Truck driving has benefited a great deal over the years from technology. Power steering was one the first concepts that made truck driving easier, and much safer. Fifty years ago, truck drivers often had to physically wrestle the steering wheel of a truck. It’s one of the reasons why a truck’s steering wheel is so big – a larger wheel delivers more power for less effort. These days, a truck could be driven with a racing car’s steering wheel, it just wouldn’t look right in such a large truck (and it would take some getting used to).
Technology has made inroads in a lot areas around a truck. Whether it’s improved hydraulics, gear boxes, or linkages (and that’s just touching the surface), technology is helping to improve safety. In more recent times, we have had the adoption of GPS technology, back to base communication technology, and even speed limiters designed to stop drivers going too fast. Drivers can even take a breath analyzer before getting behind the wheel just to ensure they are not driving with any alcohol in their system.
Although technology has made these changes, truck driver training still relies on the basics. Reversing, driving in traffic, changing lanes, even handling tight corners require practice. We have yet to see a perfect automatic system that will help drivers in any of these situations. Reversing cameras may help when it comes to seeing what’s directly behind a driver, however, they won’t help the driver turn the steering wheel in the right direction or apply the right level of acceleration and braking. These are skills the driver still needs to learn and practice.
When assessing truck driver training schools, your first question should relate to hands on training in a real truck in real situations. The more hours you can spend behind the wheel developing those skills, the more prepared you’ll be for your CDL tests, and for employment.