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If you've decided on trucking as your future career, then you've chosen a role in a vital part of the economy. But before you can get started, you'll need to obtain a Commercial Driver's License, master some basic skills and develop habits that will ensure your success. Although excellent driving skills form the basis of what you'll need there's much more to know that takes place other than behind the wheel. A good trucking school will emphasize this.
Few people understand the role that paperwork plays in successfully handling truck driving jobs. Updated log books have to be presented on request to law enforcement agents at weigh stations. Detailed listings of cargo ensure that items are received and paid for. If you're working for a company, they'll want receipts for tolls, gas and lodging in order for you to be compensated for you’re out of pocket expenses.
Choosing the best route is a critical factor in determining whether many truck driving jobs end in profit or loss. Good map reading skills and an up to date understanding GPS devices will help you choose the most fuel efficient route in delivering your load. This is especially important if you have a mixed load requiring multiple stops. A well planned route also ensures that you meet your deadlines.
Trucking also demands attention to time management. Every load will have its specific pick-up time and will carry a delivery deadline that must be met. A driver has to be able to develop a workable schedule that gets everything delivered on time even when deadlines conflict with each other. Not meeting a deadline can result in a financial penalty and continued failures can lead to a loss of jobs. Likewise, consistently meeting deadlines can lead to more jobs and even bonuses.
Above all, a driver has to be safe. Concerns about safety touch every part of a driver's daily routine. It starts before the trip by making sure you are well rested. A tired driver is a danger to himself and others. It continues with inspection of your vehicle. Also, a driver has to understand his cargo and its potential hazards. He has to see it loaded so it doesn't shift during delivery and cause a dangerous situation. Safety issues are included when the route is planned, too. A good route will allow for rest stops and sleep periods so you can be alert.
Trucking can be an exciting career, but it takes much more than just the ability to drive. A good trucking school will teach the student about paperwork, route planning and time management while stressing the importance of safety on and off the road.