Getting a commercial driver’s license to launch a career in trucking is probably a wise move. After all, you cannot start a trucking career without a CDL. The CDL is the single tool that allows someone to pursue employment in the trucking industry, since you cannot drive a large commercial truck without one.
As you move into the next phase of your career search, you should consider what other skills you can develop in order to get yourself into the trucking industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) spells out the list of qualities that are helpful to someone employed in the trucking industry as a driver. People who possess these skills may find a career in trucking more palatable to them, and those who lack these skills may find a more difficult way getting into trucking.
Hand-eye coordination. This skill is very helpful to those entering trucking. It’s important for truck drivers to have the manual skills to move their hands, feet and eyes at the same time, and coordinate their movements to keep the truck moving safely at high speeds. This is a fundamental skill that a truck driver must have.
Hearing. Federal trucking regulations requires truck drivers to have an acceptable level of hearing. Either with or without a hearing aid, a truck driver must be able to hear a “forced whisper.” This is a requirement, and anyone who cannot meet this requirement is disqualified from a job in trucking as a driver.
Physical health. There are some medical conditions that also disqualify people from working in trucking as drivers. Certain conditions, such as epilepsy or high blood pressure, can also disqualify someone from a job in trucking, serving as a driver. If your physical health is not up to par, you cannot work in trucking.
Visual ability. Vision is extremely important for someone in the trucking industry, and for drivers it is especially important. Indeed it’s a safety issue for a truck driver. If a driver doesn’t have good vision, they cannot safely operate a vehicle. As a result, the federal guidelines dictate that a driver must have 20/40 vision in each eye (with or without glasses or contacts) and have the ability to distinguish colors on a traffic light.
For anyone entering the trucking industry, these are vital skills to have, but certainly there are others. Patience is the quality that anyone in the trucking industry, especially drivers, must possess. When you are sitting in traffic, up against a deadline, patience is indeed a virtue, and a necessity for someone in trucking. Patience is important both on the road and on the docks, when waiting for a truck to get loaded up in preparation for a journey. Impatience may lead to an improperly inspected vehicle, or an improperly loaded vehicle, either of which would be bad for the trucking industry.
The ability to work independently is another skill that will help in trucking. If you are someone who needs a supervisor motivating you to keep moving, you may encounter issues in the trucking world. Truckers are alone much of the time, the ability to keep working in that environment is crucial to their success.
Knowing these trucking qualities is good for someone looking to enter the trucking industry. Obviously, there isn’t much you can do to improve your eyesight, or have better hearing, and if you have certain medical conditions, trucking simply isn’t the right career for you. However, if you can build up patience, and develop hand-eye coordination, and you have sufficient skills in the other areas, then you may be able to build a career in the trucking industry.
There are of course still other qualities that may serve you well when you’re getting into the trucking industry, but good job skills are good job skills. When you’re in trucking, you’re in a unique environment where you are both alone and constantly under scrutiny, with pressure to arrive safely and on time to your destination. If trucking is the career for you, don’t be afraid to pursue it.