For the most part, after you finish your trucking school and pass your CDL test, the next step will be to go out over the road with an experienced truck driver who will help train you in the everyday aspects of trucking.
I say for the most part because there are a few drivers who may be lucky to get a local company (trucking or non-trucking company) that may hire them on without over the road experience.
Truck drivers will tell you that no company can hire you as a new truck driver straight out of school. That is not true. Finding a company to hire you may be hard but it’s possible. I say it because I have seen it happen on numerous accounts.
Even though it is possible, I personally wouldn’t want to recommend you to take that route.
I would encourage you to invest at least 1-3 months of over the road training even if you have a company that is willing to hire you as a local truck driver.
The experience you get training over the road in different scenarios will be worth the time and sacrifice you invest.
When you get ready to go with your trainer, remember that you are going to be two people sharing a very small space. Don’t bring a lot of things with you.
You are going to be a “visitor” on someone else’s truck. When you get your own truck, you will be able to bring with you whatever you want. During training, you just want to carry the essentials.
Also, if something happens and you don’t get along with your trainer, you don’t want him or her throwing you off their truck with a bunch of stuff. (Yes it happens). You want to be able to get off the truck with a bag or two (at most) that will make it easy to get on a train or plane.
Here is a list of things you should consider.
1. A few clothes
I’m not going to tell you how many shirts of pants you need to go into detail that you need underwears and socks. I believe you can figure out what you need.
Don’t forget to bring bedsheets and a bedcover that will serve you well. I suggest you get a bed cover that is not bulky.
3. Personal hygiene stuff
This is everything you think you may need for your hygiene. Deodorant, toothpaste, lotion, nail clippers, shaving stuff, etc.
4. Towel and wash cloth
Although I’m not obsessed with cleanliness, I do consider myself a relatively clean person and one who is conscious about certain things.
Truck stops do provide you with towels, wash clothes, and bathing soap. But, I would personally advise you carry your own if you can.
5. Bathroom slippers.
Most truck drivers don’t mind showering bare feet at truck stop bathrooms. But, again, just for your health, I advise you bring bathroom slippers.
6. Dry, canned and microwaveable foods
You will need to pack some food for yourself if you want to save money while on the road. Truck stop food is very expensive.
Remember that when you are training you are not making a lot of money. So you want to be wise in your spending.
7. Microwaveable dish and cup
Having a microwaveable dish and cup will come in handy and will save you a lot of money too. One of the ways to save money and stay healthy on the road as a truck driver is to become creative in your eating habits.
Because you don’t have a stove in the truck or anywhere on the road for that matter, to help you cook, the microwave will become a cooking friend. So having a microwaveable dish and cup will help.
8. Water bottle/cup and flask
Over the road truck drivers usually drive for hours without taking a break. This is often necessary because the job requires us to make on time deliveries.
One of the way to ensure that is planning your journey. If you know you are going to be rolling down the highway for 4-5 hours without stopping, then you need to plan on what you will be eating and drinking during that time.
If you are like me who enjoys drinking hot tea, you definitely need to have a flask.
For the water bottle/cup, I suggest you get a really big one that also has the capability of keeping your water cold if you like cold water.
9. Laundry detergent
You will have an opportunity to do laundry at the truck stops. So bring yourself some detergent because the one at the truck stops is a bit pricey.
10. Work gloves
Hooking and unhooking will be a big part of your job. Most trainers enjoy sitting back and having the trainee do that stuff. So get yourself some good work gloves to help protect your hands.
These are the things I think will help you get through your training smoothly. They should be able to fit in a good big traveling bag.
Until next time,