck driver training and why they are essential to you. 

What Skills Will You Learn in Truck Driver Training?

Gone are the days when truck drivers had a very rigid, one-track set of skills. Today, truck drivers make up a full 2% of America’s workforce, and trucking is the most common job in 29 states. 

In this fast-changing and competitive field, up-skilling is more of a requirement than a choice. Let’s look at how up-skilling can help you and your career. 

Driving and Safety Skills 

Truck driver trainees are equipped with relevant skills on safely navigating roads in all types of weather conditions and at all times of the day. Additionally, truckers will learn skills, including:

  • Defensive driving: Trainees learn how to identify safety hazards on the road to help stop accidents before they happen
  • Trainees will learn how to navigate the streets of small towns and cities. This is excellent preparation for when you may need to take an alternate route off the highway due to an accident, road closure, or if you’re simply following a dispatch route.

Safety Procedures and Practices

Truckers are trained in safe driving practices and defensive driving skills. Additionally, you are taught safety procedures related to trucks, including:

  • Brake malfunction
  • Problems with tire pressure
  • Telltale signs of mechanical malfunctions, including unusual sounds and movements of a truck

Truckers who are familiar with the above practices significantly reduce their chances of getting involved in accidents due to truck malfunctions.

How to Operate Trucking Technology

Today’s truckers rely heavily on technology. Technologies such as collision mitigation technology and dynamic routing are essential in any modern vehicle.

Collision mitigation technology provides signals to the driver to warn them if a vehicle is too close. 

Dynamic routing allows truck drivers to set fuel-efficient routes and make adjustments depending on traffic, weather, and many more conditions. 

These new technologies are essential, and it’s vital that you understand them. This is where truck driver training comes in: to help you keep up with new technologies in your truck and on the road. 

How to Properly Secure a Load

Not all truck drivers know how to secure their loads using straps, binders, and chains. Through truck driver training, truckers will learn how to:

  • Secure a load to a truck
  • Recognize if a load is secure 
  • Identify issues associated with the load that could cause a problem along the route

How to Check Truck Weight

Trainees learn how to check their truck’s weight. Drivers have to adhere to the United States’ regulations of how much weight they can carry on the highway at one time. 

If you’re driving your load over the border, you must also be familiar with the Canadian regulations. 

Carrying too much weight on a truck can result in delays and create safety hazards. So, it’s important to learn and follow the regulations thoroughly.

The Road Code

Trainees are taught and tested to ensure that they’ve mastered the Road Codes enforced in the United States. This involves learning about: 

  • Road signs
  • Parking procedures and
  • Trailer requirements  

How to Hook and Unhook a Trailer

Coupling and uncoupling a trailer from a truck is something many truck drivers do daily. Trainees are taught how to do this task safely and efficiently.

Additionally, trainees will learn what locations and circumstances are safe to complete this process. 

How to Perform Routine Checks

Trainees are taught the importance of performing routine checks before beginning a route. Interior and exterior routine checks include: checking if the following components and systems are operational:

  • Oil pressure
  • Dashboard Lights
  • Windshield wipers
  • Mirrors 
  • Headlights and taillights
  • Tire condition
  • Fuel tank cap 
  • Side mirrors and indicator lights

In this truck driver training course, you will learn how to make sure all components and systems are fully operational and ready to drive. 

Hauling Hazardous Material

Some truck drivers haul hazardous materials such as LPG gas, petroleum, and other flammable industrial chemicals. This requires a hazardous materials licensing endorsement. Proper safety checks and emergency procedures are essential so that hazardous materials remain secure and intact during transport.

Hauling Heavy and Wide Loads

Another skill taught to trainees in truck driver training is how to haul wide and heavy loads. This can involve ferrying wind turbines, machines, and logs. 

How to Operate Rigs and Other Machinery

Trainees will learn how to operate machines such as rigs, fire engines, and refuse trucks.

How to Maintain a Logbook

A successful driver must keep a record of where they travel when they arrive and leave, and what was done at the location. 

This is important when working in a commercial fleet and is also legally required in the United States. In this truck driver training course, trainees are taught how to correctly fill in and maintain a logbook. 

Managing Invoices

Professional truck drivers are responsible for organizing their own invoices. Assuring the number of items in their load matches the items invoiced and that the invoices are signed off on once the cargo is delivered to its destination is a very important part of the job. 

After a long day (or week) on the road, it can be challenging to remember all the steps to an invoice, but invoices are crucial to making sure you and your company get paid

Understanding how to read an invoice is vital for truckers to understand how much they are getting paid. This is especially true for truckers who get paid per mile or per load. 

There is no set standard for invoicing, and each specific company has its own requirements. However, if you want to be up-to-date and ready to work for any company, and know exactly how much money you’re making per trip, invoicing is crucial. 

Next Steps

If you plan on starting or continuing a career as a professional truck driver, you’ll need to enroll in truck driver training courses. There are many forms of training available to pick from, including truck driving schools, online courses, on-campus classes, textbooks, and one-on-one mentorship.

While you shine up on your own skills, remember your truck needs to always remain up-to-date as well. Whether you’re hauling hazardous materials or heavy loads, operating machinery, or hooking up a trailer, you need to know your truck is in top shape and that you have top technicians you can rely on. 

Kelly’s Truck’s professional and experienced technicians accept jobs of any size and complete most services within 48 hours. Contact us with any questions, request a quote, or fill out a parts request online. 

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