Truck driving jobs are very popular across the country due to its tremendous income potential and the fact that there are several types of driving jobs to choose from. Different types of trucking jobs means that there are different qualifications to apply and different wages and benefits. The more endorsements and training a driver has, the more he is typically going to be paid.
- Auto haulers – Do you need your car to be hauled from one state to another, maybe because you are transferring houses? Or perhaps you own a car company and you need to ship or deliver a car order to one of your clients? If so, then you would use an auto hauler company. These trucking companies focus on loading automobiles on customized trailers and deliver the cars from one place to another.
- Boat haulers – These trucking jobs involve hauling a marine vessel from one point to another. This type of company is useful if someone is moving, or possibly even transporting a boat across a panhandle region like Florida.
- Tanker drivers – Tanker trucking jobs are some of the most dangerous and high paying truck driving jobs available. This job entails truckers to transport liquefied and gaseous loads on roads which can be very hazardous if not properly handled. Containers can either be pressurized or non-pressurized, which makes the driving more difficult, since the truck’s centre of gravity tends to become higher. Additionally, there is also a risk of explosion when driving tankers, which makes it no wonder why the pay for this job is above average. The driver must also undergo additional training to be qualified to work with the chemicals he is going to be hauling.
- Refrigerated truck drivers – Truckers who haul refrigerated containers, also known as reefers, to different destination to transport temperature sensitive shipments are typically working on behalf of some produce company. Reefer truck drivers cannot take their time with their loads because if they take to long the food will spoil!
- Flat bed drivers – Flatbed trucks are best used to load items that are used in construction sites such as metal pipes, woods, timbers, or any items that are irregularly shaped. Flatbed trucks can easily carry these types of items however these should be properly secured and safely locked up, as accidents from these types of trucks are common due to faulty fastening and careless attachments.
- Dry van drivers – Truckers who are handling trucks that carry dried goods are called dry van drivers. This is a semi trailer that is fully enclosed and is the most common truck trailer being used by trucking companies, also known as box trailers. These are the trailers that most people will associate with truck drivers today.
- Long haul drivers – Long haul drivers make up a large percentage of the trucking industry. These drivers will be away from their home for weeks or months, depending on the location of delivery, and then once they get home, they typically only get to stay home for just few days, and then go back to work. Long haul drivers earn good money for their devotion to the company they are driving for.
While there are many different types of trucking jobs to choose from, each of them requires special certification and a devotion to the job. Whichever direction you decide to go in just remember, as long as you are safe and dependable, your opportunities are endless in the trucking industry!
Truck drivers use heavy vehicles to transport goods and materials from one location to another.
Truck drivers may perform the following tasks:
- drive defensively and handle hazardous road conditions
- load goods onto the truck either by hand, or by using a forklift or other lifting equipment
- make sure loads are correctly placed and secured to avoid damage to the truck or goods
- couple and uncouple trailers
- perform pre- and mid-trip vehicle and security inspections
- carry out basic vehicle maintenance
- drive vehicles to their destination and unload
- carry out administrative duties, such as checking items against the inventory, recording damage, collecting payments and issuing receipts
- enter information into in-cab electronic equipment to record required trip information
- maintain a work diary with details of trips.
There are different types of truck drivers, including:
- Over the Road / Long-Haul Drivers operate heavy trucks and drive for long periods of time, either interstate (between states) or intrastate (within one state). Some over the road truck drivers travel a few hundred miles and return the same day; others are away from home overnight, or for several days or weeks at a time. Some drivers work in teams, including husband and wife teams.
- Pick-up and Delivery (P&D) / Local Drivers operate light, medium or heavy trucks and work in route-sales or pick-up-and-delivery operations. These drivers have more contact with customers than over the road drivers and usually make more stops each day. Those P&D drivers often need sales skills in addition to driving skills.
- Specialized Trucking involves specialized trucks that handle unusual, oversized or sensitive loads. Drivers cover local and long-distance routes, and need extra training to operate their equipment. Examples of specialized trucking include auto carriers, dry bulk carriers, (permitted) oversized and overweight loads, or double and triple trailers. Other permits may be needed.
- Hazardous Materials Drivers need additional training. Drivers need to know about the content of the loads they are hauling, how to handle the loads safely and what to do in an emergency. Truck drivers who transport hazardous materials must also take a special test when applying for the CDL that certifies them as a hazardous materials driver. Examples of hazardous materials drivers include tank truck, over the road or P&D drivers carrying hazardous materials. Other permits may be needed.
- An Owner-Operator or Independent Driver owns his or her equipment, anything from a straight truck to a flat-bed tractor-trailer, and hauls freight on a contractual basis. Husband-and-wife owner-operator teams are very common, especially in the household goods moving industry. It is possible to make a good living as an owner-operator, but like many businesses, the competition is tight and there are many overhead expenses involved – equipment purchases, maintenance, fuel and insurance, to name just a few. Most owner-operators begin their careers as salaried drivers with a motor carrier before starting their own business.
Rates of pay and potential earnings vary considerably within the industry. Most city pick-up-and-delivery drivers are paid by the hour. In long-haul operations, truck drivers are usually paid a specified rate per mile, or, in some cases, a percentage of the revenue the motor carrier receives for the load hauled.
Understand the different types of truck driver jobs and how different segments of trucking work.
When searching for truck driving jobs, most will be categorized into two different types – over-the-road (OTR) and less-than-truckload (LTL). While both require the same set of skills from the driver, each job description is a bit different. As a new trucker, it's important to understand the difference and become familiar with the duties of both. Let's take a closer look at each type of job in more detail.
What is an LTL Driving Job?
LTL, or less-than-truckload, is a service offered to freight and trucking companies for shippers who only need a small delivery of goods at a time. Unlike full truckload drivers, LTL drivers haul multiple shipments at one time on the same trailer, each with a different destination. These shipments are typically delivered to a terminal, before being transferred from truck to truck until they reach a final destination.
What is an OTR Driving Job?
Nearly every new truck driver begins a career as an OTR, or over-the-road, trucker. OTR drivers are different from LTL drivers in that they haul 'longer length' loads all across the country. This is referred to as irregular route meaning that OTR truckers get to travel to different places all the time while enjoying the freedom of the open road.
What Kind Of Truck Driver Do You Want To Be?
How many kinds of truck driving jobs are there? The answer is, “Lots and lots.” Pretty much any industry will involve some kind of trucking job, but here is a partial list of possibilities:
- Freight hauler
- Construction hauler
- Hazardous materials hauler
- Tank hauler
- Flat bed hauler
- Local hauler (home at night)
- Road driver (gone about a week at time)
- Long haul driver (gone 3 weeks or more each trip)
- Low boy hauler
- Small doubles
- Large doubles
- Triples Small
- Straight trucks
- Other specialized hauling
Just being “a truck driver” is such a generalized statement that it almost is meaningless. It’s a good idea to do your homework and look at what the various trucking jobs in your area are. Then talk to some of the drivers about what their job is like. The kind of truck driver you will be depends mostly on you and what you put into it. Choosing an accredited training school that doesn’t tie you into one particular company increases your options a lot.
Getting your CDL at a reputable place like Diesel Truck Drivers Training School gives you a taste of the different types of trucks and truck driving jobs so you’ll have a better idea of what you can do. Plan on living at the school during your training and spending part of your evening reviewing the day’s lessons. Then relax a bit so you’ll be fresh for the next session. Talk to your classmates and instructors about their view of the industry. Take advantage of the Employment Assistance offered, and explore your options. Then you will be ready to start in an entry level job as a well-trained truck driver, and the rest is up to you!
You Share The Road With Scary People
Sometimes a truck driver sees some scary stuff. Since the cab is usually higher than the rest of the vehicles, there can be a view into the car that shows people texting, putting on makeup, getting dressed, and driving while they do it. People decide to change lanes without using a signal to let others know what they are thinking, and sometimes they move across several lanes right between big trucks that are blocking their view.
What Are They Thinking?
The truth is, they aren’t thinking about driving. Those drivers are thinking about something else, and because nothing bad happened yet they think it’s okay.
The problem is that when the accident happens, it usually involves people who were trying to pay attention to what was happening on the road. Accidents do happen to good drivers, and they happen because even a good driver can’t control everything on the road.
Think About Being Prepared
Sooner or later, every professional driver is confronted with the need to respond to an accident even if they were able to avoid actually being part of the pileup. During our Class A Commercial Driver Training Program there will be many discussions about safety on the road and safe operation of equipment.
Take these discussions seriously and add your own research to develop a plan of action. What will you do when it happens? Who do you call? How do you help? Which items should be part of your safety kit and always in your cab?
The longer you are a professional driver, the more scary stories you will have to share at the truck stop. You do share the road with scary people, but you don’t have to be afraid of not knowing what to do.
The Time Has Come To Think About Winter Driving
Have you ever seen drivers making donuts in the snowy parking lot, just because it’s fun? Maybe you’ve done it yourself. It’s not necessarily bad to spin out in a safe area a few times to get an idea about how to handle icy conditions, but it’s pretty difficult to do it in a big rig with a full load.
Long Haul Truckers Encounter Sudden Storms
One of the crazy things that happens when driving across the country at this time of year is the sudden storm out of nowhere. Whether you are taking a load across the prairie or moving up the mountain toward the pass, there’s a possibility of severe weather.
It’s always a good idea to be prepared, especially in the Western states where those mountain passes can have a blizzard in July. That means carrying emergency supplies with you, some sort of battery backup for a cell phone so you can call for help, and a plan.
Think Through The Scenarios
Part of the value of classes at Diesel Truck Driver Training School is the experience of the instructors. They will share that experience by explaining how to deal with an icy patch on a bridge, for instance, and tell you about what can happen if you set the brakes on the trailer and they freeze.
Safety on the road and safe operation of equipment is part of the Complete CDL Program. The more you have discussed and thought about what can happen, the better able you are to deal with it if it does.
It’s not a good idea to practice making donuts with a semi. But it is a good idea to develop a complete understanding of how to avoid spinning out on an icy highway with a full load and be prepared for getting stuck if you can’t avoid it. The more prepared you are for a winter emergency, the more professional you are as a driver.
Park Early To Get There
One of the things I hear professional truck drivers talking about is the difficulty in finding a parking place when they need one. With the importance of maintaining logbooks and Hours of Service requirements, there are times when it makes sense to park early in order to find a spot, get the rest time, and get going again as soon as possible.
Why Is Truck Parking A Problem?
The reason it makes sense to park early is because there aren’t enough parking spots on many routes, and if you don’t grab one when it can be worked out in your schedule, you are likely to regret it as you try to figure out what to do. It’s also safer. Truckers have died because they had to park in unsafe places.
It’s an important issue, and the problem won’t be solved without a lot of people working together. In the meantime, the best you can do is learn all you can about safe options and look for a safe parking place as part of your route planning.
Wise Route Planning Works
Getting advice from experienced drivers and knowing where the safe places to park are will help in planning your route wisely. Look ahead and figure out what your alternatives could be if the first parking place is full. It helps to have it figured out before you need to park.
The instructors you have at Diesel Truck Driver Training School are experienced truck drivers and share all their experience with students. CDL classes start all year round, so there’s never a bad time to start and their teaching gives a good, solid base to build your career on.
It takes more than holding a license to be a good driver, and it takes experience to know how to plan for parking. Right now, parking early is usually a good idea but it depends on the situation. If truckers combine their experience and help each other, we will get through the challenges together.
3 Causes Of Backing Accidents
Backing up a truck with a trailer is one of the skills only practice — lots of practice — can teach fully. But the primary causes of accidents that occur during reversing to dock or maneuver are:
Visibility is often easy to overlook (hah, see what I did there?) because it takes effort to get out and look at where you will be backing up. But there’s a lot of blind spots and there’s no other way to give you the whole picture of where you are backing into. Look up, around, and down to see all the potential problems in clearance. Make sure you have the room it will actually take to do what you need to do.
Speed has two sides: the rate your truck is going affects response time and control, while being in a hurry affects the way you approach the task. Being impatient and assuming you know where you are going can cause accidents, and backing up fast makes it hard to stop when you should.
Space is more than an adequate physical margin around your truck; it’s also the mental margin of thinking ahead to avoid problems you could run into. For instance, it is easier to back into an alley than back out of one, and if you can, avoid backing altogether. Use a spotter, and hand signals you both understand. If you don’t have a spotter, back up as soon as you have done your walk-around, before the situation changes.
Every truck should have working back up alarms and lights flashing to let others know what is going on. Assume they won’t notice you! It’s better than hitting another vehicle or worse, a pedestrian.
When you are training at Truck Driver Training School, we work on giving you the practice you need to start out being a good driver, but only your continued practice and attention to these details will make you an excellent, professional driver.
4 Times A Truck Driver Can Exercise
Truck drivers do not have regular schedules, for the most part. Exercise gets shoved aside as you try to get all the other stuff done in long days. But exercise is one of the most important things you should be doing, because you sit pretty much all the time and that is bad for your health. Think about it: can you really afford not to exercise when you must pass a physical to do your job?
There are four times in a trucker’s day that exercising even a little will make a huge difference in your outlook and your body:
“What” you say, “should I do to exercise?”
How about you do an internet search for easy exercises for truck drivers and see what appeals to you? Change it up a little, and get some exercise apps on your phone. Everybody is different, and there is not a single answer to what kind of exercising you should do. But every body does need to move in order to be healthy.
During your training at Truck Driver Training School, you will get that first required physical to get you on the road. But staying on the road, and staying healthy, is up to you.
The Top 3 Safety Risks For Truckers
There are many things that cause a safety risk when you are driving a truck, and during your CDL Training they will be covered and reviewed and discussed and said repeatedly. Instructors hammer on safety issues for a good reason: When you know what is dangerous, and you’ve heard it so much your eyes roll, it comes to mind even when you don’t want to think about it. A fully loaded big rig is a lethal weapon moving at high speed, and safety has to be an automatic thing with professional drivers.
There are three things that make a driver, even a professional driver, a safety risk. Those things are substance abuse, tiredness, and lack of concentration.
This should be filed under “DUH,” but driving while using alcohol, illegal drugs, and misusing certain prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs is a bad idea. Your ability to respond to situations is slowed down so much that it’s dangerous to everybody. There’s good reason why law enforcement and company policy have zero tolerance for driving under the influence, and it can cost you big time.
Did you know that being tired can cause the same slowness of response time that substance abuse does? That’s why there’s such a push for regulations about truck drivers and rest. Sure, the mandatory rest times are controversial because they don’t necessarily solve the problem but the reason lawmakers have jumped on this bandwagon is because the dangers of tired truck drivers is real.
Lack of Concentration
Here again, the issue is how quick you can respond to a sudden change in conditions. If a driver is looking at a map, texting, fiddling with the controls of a device, or some other distraction then that driver is impaired by a lack of concentration. Most of the time it doesn’t cause an accident because it’s a momentary thing on a long empty stretch but if something happens then the driver is at fault. An experienced driver has learned to do many things automatically and can handle a distraction that a new driver can’t but even experienced drivers need to pay attention to what they are doing.
The Difference Between Awake And Alert
One of the constant challenges facing drivers is the challenge of staying awake and alert while on the road. When the vehicle you are driving is a big truck with a full load, that challenge becomes one where the cost of failure is incredibly expensive. A driver needs to stay awake, but that driver also needs to stay alert, and there is a difference.
Awake Without Alert Is Dangerous
You can be awake enough to drive down the road and still be slow to respond — not alert. Many times a driver will keep adding caffeine and other stimuli to their body without realizing that they are merely staying awake. In a hospital setting, a patient can be awake and not answer questions correctly, gaze off into space, and show their inability to function in countless ways. The patient is awake, sure, but that’s not good enough to be discharged. It isn’t good enough to be driving, either.
Alert Means Functioning Appropriately
In that hospital scenario, the nurses ask the patient questions and gauge how quickly the right answers are given in response. In driving, the questions become traffic conditions, anticipating problems and responding to situations the right way in time to avoid accidents. If you are alert, you are able to pay attention to what you are doing and respond quickly to what needs to be done.
Drivers Must Be Both Awake And Alert
It isn’t enough to simply be awake when you are a driver, because you drive a vehicle that can cause death and destruction in an accident. When you get your training at Truck Driver Training School there will be many discussions about the need to be both awake and alert when you are behind the wheel. It’s a discussion that happens all the time in our industry, because it never goes out of date. Failure to be both awake and alert is a mistake that can be made by experienced drivers as well as rookies, and we all suffer when it happens.
The difference between awake and alert sometimes is ‘alive’.