Duties for a Long Haul Truck Driver
The lives of long haul truck drivers are not only a mix of adventure and traveling, but also a call to sacrificing the daily presence at dinner tables with their families. Over-the-road drivers often drive from coast to coast for at least three weeks and, therefore, live exciting but nomadic lifestyles. The drivers spend most of their time inside their trucks and are often unsure when and where their next loads will take them. They return to their homes after every few weeks, but they do not have all the time to spend at home doing the daily chores of homemaking and parenting. So what does it take to be a long haul truck driver?
The solitude of long haul trucking requires individuals with strong character because spending around 20 out of your 24 daily hours in seclusion requires immense resilience and a positive attitude. Moreover, during their work, the truckers have dock workers, waitresses and other drivers as their only companions, and may never find the calm and space to engage in conversations with these people. So, long haul truck drivers should be individuals who can cheer themselves up, remain focused even in adversity and have enough mental strength to take on the challenges, fears and anxieties that the long hours of loneliness and driving present. Part of the character of the long haul truck driver must be the ability to travel locally, regionally and across the country. They must be people who can tolerate long hours of driving and must, therefore, be in good and robust physical health. Besides, they must be disciplined enough to adhere to the strict driving regulations, such as the number of hours each driver can work every week. Similarly, the drivers should have the capacity to select the safest driving routes and to adhere to the strict transportation deadlines. Equally, long haul truck drivers should have good driving judgment and good eyesight.
Training, Certification and Licensing
To be long haul truck drivers, individuals must have at least GED certificates or high school diplomas. The prospective drivers usually enroll in truck driving courses in accredited institutions in order to gain experience. After they complete their driving training and receive their certificates, the drivers pursue a CDL course in which they must pass a written exam and demonstrate strong truck operation abilities. They are then issued with the commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the states or countries where they live. Generally, drivers issued with CDL licenses must be 21 years or older, not suffering from diabetes or epilepsy, have normal vision, blood pressure, hearing and general health, have never been convicted of DUI, crime of using drug or felony involving a vehicle, and must have passed the written safety regulations exam.
The drivers must be capable of discharging the responsibilities of long haul truck drivers before they can start work. For instance, the drivers must have the ability to drive and operate articulated or straight trucks that weigh more than 4600kg and have 3 or more axles. The drivers must also be able to keep an eye on all aspects of the truck during loading and unloading, and must be able to ensure the safety of cargo and equipment. Similarly, the drivers should be able to perform emergency roadside repairs, obtain the special documents required to transport commodities on international routes and keep track of the distance travelled, cargo, fuel, and other information on the on-board computer or in the log book. Equally, long haul truck drivers should be able to conduct pre-trip inspections of lights, tires, cold storage and brakes; to master the safety precautions to employ when transporting dangerous or hazardous products, and to drive as part of convoys or two-person teams.