How to Drive a Semi Truck

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How to Drive a Semi Truck. Semi trucks move numerous loads of consumer goods and industrial products across the country daily. Operation and maintenance of these big rigs takes special training. Anyone who wants to drive a semi truck need a special driver's license and an understanding of the demands of semi truck driving. Read on to find out how to drive a semi truck and begin a career that offers travel and independence.

Understand that a commercial driver's license is required in order to operate a semi truck. The test requires general knowledge about semi trucks, air brakes and combination vehicles. The physical part of the exam covers the pre-trip inspection, driver control skills and a road test.

Find a credible truck driving school in your area. Look in the phone book or perform a search online. Semi truck driving schools instruct students how to gauge and check fuel levels, use the air brake and Jake brake effectively, properly secure cargo and use safety equipment. The instruction also covers federal rules and regulations.

Know that a hazardous materials certificate is required if you are going to transport hazardous materials in your semi truck. Call the Department of Transportation to find out about hazardous materials training in your area.

Understand the pros and cons of driving a semi truck professionally. Some drivers own a semi truck and are their own boss; others drive commercial trucks and have set hours and destinations. Semi truck drivers are on the road often and get to see various parts of the country. Some drivers work alone, while others have a partner.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be aware of the federal rules and regulations for semi truck drivers. On long trips, drivers must take breaks at certain intervals. Know the weight of the cargo you are hauling and do not exceed weight limits. Weigh cargo at state highway weigh stations. Take notes in a driver's log book and file detailed reports as required.

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