If you're considering becoming a truck driver, we've devised this easy to follow, step by step path, for covering all the bases for researching your new career as a trucker.
The decision to become a trucker, is a big step in your life. There's lots to learn. There's things you'll need to know and understand about becoming a truck driver: choosing the right driving school, truck driving training costs and options, what life 'on the road' is really like, what salary to expect, ups and downs of a driving career, finding the right trucking company to work for.
There are lots and lots of things you'll need to know to be successful and happy as a trucker.
One thing you'll quickly learn is that the trucking industry can be a cold, hard business, that is seriously profit driven.
Don't let your lack of experience catch you working for the wrong trucking company or trapped into paying for an expensive driver training program, you thought was free.
We'll try to give you the best, most accurate information we can, to help you get started in your chosen profession and succeed as a truck driver. We'll make no bones about it. If something is lousy, we'll tell you. We won't sugar coat anything. We aim to tell it like it is, so you know what you're getting into.
There's still a positive side about becoming a truck driver, but sadly, there's lots of things that aren't so great too.
Weigh everything yourself to make that important decision, and decide for yourself, whether or not it's right for you.
FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT is a video series
which focuses on driver skills and trucking industry issues which may be of interest to the trucker, especially new drivers.
Here's your guide to becoming a trucker.
Trucker's Job Description - If driving professionally is your career path, it's a good idea to make darned sure you're cut out for it and you'll be happy being a trucker. Know what will be expected of you as a professional driver and also learn of some of the special skills drivers need to excel at their job.
Qualities of a Good Truck Driver - The personal qualities and attitude that make for a good professional driver.
For the Love of Driving - If you really love driving, there's a pretty good chance you'll enjoy a truck driving career.
Hours of Service - With the introduction and implementation of electronic logbooks, it's no longer necessary in most cases for professional truck drivers to learn how to complete paper logs. However, understanding the Hours of Service is a must. Hang in there.... you'll get it!
Licensing Requirement for Truckers - To become a trucker and to qualify to drive a tractor trailer in the U.S. or Canada, a special license is required: In the U.S., a CDL is required and Canadian truckers must possess a Class AZ license.
Know What MAY Prevent You From Getting a Commercial License - If you're a natural behind the wheel and breezed through driving school, that's not a guarantee you'll get a job. A criminal record, bad driving history (accidents), job-hoppers, unable to verify your employment history, incomplete high school education, are a few reasons a trucking company may be reluctant to hire you.
This isn't to say these things would necessarily prevent you from being hired, but they certainly may stand in the way.... it would depend upon the individual situation as well as the policies and standards of the trucking company.
Keeping Your Commercial Driver's License Clean - You've worked hard to complete your driver training and it probably cost you a lot of money. Don't mess up your future by getting black marks on your record.
Your DAC Report Guide - A trucking industry tool, with a reputation of being misused: a summary of a truck driver's history including criminal, driving, credit etc. One of the serious flaws of the DAC system is the lack of control the truck driver has over the content of his DAC. How to protect your DAC record from false claims.
A Solid Work History - A resume showing gaps in work history may be a problem when looking for a trucking job
American Trucker's CDL Qualifications/Canadian Truckers CVOR Driver's Abstract & MVR - Trucking jobs in US and Canada require special records to qualify as a commercial driver. Expect the trucking company to these documents before hiring.
Drug Testing - It is mandatory to be drug tested prior to employment and randomly while employed as a truck driver in Canada and the U.S.
The Resume - When you've ready to go on the hunt for a driving job, whether in person or on-line, it's important to have a well written, complete and accurate resume.
How to Get a Commercial Driver's License - There are basically 3 ways to obtain a CDL: privately owned driving schools, company sponsored programs and independent study.
Cost of Truck Driving Training School Programs - Although it's an investment in your future, the costs involved in getting training to be a truck driver, can be expensive.
What to expect from a truck driving training school program
- Although each training school program varies, there are some general
similarities. The programs are normally very short in length, therefore
quite rigorous and demanding. You'll be required to pass a DOT physical,
pass a drug screening test and of course, successfully pass the CDL
exam, in the U.S.
The CDL Exam - What to expect from the CDL exam, so you're as well prepared as possible.
Which Training Option is Right For You? Understand your options and weigh all the factors, before
diving in.... it's an important decision.
Trucker Pay - What pay range can a new driver expect? What
extras should a driver expect to be paid for? Now's the time to decide
if you're considering becoming a truck driver...is the money is
enough to support your lifestyle? Many truckers say a trucking job just doesn't cut it nowadays when it comes to the pay cheque. Decide for yourself.
Companies Hiring New Truck Drivers - Drivers without
experience can have some difficulty securing a job. However, there are a
number of carriers who will hire new truckers fresh out of driving
What Do Companies Look for in a Driver? - It's important to know what carriers are looking for in a driver: driving skill is a given, but it's often much more than how well you can drive. Other factors such as your personal history, honesty, integrity, communication skills, ability to get along with others, etc. are all important to an employer, too.
Tips for Finding Good Trucking Jobs - Find out what truckers have to say about the best niches to be work in, and they have found decent jobs.
The Traits of the Perfect Driving Job - No doubt about it, a high paying job is important, but truckers look for more than that in a job.
Is Team Driving For You? - Many companies pair new drivers up with a co-driver and can be expected to run this way for an extended period of time... sometimes at least a year. Learn what team driving is REALLY all about and what other truckers who have been part of a driving team, have to say about it.
Long Haul Trucking - New blood in the industry should become familiar with long haul or OTR (over-the-road) trucking. Most likely, this is what most new truckers will do, until they have experience and some miles behind them. Short Haul Trucking - Truckers with families and older drivers often like the shorter runs better. However, do be aware that generally speaking, short haul drivers make less money and the work can be equally as stressful if not more, than OTR work.
The Life of a Long Haul Trucker
Finding a Good Trucking Company
Career Stories of New Drivers - A series of candid interviews with new
truckers who give their honest views and opinions on their experiences
in today's world of trucking. Learn the obstacles they incur as well as
Career Stories of Experienced Truckers - An
interview series of interest to all drivers. New drivers can hear first hand from the seasoned professional truckers, after
many years and millions of miles.
What to Expect as a New Truck Driver
- So you're a new driver, but don't let companies taken of advantage of
your inexperience. DO expect to be teased about being a rookie, it just
comes with the territory, but don't let companies take advantage of
you, just because you lack driving experience.
How to Best Deal with your Dispatcher - Learn right from the starting gate that it's vital to get along with your dispatcher, as he or she, has the ability to make or break you. They have a great deal of control over 'how your day will go'!...... like it or not.
Never Forget: Safety is Always #1 - Some reminders for safe driving.
Skills Reinforcement for New Drivers - Review of some the essential important driving skills for new truckers.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road
Becoming An Owner Operator - Some new truckers decide to jump into the money pit with both feet, right off the bat, and decide to become an owner operator, rather than a company driver. I would not recommend doing so, but if that's what you've decided, here are some tips which may help ensure your success.
The Old School Ways - Even though trucking today is radically different than it was many years ago, don't loose sight of the old school ways on which this industry was built. Don't forget the brotherhood of truckers. Remember, you're a professional driver.
Pet Peeves of Truckers - There's lots to love about a truck driving career. But there are things that truckers absolutely hate about driving a truck and the trucking industry. Find out some of the absurdities truckers put up with.
Trucker Stories - Get to know what it can
be life can be life for a trucker and some of the whacky,
true-to-life-things that happen on the road!
Living on the Road - Tips for living on the road.
Relationship Tips - A trucking career belongs not only to the driver himself, but to his significant other. This job can be very stressful and hard for a couple. Some tips and helpful advice for smooth sailing for a relationship. If you've decided to become a truck driver, be aware that many relationships cannot survive the stresses of the job.
Trucker Health - Maintaining good physical and good mental health is very challenging. Finding truck stops with healthy menu options, planning time for sufficient exercise and leisure time can be difficult. With the stringent rules and regulations truckers face, it is becoming more important than ever to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle: your commercial driver's license now depends on it!
Big truck sleepers return. What was once an extravagance for the big strappers in trucking, is now a practical means for a trucker to increase his profit margin and be comfortable living on the road.
A new addition to our gallery of Petes, by Michael Lee, a 1982 Peterbilt 359: a classic big rig truck!
Custom truck show and big rig event schedule for U.S. and Canada. Check out the listings for a big rig show coming up.