A CDL (commercial driver’s license) is necessary to get a good job as a truck driver, and many companies will provide training for the CDL test. In order to set yourself up for success, you need to adequately prepare for a career of driving. Here are some tips to get you started.
Do your homework.
Before you even apply to become a CDL student, you need to ask yourself if truck driving is the career choice for you. Trucking is not just a job — it is really a lifestyle. That’s why it’s important that you know all about what is entailed in OTR (over-the-road) driving. What kind of adjustments will you need to make in your personal and/or family life? Do the important people in your life support your decision and do they know what types of adjustments they will need to make? What kind of benefits are available and which type of company offers the most flexibility and support to their drivers? There are many great resources online where you can ask truckers questions and learn more about the profession.
Be prepared to work and learn.
If you’ve decided to pursue your CDL after learning as much as you can about being a truck driver, then show up every day with open eyes, open ears, and an open mind. Learning new things can be intimidating, especially if you are switching careers mid-life. But, if you show up prepared to learn, listen, ask questions and work hard, you’ll have a much easier time. There is much more to learn than simply how to drive an 18-wheeler. Trip planning, log books, regulations, inspections … you’ll need to master all of these things in order to get your CDL.
Ask for help.
Many CDL trainers are graduates of the same program you’re in — so they know what you are trying to accomplish. Not only are they there to help you succeed, but they also can point you to helpful resources. CDL school is not a good place to think you already “get it” and don’t need to study, and it is certainly not the time to be too stubborn to ask for help. Your career (and your family) depends on you doing everything in your power to get the best training possible. Take advantage of all of the extra resources available to you, like training videos and checklists. Don’t be afraid to make friends and work together with other students to study. If your program allows for time for extra practice on the rigs, take them up on it every chance you get.
Don’t give up.
The first time you step up into that cab and push the accelerator pedal on a big rig will be one of the most scary and exhilarating experiences of your life. Depending on how scary or overwhelming it is, you may get frustrated. Remember, learning anything new can be challenging. But, that’s just it. If you perceive the whole experience of learning to drive a truck as a challenge that you can master, rather than as a mountain you’ll never climb, you will have won half the battle. You can overcome your struggles — and reap the reward — with the right attitude, patience, an open mind and determination.
Are you thinking of becoming a truck driver? Is it a lifestyle that appeals to you? Do you think being a truck driver can create a better life for you and/or your family? If you answered yes to those questions, then look into getting your CDL license. For more information, contact TransForce today.