There’s more to driving a truck than just knowing the road rules, steering, changing gears, accelerating and braking – the basic skills that all car drivers must learn and prove themselves to be proficient at. Commercial truck drivers obviously need those skills as well, however, there are many more skills that would-be truck drivers need to learn. Some of the more basic skills include:
- Map reading,
- Trip planning,
- Department of Transportation laws, particularly as they relate to load limits and log books,
- Reversing with a trailer,
- Turning, and
- Coupling and uncoupling a trailer.
When it comes to actual driving, there are several advanced truck driving skills that would-be truck drivers need to learn. These relate very much to the safety aspect of truck driving and include:
- Skid avoidance and recovery,
- Dealing with a break away trailer,
- Preventing a jack-knife situation (and dealing with one), and
These are skills that truck drivers require whilst always hoping they never need to use them – except of course for preventing a jack-knife from occurring. These are also situations that are hard to practice except perhaps in a truck driving school controlled environment. A skid pan can be used to practice skid avoidance, and the best recovery techniques should your truck start to skid.
In today’s hectic transport world, truck drivers are expected to get their loads to a destination in the fastest time possible whilst not incurring any breaches in transport rules and regulations. Map reading and trip planning are a first step, however, it doesn’t matter how perfect your plans are. If you lose a load by skiddding and overturning, for example, then you can forget about arriving on time – you won’t arrive at all.
When considering truck driver training, find out exactly which skills they intend training you in – you need the most comprehensive training possible.