Trucking is a rewarding career path and drivers can make more than $69,000 a year.* It is also one of few industries where you can finish training in as little as four weeks. It’s helpful to consider the top skills a truck driver needs to possess to understand whether this might be the ideal job for you. If you already have these skills, you would likely make a great trucker.
1. Safe Driving
Safety is absolutely essential in the trucking industry. Operating a vehicle that is so much larger than the standard four-wheeler is a big responsibility. Your actions affect not only yourself but also everyone else on the road.
Truck drivers need to be focused on safety at all times. This includes maintaining a safe speed, avoiding distractions, and driving defensively.
Most people think of trucking as a solitary job. In many cases, this is true. Unless you are a team driver, you will likely spend most of your time by yourself. However, communicating well with others is actually a big part of your job as a trucker.
One of the people you will communicate with most is your dispatcher. Dispatchers act as a go-between for motor carriers and their drivers. Their job is to make sure freight gets to the customer on time and undamaged. If there are unexpected delays, routing issues, or other concerns while on the road, your dispatcher is typically the person you’ll work with to find a solution.
At various points, you’ll also need to communicate with the customer to arrange deliveries, with your company’s safety director if you have any concerns or questions, and many more. In addition to your professional life, communication will likely impact your personal life, especially if you are trucking with a family.
Over-the-road (OTR) truckers travel across the United States to deliver freight. While modern GPS technology has made it easier to determine where you are going, you shouldn’t rely on navigation devices entirely.
Most truckers use a road atlas and/or a phone application in addition to their GPS system. This allows you to see where rest stops are, what roads are off-limits to semi-trucks, and if there are any closures you need to be aware of. You should be comfortable with using a map and be skilled in navigation.
You will have various paperwork on your truck to document your load. In addition, you will need to keep track of daily pre-trip inspections, manage your hours of service (HOS), and plan your routes. All of these tasks require good organizational skills. Many truckers keep a binder or file cabinet in their cab to help them keep track of everything.
5. Motivation to Succeed
One of the reasons why trucking is a great career path is that, in many cases, you are in control of your own success. If you work hard, consistently deliver your freight on time, and drive safely, you can earn competitive pay and continue to advance your career. You can even become an owner-operator and run your own trucking business.
Get Your Career Started
If you are interested in becoming a commercial truck driver, Phoenix Truck Driving School can help you get started. We offer accelerated training and can get you on the road in as little as four weeks.
To learn more about our commercial driver’s license (CDL) training in Albuquerque, contact us today.
**Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $47,130 The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $69,480 per year according to the 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics.