Before deciding to become a CDL driver, it is important to understand what you should do on a daily basis. Although a driving career is your long-life dream, the jobs of a trucker are by no means the simple ones.
Many people think that they just need to deliver various kinds of freight from point A to point B. But there are so much more involved in this challenging job. Here are the daily tasks of a CDL driver that you need to know.
1. Plan and organize
Planning a road trip is definitely the most important task of being a CDL driver. Each day, you must take and review the dispatched instructions for accuracy before leaving. It is important to have a look at the orders and familiarize yourself with the local region to find some fuel stops or avoid dangers.
More importantly, to avoid delays or accidents due to weather conditions, you also need to check the weather forecast and roadmap wisely. With so many available electronic devices for drivers, there is no excuse for not implementing a solid trip plan.
2. Maintain and repair equipment
Before hitting the road, a comprehensive inspection of the trailer and truck is important to ensure the safety of the driver. In general, a CDL driver should examine the normal functioning of lights, brakes, proper tire pressure, sufficient levels of fluid levels and much more.
During the trip, you should notice any issues, no matter how serious they are, to inform the company. An owner-operator should schedule the repairs during the off time.
3. Keep records
Another important duty of a CDL driver is to keep the records, including electronic and paper logs on a daily basis throughout the trip. In addition, they should keep in contact with the employers for delivery, pick-up or any changes in the plan.
Keeping and carrying paper records of the transported goods are really important when you cross the international borders or in the event of a roadside inspection. What’s more, you can claim different expenses on the tax returns with a proper record of these receipts on the road.
4. Load and unload the freight
Depending on the type of goods that need to be transported, the job of a CDL driver can vary. For example, flatbed tasks require securing the loads with tarps and straps, while general goods require a careful supervision of the loading process and often load secured and locked as needed.
When a CDL driver arrives at the destination, it is necessary to submit the cargo documents and papers to the receiver. In general, you should not need to unload the cargos. However, this does not always happen in the real world. In some cases, a trucking company might ask the CDL driver to unload the goods with additional pay. And the unfortunate trucker is sometimes asked to do this without any support. Of course, this is only worst case scenario, but it is still better to be forewarned about this before you decide to become a CDL driver.