The Truck Driver Job Description
When searching employment opportunities, you will find that almost any truck driver job description includes various duties in addition to driving a big rig. Your specific tasks vary depending on the type of trucking job you apply for and the needs of the hiring company.
However, a truck driver’s tasks extend well beyond any job description you read. Driving a truck is a huge responsibility and you will need to develop a wide range of skills to survive and be successful.
Responsibilities Not Specified in a Truck Driver Job Description
A truck driver job description could be similar to the following:
Responsible for driving a tractor-trailer in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations as well as company policies and procedures to transport various materials in a safe and timely manner.
Additional responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Responsible for proper loading and securing of freight to prevent movement and allow safe transport. Assist in loading and unloading as required.
- Maintain accurate records and logs.
- Perform vehicle inspections and preventative maintenance before, during and after trips; responsible for brake adjustments, tire chain-ups and minor repairs as needed while on the road.
- Keep the interior and exterior of cab clean
The job description above sounds fairly descriptive, right? Yet, many of your responsibilities are not included in this or other truck driver job descriptions.
For instance, the job description does not mention planning routes. Big rigs cannot travel all of the roads a passenger vehicle can, and not all truck routes are marked. Even if given directions, including specific routes to take, you may find yourself facing a detour. Know how to read a map, plan for the unexpected, and don’t hit the road without a Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas.
Also missing from the job description are tasks you might train for in trucking school, but become skilled at through experience, such as backing a 70’ foot tractor-trailer into tight loading docks most people would have trouble backing a car into. You will need to know how to adjust the weight of your load between axles to comply with weight limitations and how to plan trips so you meet delivery schedules after waiting hours for a load. It happens.
You will drive in extreme weather conditions and on roads seemingly too narrow for a big rig. You will drive in heavy traffic at times, and must learn to predict what the traffic might do so you can stay one step ahead of it at all times. Stopping an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer at highway speed is not an easy task. How you react could mean the difference between life and death.
In general, there will be a lot missing from a truck driver job description. Driving a big rig is not an easy job, but if you know what to expect and feel ready to meet the challenge, it can be a rewarding career.