This article is step 9 in our multi-step Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a CDL Driver. To read the entire guide follow the link above to be taken to our step by step slideshow.
ARGH, nobody likes taking tests, and less people like being told what to do, but in order to get your CDL you must both. For some, passing their written exams and conquering their driving skills test is no easy feat. This means you need to study and be willing to listen to the instruction of your driver training. Here is some advice for things you can do to avoid failing your CDL training.
Go to School or Driver Training Ready to Work
Training to become a CDL driver can be difficult for some people because of the amount of technical information that needs to be learned in order to pass your written exams. Make sure you’re committed to learning as much as before you start. Remember – any fool can push a pedal down and crank a wheel, but that’s not what truck drivers do. You will be learning much more than how to hold a steering wheel correctly, such as complicated state regulatory procedures, engine and tractor maintenance and how to navigate legal issues that arise while you are on the road. Don’t treat CDL training as a “pay to play” scheme, because it’s not. So when you enter training, get serious, be ready to work and then make friends to form your network of support.
Adjust Your Attitude
Trucking companies put a lot of faith in their drivers. They don’t hire just anyone to navigate an 80,000 pound semi trailer through commuter traffic and hazardous highways. If you broadcast the attitude of a know-it-all without the skills to back it up, CDL trainers will make note and this might cause hiring issues for you later. Trucking involves a lot of aptitude tests and background checks. Fleet owners will want to know everything they can about you so during the hiring process trucking companies go to great lengths to conduct a thorough background check on you. Before starting your career as a trucker make sure your driving and legal records are clean. When you are in orientation or going through training make sure you present a positive attitude. Presenting a little positivity goes a long way.
Don’t Give Up
Truck drivers have to be self-reliant. Often times they’re the only ones looking out themselves. On the road they have to be smart, vigilant and crafty to keep things rolling smooth. You have to be the same way when training for your CDL. Don’t get us wrong – you should do all you can to make friends and build a network of professionals that can help you with certain things later. Just don’t expect help whenever you need it. While in training, don’t let things you find difficult frustrate you to the point of quitting. Truck driving is a profession, but it’s most definitely a skill. Skill requires practice and adjustments. Be ready to endure a lot of it while learning to drive. Every trucker will have a story of mistakes and how they overcame setbacks. Just make sure you’re ready to learn from these mistakes once you begin.