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Fuel for Thought

So you want to be a truck driver

By Greg Huggins
Posted Mar 8th 2021 8:44AM

So you want to be a truck driver. Maybe your goal is to one day own a truck. If you are new to trucks and trucking, you might attend one of the many truck driving schools available. While the right truck driving school might give you the knowledge and ability to pass the exams required to obtain your CDL, many only teach the tests. Don’t let your passing the CDL exams be the end of your learning, in fact, that is just the beginning.

DUCK! Okay, you will not be able to duck under some things. When you start your truck driving career, you always need to remember to look up. Up until now, you probably never considered clearances for your car, but the truck demands your attention to this very important detail. Low bridges, trees or tree limbs, overhead wires and awnings on buildings just to name a few. And as far as trees and tree limbs go, weather can significantly affect these. Rain, snow and ice can make limbs sag. Even on regular routes where you may have gone a dozen times before, rain or snow can reduce the clearance of tree limbs. 

You may be able to zip around in your little car, but now you will need to be constantly aware of the length of your truck. Turning in parking lots and avoiding cars, curbs, trees, signs or any other obstacle, should now be your priority.. This may sound simple, but for new truck drivers, this may not be a first thought untils the rear axle is stuck against a tree or a car.

Speed is another one to consider. Your car may stop on a dime, but that truck will not. Speed limits are posted for the maximum safe speed on a given roadway - in good weather. Slow it down when the weather turns bad and remember, it is legal to drive UNDER the posted speed limit.

Exit ramps have posted speed limits to safely exit the highway. Unless specifically marked, these are car speed limits. Your truck is heavier and may need to exit well below the speed limit. If you have not learned about inertia yet, now would be a great time to understand it.

These are just some of the most common things that new truck drivers need to know. Again this is just the beginning. Keep learning. Getting a CDL is just like graduating kindergarten, you’ve got a long way to go on the journey you have only just begun. You will get there if you don’t think graduating truck driving school as the final test of your abilities.

Be safe.

See you down the road,