Once you’ve obtained your commercial driver’s license (CDL), you can begin your professional driving journey. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re done with training though – many OTR trucking companies will require additional on-the-job training before you can go on solo trips. It’s important to understand what to expect during this process so that you can make the most of the experience and set yourself up for success.
The Structure of Motor Carrier Training
At many motor carriers, it is common for Entry Level drivers (those just out of CDL school, or with less than six months to a year of experience) to be paired with a driver trainer. This experienced driver will take the new hire on the road, providing them with the necessary training.
Some companies require an orientation period that covers the same topics you were taught during school, yet with a focus on their own policies. If applicable, this process is usually done before you start driving with your driver trainer.
The structure of the on-the-road training can differ. At times, the mentor driver will be with you while you drive, while other times you may be team driving with the mentor resting or taking a break from duty. Even if the mentor is off-duty, he/she will be available if you need help in a critical situation.
The hours of training and when drivers can go solo varies by company. Some have a predetermined amount of time with a mentor, while others leave the decision to the mentor upon judging the driver’s readiness.
Once your training is complete, you will be given a truck to call your own and be ready to take off – solo driving or with a partner if you opt for team driving.
Common Questions About Trucking Company Training
1. What Should I Take With Me For On-The-Road Training?
Ensure you bring the essential items but bear in mind that you and another driver will be sharing a fairly small area. Pack lightly. Important documents like your CDL must be taken with you, as well as any clothing or other personal belongings.
2. What If My Trainer And I Don’t Get Along?
When it comes to picking a driver mentor, many companies offer the option of specifying basic preferences, such as smoking vs. non-smoking, or if you would like a same-gender mentor. However, besides these traits, you may discover that you have a different personality than your mentor. It’s best to look at this as an opportunity to learn something and keep in mind that it’s only for a limited period of time.
However, if your mentor is abusive or you feel unsafe, you should tell your motor carrier right away and they should provide assistance in seeking a resolution.
3. What Will I Learn During Company Training?
During school, you will be provided with a broad education to provide a strong base for your trucking career. Once you start working, the training becomes less structured, and you’ll be able to gain experience on the job. Each day features different challenges and learning opportunities.
Mentors will take a range of approaches to training. Some are geared towards providing practical skills, while others focus on safety. Rather than going into company training with expectations, it’s best to approach it with an open mind and be ready to learn and adjust.
CDL School In Albuquerque
Before you can hit the road with a company mentor, you’ll need to earn your commercial license. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we can help you accomplish this in as little as four weeks.