- What Does a Truck Driver Do?
- A Day in the Life of a Truck Driver
- What Are the Duties of a Semi-Truck Driver?
- How to Become a Truck Driver
- What Makes a Good Truck Driver?
- Truck Driving Jobs With Holt of California
Drive anywhere today, and you’re bound to come across trucks hauling something somewhere. Truck drivers keep the country running with daily deliveries of valuable goods and supplies. Whether it’s delivering to distribution centers, warehouses, manufacturing plants, construction sites or retail establishments, trucking is essential to keep everyday life humming.
What are the responsibilities of a semi-truck driver? If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a truck driver, or are thinking about becoming a truck driver, read on for everything you should know.
What Does a Truck Driver Do?
Truck drivers perform various important tasks and are essential workers that keep the country moving forward. These important workers deliver goods by truck or tractor-trailer, with jobs that can be local, regional or national in scope. While the heavy-duty truck driver job description can vary, most truck drivers share similar abilities and skills.
Great driving skills are an absolute must. Heavy truck driver duties and responsibilities also include having an extensive knowledge of truck maintenance, performing preventative maintenance checks, planning out the best routes for travel and staying up to date on any necessary industry information. Truck drivers may also need to complete paperwork and other administrative duties.
A Day in the Life of a Truck Driver
What does a semi-truck driver do? In short, surprisingly more than simply driving a truck. There are many different types of truck drivers, all with their own unique schedules, routines and job requirements. Let’s take a look at a typical day in the life of a truck driver:
While truck drivers’ schedules vary and can be flexible, many drivers choose to get an early start, often waking up as early as 5 or 6 a.m. Truck drivers need energy to stay alert on the road, so what they do in the morning is key to ensuring they’re refreshed and ready for the day.
When a driver is ready to start the day, they often begin with a pre-trip inspection of their vehicle. Big rig truck driver duties include making sure their equipment is in good working order before starting out on their drive. The driver may check everything from the engine, tires and brakes to the fuel levels, lights and coupling system, followed by a quick check inside of the cabin.
Next, the driver may stock up on snacks from home or the nearest convenience store and fill up the truck with fuel. The next step may vary, depending on the specific job duties, but may include driving to a warehouse to pick up a new load or simply starting out on the road.
The late mornings into the afternoon hours are often consumed by long drives. Based on commercial truck driving regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers can’t legally drive more than 11 consecutive hours in one day. On average, that comes out to around 500 miles.
By far, the majority of a truck driver’s day is spent driving from one point to another to deliver cargo. Some drivers may have shorter, local trips and may be able to complete several deliveries in a day, while others are in for the long haul and take all day — or several days — to reach their ultimate destination.
Some truck drivers keep driving and working into the evening on some days, but many are ready to be done for the day. The evening routine can vary, depending on the type of truck and route distance. If the driver is close to home, they may return home. If it’s a farther distance route, the driver may be looking for a rest stop or hotel for the night.
Once parked for the night, an additional inspection of all the equipment is a good idea. Some paperwork and administrative duties may also be necessary before calling it a night.
What Are the Duties of a Semi-Truck Driver?
Ultimately, a heavy-duty truck driving job can vary greatly depending on the specifics of each job and if the driver works independently or for a company.
These are a few of the most common Class-A truck driver duties:
- Long haul: This type of truck driving involves long-distance driving, sometimes taking multiple days to complete. The day-to-day involves plenty of driving, and the driver may experience traveling across the country.
- Drop and hook: This term refers to a trucking job where the driver drops off a full container, leaves it at the destination and picks up an empty container in exchange. The empty container is then hauled back to the starting point or to a different location.
- Live unload: In a live unload, a truck driver delivers a load and waits while it’s unloaded on-site. Then, the driver returns with the same empty container to the starting point, ready for the next delivery job.
How to Become a Truck Driver
If semi-truck driver job duties sound like something you could do, you might be wondering just what you need to do to get the job. Here are the primary steps and requirements for getting a job as a truck driver:
- Meet age requirements: The first requirement for driving commercial vehicles is meeting the age requirement, which is 21. However, you may be able to earn a learner’s permit by age 18 and start training early.
- Meet minimum education requirements: One of the responsibilities of a class-A truck driver is to have at least a high school education. Most jobs will require a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
- Have a regular driver’s license: Before earning a commercial driving license, you must have a regular driver’s license. You may be able to drive smaller delivery trucks with this type of license alone, while you work on the next steps.
- Go through professional training: Class-A truck driver duties and responsibilities go beyond simply being able to drive a vehicle. Professional training instruction can include learning based on the trucking industry, trip planning strategies and basic truck mechanics. It’ll also involve driving practice in a controlled environment.
- Get your CDL: To drive a truck, you’ll need a commercial drivers’ license (CDL). A CDL has three different classifications — A, B and C — depending on the weight of vehicle you plan on driving. CDL-A is the most common and most versatile option for truck drivers. If you plan on transporting certain types of goods or specialty vehicles such as tanker trucks or school buses, you may need additional endorsements on your license.
After these steps, you should have all of the qualifications you need to become a licensed truck driver. Once you’re employed, the responsibilities of a semi-truck driver may also include some additional training or a finishing program with your employer. These training programs will ensure you’re familiar with any company-specific equipment and company policies.
What Makes a Good Truck Driver?
A good candidate for a truck driving career is someone who’s hardworking and can solve problems independently. A variety of issues may come up during a truck driving job, and a good driver will have to think on their feet and solve various problems on the road.
They also must be able to work well with minimal supervision, but also be good communicators, sharing timely and clear information with customers, supervisors, warehouse workers and other necessary individuals. Some knowledge of mechanics is very helpful.
Generally, truck driving isn’t a standard 9-to-5 job and often involves long hours, so if you’re expecting normal office hours, this isn’t the job for you. However, many truck drivers enjoy the atypical schedules and the ability to travel and see different parts of the country. For many people, it can be a very interesting and exciting career!
Truck Driving Jobs With Holt of California
Are you intrigued about the exciting life of a truck driver and want to find out more? Holt of California provides heavy equipment solutions across the state and has worked with customers in the industry for more than 90 years. Our company has many opportunities for anyone considering a career as a truck driver.
At Holt of California, our employees enjoy many benefits including competitive pay, paid time off, holidays, ongoing professional training and development and more. Learn more about the wide variety of truck driver jobs in our company and apply with us online. Come see for yourself what it’s like to have a rewarding career as a truck driver at Holt of California.