Trucks are the lifeblood of trade within countries and continents. Once container vans have left the ships that ferry them across oceans for trade, it is up to the truck drivers to carry the precious cargo to their respective destinations. Since a lot of money is at stake, people who want to enter the work force as a driver for these trucking firms are required to have a special type of license. Commercial driving licenses are issued for people who drive for a living.
Generally, it is required that applicants for the commercial driving license are of legal age (at least 21 years old) and have a comprehensive physical exam that includes laboratory tests, such as drug tests. Aspirants also have to have a valid license issued by the same state or country that he or she wishes to apply in.
The license is mandated by law because these trucks are big vehicles than can cause a lot of damage if not handled by a capable professional. The steps to making the grade for the commercial driving license is quite straightforward and is quite similar to how a non-professional would get a license.
- Basic knowledge about trucks and trailers. Step one would consist of general knowledge test that would assess a person’s familiarity with the knowledge needed to be a good driver. The contents and coverage of the exam would be markedly different though, as trucks and similar vehicles are of a totally different breed from the usual car. Aside from understanding how the engine works and proving that you can do necessary repairs should anything happen, there are also other components of the vehicle that are unique to this make. Knowledge about air breaks for instance might be part of the aptitude test.
The trailer also has many parts that are not present in a regular car. Knowing how the cargo is to be secured at the trailer or bed of a truck as well as making sure that all the other parts of the truck is in tip top shape is very important.
- Emergencies. As a truck driver, you would also have to be aware of how to address emergencies that could arise from driving such a large vehicle. This includes knowing the protocols regarding hazardous substances and doing the proper and appropriate method of alerting people about the incident.
- Written examination. Studying is key for this part of the certification. Try to recall which study habits worked for you back in high school and college. Chances are they will still work for you for this particular task. There are also plenty of online mock tests that you can use for practice. If you feel that you’re not scoring well, focus on your problem areas and take another practice test.
- Practical test. Once you pass the written part of the exam, you will be asked to do a road test. This is where you would show that you can put into action what you have in your head. This practical skills test involves three parts: the pre-trip inspection, actual vehicle handling and driving along public roads. Once you’ve done these satisfactorily, you will be given you well-deserved commercial driving license.
Since commercial driving is usually a special skill, you can expect to be in demand, especially if the shipping business is booming. Be sure to drive safely and always be courteous on the road.