Becoming a tow truck driver is a good choice with a positive outlook. Especially with spring coming up, the demand for transportation in the construction industry will increase. So, how to become a tow truck driver?
Tow Truck Driver Responsibility
The job duties of a tow truck driver may vary depending on the employer and the type of cargo being transported. But here are the common duties of tow truck drivers.
- Driving the truck: The primary responsibility of a truck driver is to safely operate the truck, including navigating traffic, following traffic laws, and adhering to safety regulations.
- Transporting cargo: Truck drivers may be responsible for transporting a variety of cargo, including goods, materials, and equipment. This may involve loading and unloading cargo, securing it in the truck, and ensuring it is delivered on time.
- Maintaining the truck: Truck drivers are often responsible for inspecting and maintaining their trucks, including performing routine maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations.
- Communicating with dispatchers: Truck drivers may need to communicate with dispatchers to receive information about routes, pick-up and delivery times, and other important details.
- Completing paperwork: Truck drivers may be responsible for completing various types of paperwork related to their cargo, such as bills of lading, inspection reports, and delivery confirmations.
- Adhering to safety regulations: Truck drivers must follow all safety regulations related to driving, including traffic laws, safety procedures, and regulations related to the transportation of hazardous materials.
- Planning routes: Truck drivers must be able to plan routes to ensure timely and efficient delivery of their cargo, taking into account factors such as traffic, road conditions, and weather.
- Maintaining logs: Truck drivers are often required to maintain logs of their driving hours and rest periods to comply with regulations related to driver fatigue.
How to Become a Tow Truck Driver
- Obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL): In the US, a CDL is required to drive a commercial vehicle. To obtain a CDL, you will need to pass a written knowledge test and a skills test that includes a pre-trip vehicle inspection, basic control skills, and an on-road driving test.
- Meet age requirements: To obtain a CDL, you must be at least 18 years old to drive intrastate and at least 21 years old to drive interstate.
- Meet other requirements: You must also meet other requirements, such as passing a medical exam, having a clean driving record, and being able to pass a drug and alcohol test.
- Consider attending a truck driving school: While not required, attending a truck driving school can help you gain the knowledge and skills needed to pass the CDL test and become a successful truck driver. These programs may last several weeks to several months and may include classroom instruction and hands-on driving practice.
- Gain experience: As a new driver, you may need to start with an entry-level job, such as driving a delivery truck, before moving on to larger commercial vehicles. Over time, you can gain experience and advance to higher-paying positions.
- Continue your education: To stay up-to-date on industry changes and regulations, it’s important to continue your education throughout your career. This may include taking refresher courses or attending industry conferences and seminars.
- Find a job: Once you have your CDL and some driving experience, you can start looking for truck driving jobs. There are many types of truck driving jobs available, including local, regional, and long-haul positions. Some drivers may also choose to work as owner-operators, owning and operating their own trucks.
- Consider additional endorsements: In addition to the basic CDL, there are several additional endorsements that can expand your job opportunities. For example, a hazardous materials (HazMat) endorsement allows you to transport hazardous materials, while a tanker endorsement allows you to transport liquids or gases in bulk.
What Skills Are Important for Tow Truck Drivers?
Driving skills are the most important skills for tow truck drivers. In addition, it would be better if a tow truck driver has the following skills.
- Attention to detail: Truck drivers must be detail-oriented, paying close attention to things like vehicle inspections, route planning, and cargo security.
- Time management: Delivering goods on time is crucial in the trucking industry, so truck drivers must be skilled in managing their time effectively and efficiently.
- Communication skills: Truck drivers must be able to communicate effectively with dispatchers, customers, and other drivers on the road. This includes using radios, cell phones, and other communication devices.
- Mechanical knowledge: While not all truck drivers are mechanics, a basic understanding of vehicle maintenance and repair is important for identifying potential issues and keeping vehicles in good working order.