How many of us can drive a truck? Most people wouldn’t know where to start. All they see is a huge chunk of metal with wheels and can’t fathom driving it. Using this guide will give a crash course (no pun intended) in truck driving and what it’s like on the road with these monsters. It also may help one understand the world of the truck driver and give them a new found respect for them. One of the first steps every truck driver must do before setting out on a trip is the pre-trip inspection. On some tractor-trailers there are as much as one hundred items that need to be checked or replaced.
Some of these items include wheels and tires, brakes, lights, and fuel containers. All of which can be a major hazard to other drivers if they are not fixed or properly secured. Another equally important step for a truck driver is making sure the cargo is properly stowed or locked down. Depending on the trailer type there are various ways to properly secure the cargo, such as straps, chains, and wedge blocks. If the cargo isn’t properly secured it can shift and cause the truck to be overweight in a certain area. Being overweight on a certain side or on a certain axel can have a devastating effect on the road or on the truck itself.
Federal dictates the no tractor-trailer can exceed 80,000 lbs without proper paperwork. Another area that needs to be checked thoroughly is the inside of the cab and the dash instruments. Most trucks have three times as many gauges as a pedestrian vehicle. Some that you would not find in a car is the air (psi), exhaust temp. , turbo pressure, and oil temperature. It is very important that we keep a check on all the various fluids the truck needs as well. Most trucks will not crank if a fluid level is to low such as the water. Once out on the road a truck driver has to be extremely cautious and aware of what is happening on the road.
One of the most overlooked and easiest things to do is watching the mirrors very often. The mirrors are there to help you drive safely and efficiently. It is a very important step to master for the safety of ourselves and the other drivers. There are many more steps and regulations to go along with truck driving. Each state has its own rules and regulations as well as certain cities. Most of which can be viewed on the state DMV website. I hope this essay helps anyone looking to become a truck driver, and remember, keep an eye on those mirrors.