- Location: Kansas
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Today's commercial driver is equipped with electronics that can do everything from check the weight and balance of the cargo load, report the exact location of the truck to the home office, monitor the engine, bring up a map for the driver, showing his or her exact route, e-mail the family at home, check the tire temperature, to automatically call for help in case of an emergency.
It takes more than just the ability to handle a large vehicle to make a trucker. Other necessary skills include and understanding of automotive mechanics, knowledge of fluid dynamics, ability to operate a computer, and an understanding of and ability to maintain, the rules of the road.
Physical fitness is necessary. As a truck driver, you may occasionally be required to assist in unloading the cargo on your truck. You may also need to lift and maneuver awkward tire chains in the snow. Snow removal from the truck is sometimes required, as is the manipulation of the load weight over the truck axles.
Commercial driver education programs will help develop the basic skills that are necessary to obtain your CDL, and to find a job in the trucking industry. Once you've finished a CDL training program, you will have the skills to pass the written exams, vehicle inspection, basic skills, and road tests involved in the licensing of commercial drivers.
A basic commercial driver training program consists of:
- Intensive classroom instruction
- Behind-the-wheel driving sessions
- Observation opportunities―watching professional drivers handle a series of driving challenges
- Truck driving simulators
- Driving instruction
- Skid pan (closed driving track) training
- Driving on back roads, in the city, and on both two- and four-lane highways
- Experience driving different types of tractors hauling different types of trailers
- Basic truck electronics and computer training courses are available at some trucking schools
Having the hands-on skills with different types of tractors and trailers will prepare you to go to work in the trucking industry. Also, you will be trained to drive a tractor and trailer without the extensive computerization prevalent on many trucks today. (As computerized as the trucking industry has become, there are still hundreds of thousands of non-computerized trucks out there.)
In order to register at a CDL training facility, you will probably be required to successfully complete an entrance examination. The other requirements are usually:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Hold a current driver's license
- Have a good driving record
- Pass the Department of Transportation physical exam
- Pass a drug and alcohol screening test
Depending on the training program, you may first be required to attend a basic orientation class, to become familiar with the training schedule and methods. Some trucking schools will require that the tuition be paid in full or have a guarantee of funding before you are allowed to begin training classes. In most cases, training schools will require you to have your CDL instruction permit by the fifth day of class.
Here are some of the additional certifications you might receive while you are training for your CDL, depending on the school:
- American Red Cross: Basic Rescue/CPR
- American Red Cross: Multimedia First Aid
- National Safety Council: Defensive Driving
- National Safety Council: Forklift Safety
At the end of your testing, if you have successfully completed all aspects of your training, you will be issued a Skills Certificate which you may take the DMV and apply for your CDL.Articles
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