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What Skills Will You Learn in a Truck Driving Course?

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This article is sponsored by Master Drive Services.

semi truck fleet
Photo: Pixabay

Anyone who is thinking about becoming a truck driver in New Zealand is likely to be curious about the preparation. Specifically, what types of skills are learned in truck driver training? Discover the skills taught in a truck driving course that prepares trainees for a career on the road.

Proper driving skills

Truck drivers have to navigate the roads safely in all types of weather conditions and at all times of the day. A major skill taught to trainees is how to adjust their driving to the conditions of the road. In a quality truck driving class, trainees learn defensive driving skills to maintain their safety and the safety of their cargo. Part of this training involves teaching trainees how to identify safety hazards on the road before a crisis occurs. This gives them the tools they need to avoid getting into an issue before it happens. In addition, trainees learn how to navigate the streets of small towns and cities. This is excellent preparation if drivers need to take an alternate route that directs them away from the highway for a time. These skills are valuable for drivers no matter what type of truck they’re driving or cargo they’re hauling.

How to operate truck technology

Today’s trucks rely on a lot of technology. Collision mitigation technology is one example. Trainees in a truck driving class learn how this technology provides signals to the driver to warn them of a vehicle that is too close thereby increasing the risk of an accident. Another type of technology reviewed in this type of course is dynamic routing. This technology is used by truck drivers to set fuel-efficient routes and make adjustments due to weather conditions, construction, traffic levels, etc. A reputable truck driving class gives trainees the knowledge they need to confidently use this valuable technology in their daily work.

How to properly secure a load

Straps, binders, chains and more are used to secure a load on a truck. Learning how to secure a load to a truck is another skill taught in truck driver training. Also, drivers learn how to recognize if a load is secure or if there are some issues occurring that could cause a problem along the route.

Safety procedures

Along with safe driving practices, trainees are taught safety procedures related to the truck itself. For instance, if there’s a malfunction with the brakes of a truck or an issue with tire pressure, trainees are taught what to do in order to stop the truck safely to get the issues fixed by a mechanic. They are also taught the telltale signs of a mechanical malfunction. Some signs include unusual sounds and movements of a truck. Trainees who have this knowledge have a better chance to avoid being in an accident due to an instrument malfunction.

How to check truck weight

Trainees learn how to check their truck’s weight. Drivers have to adhere to New Zealand’s regulations of how much weight they can carry on the highways at one time. Carrying too much weight on a truck can result in delays and create safety hazards. So, it’s important to thoroughly learn the regulations in order to adhere to them.

The road code

Individuals in a truck driving class learn about the Road Code enforced in New Zealand. This involves learning about road signs, parking procedures, trailer requirements and more. Trainees learn about the Road Code and are tested to ensure they’ve absorbed all the elements of it.

Hooking and unhooking a trailer

This is another valuable skill learned by trainees in truck driver instruction. Coupling and uncoupling a trailer from a truck in a safe and efficient manner is something many truck drivers do on a daily basis. Trainees learn the steps of this process, then practice so they have hands-on experience. Not only do they learn how to couple and uncouple a trailer, they learn where to do it and under what conditions.

How to perform routine checks

Regardless of the length of the route, drivers must perform a routine check on their truck before leaving. Trainees in a truck driving course are taught the elements of these routine checks for both inside and outside the truck. The interior check involves checking to see if the oil pressure and tire pressure lights, windshield wipers, mirrors and more are operational. Some of the checks required for the exterior of the truck include headlights, taillights, tire condition, fuel tank cap and more. Though this pre-trip check takes a bit of time, trainees are taught the importance of evaluating the truck’s condition before getting in and starting the engine.

Hauling hazardous material

Some truck drivers haul hazardous materials. This requires a specific set of skills, so these materials remain intact and travel safely from point A to point B. Proper safety checks and emergency procedures are essential skills for a driver doing this type of hauling.

How to maintain a logbook

Another skill taught to trainees in truck driver training is how to maintain a logbook. This is a record of a driver’s activities including where they traveled, when they arrived, when they left and what was done at the location. Filling a logbook out correctly and completely is an important part of being successful as a truck driver.

How to handle invoices

Knowing how to handle invoices is an essential skill for a truck driver. Professional drivers are in charge of making sure the number of items in their load adds up and are signed off on when delivered to their destination. Organizing invoices and making sure they are accurate is an important part of being a responsible professional driver.

Finally, in a reputable truck driving school in New Zealand, these skills are taught by a knowledgeable instructor with experience on the road. So, not only do trainees benefit from the instructor’s lessons, but they also get valuable inside information on how to succeed in this line of work from someone who has been there.