Everything to Know About CDL Training
Maybe you’ve entertained the thought of being a truck driver for quite some time, or maybe you’ve just begun looking for a stable, well-paying career option that requires minimal time and financial investment. In any case, you’ll want to learn what is required in a CDL training program if you’re thinking about becoming a truck driver.
What Is A CDL?
In order to drive a commercial motor vehicle, you must acquire a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Driving these large trucks requires special skills and knowledge. Also, their mere size necessitates a lot of responsibility in safe handling on the road. There are three different class types of CDLs, which include A, B, and C.
The Class A CDL is the most common and qualifies you to drive most varieties of large trucks. Earning a CDL requires you to complete a truck driver training program, which generally lasts up to 8 weeks. The training programs are offered through community colleges, trade schools, and trucking companies. There is a written portion as well as hands-on training, which provides you with practical knowledge and real-life experience behind the wheel.
Preparing for CDL Training
With any new endeavor, there is the fear of change, and CDL training is no different. From learning the key points of driving a semi-truck to being out on the road working alongside your trainer can be daunting to say the least.
To begin, you’ll need to have a standard driver’s license and clean driving record. Then, you’ll need to decide which training program best suits your lifestyle. However, with so many choices available, be sure to choose a program that is properly licensed and accredited.
Summary of What’s Involved in CDL Training
Initially, your training will take place in a classroom setting. In addition to learning the rules of the road, how to plan routes, maintain electronic logs, and safety procedures, you’ll also learn the basics of operating trucks and how to perform pre-trip and post-trip inspections.
The CDL process will quickly evolve as each step prepares you for actual training on the road. While your first drive will likely be a short one, eventually you’ll be driving longer distances with your trainer. This is where the real behind the wheel experience begins as you learn to properly maneuver the truck in various driving environments from railroad crossings and city driving, to making turns, testing the brakes, and driving on the long open road.
For many new drivers, the thought of driving alongside a professional driver can be stressful. However, it’s important to stay calm and keep things in perspective.
Whether you’re apprehensive about being paired up with a difficult trainer or worry you’ll make a lot of mistakes, every single truck driver started out where you are now. Rather than allowing your fears and stress get the best of you, communicate well and decide you’re going to learn everything necessary to succeed.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Your level of success is entirely in your control. Some trainers are very active while others have a more passive approach, but regardless of whether or not your personalities mesh well is indifferent. All professional trainers are valuable resources and there to offer guidance.
Depending on the type of trainer you’re paired with, they may provide feedback during or after each training session. On the other hand, you may need to take the initiative and ask for feedback and critique on your performance. Bottom line, your attitude, willingness to learn, and unwavering motivation to continuously improve will ultimately decide the outcome of your CDL training. Although it can be difficult to accept constructive criticism, it provides valuable lessons and prevents repeating mistakes.
If there are specific areas that you need more practice in and the trainer doesn’t mention it, simply look for opportunities and ask. For example, if you’re at a truck stop and have downtime, ask your trainer if you can practice backing or turning around. Many of the larger franchises, like Truckstops of America and Petros, have over 300 parking spaces, which will provide ample space for practicing your maneuvers.
If you’re on a delivery and the trainer is driving, consider hopping out of the truck and observing their techniques. By focusing your attention on the tires and seeing how the trailer moves from various angles can be just as beneficial as driving yourself.
It’s common for trainees to complain they didn’t have enough practice backing the truck. While the training does provide all the tools and basics necessary, most drivers will tell you that it will take about a year before you’re truly comfortable driving and backing a truck. To quote the old adage, “practice makes perfect.”
Finally, in comparison to other career training options, CDL training offers flexible schedules and minimal investment. Then, in less than three months, you can enjoy life as a professional truck driver, exploring the country while making a nice salary.
To Learn More About Truck Driving
Suppose U Drive is an 85-year-old family-owned business that is always expanding. Dedicated to customer service and always working to modernize their fleet and services, they credit their ongoing success to a strong foundation of family values.
Stay up to date on current events that directly affect the trucking industry by signing up for our Suppose U Drive newsletter.