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New Driver Checklist

I hope this helps some of you new future truckers of America while preparing to attend CDL training school. It’s pretty well straight, blunt and to the point. Most of these are commonly asked questions.



* You’ll need a CDL or learner’s permit

* You must have a relatively clean driving record

* Be able to verify employment

* Have no addictions to drugs or alcohol

* Be able to pass a drug screen

* Be able to pass a basic physical test, including hearing and vision

* Have a desire to drive truck

* Have an interest in mechanical things


* Choose your training: private driving school, public (state) driving
school, carrier-sponsored school or personal training with an

* Realize that attending a school takes resources of both time and money

* After graduating driving school, you’ll be required to go through more training by your employer

* You’ll be put in a truck with a stranger (your trainer) and you’ll
ride with him at least four to six weeks before you’re given your own
truck to drive

Lifestyle Change

* Discuss a trucking career with your family, especially if this is a mid-life career change

* It requires a lot of adjusting for both you and your family

* Your schedule will keep you away from your family for extended periods of time

* Role changes – the stay-at-home spouse has to handle being mother and
father, nurturer and caretaker, along with handling any problems that
arise (with children, bills, repairs, etc.) because truck drivers can’t
always be reached

* You will have to make extra effort to stay in touch and be involved in your family’s life

* You’re going to miss special events in your family’s life (like birthdays, births, anniversaries, holidays and sport events)

A Whole Different Place

* Ride with somebody and see what truck driving is like

* It’s not an 8-5 job; you are called out 24 hours a day

* It’s a stressful job and it gets nasty out there

* You have to be able to make decisions and do things unsupervised

* There are many distractions on the road–drugs, women and gambling to
name a few- Women will show you what they have while driving, some
truck stops have places to gamble in them and drugs are everywhere.

* It’s a lonely profession even though you’re surrounded by people

* Your only company is the radio or CB

* You’ll work irregular hours and have an erratic sleeping schedule

* Being gone for one week might seem okay, but it’s week after week after week

* The trucking world is a whole different place and it’s a drastic change from a regular job


* Have enough savings to cover living costs while you’re training and settling into employment

* You may receive very little compensation during your employer’s training period

* It may take awhile to receive the first paycheck depending upon the company’s pay period

* It takes awhile to get money flowing

* Don’t count on signing bonuses–they’re often withheld until you’ve
been with the company for a certain amount of time or are spread out in
payments over the year

* It costs money to live on the road

* You’ll have to pay for your own food, laundry, shower, snacks, entertainment, etc.

* Phone charges home can add up- make sure you check your cell phone plan ahead of time


* Don’t fall for the gimmicks in advertisements: “Get paid to see the country; you’ll be home every weekend”

* Recruiters will make many promises; they aren’t always kept-Remember
they are getting their next meal from getting you hired onto the
company they work for

* In reality, you’re days will be longer than what you’ve been told

* If you’re going into trucking to make “big bucks,” you’re not going to last

* Over-the-road truck driving is a tremendous commitment, not something to be taken lightly

* It is not for everyone–you’ll find out after about six weeks on the road if you’re cut out for it or not

* If you don’t like OTR driving it’s not the end of the world; you can find a job driving locally or just go back home.

Student Things to Take List

1. Drivers license and Fed Med card (duh, yes some people forget them!!)

2. Diploma or GPA sheet from your school

3. Social Security card (UNLAMINATED!)

4. List of your personal references

5. List of previous addresses

6. List of wife’s and children’s Social Security numbers and birth dates

7. A blank check or deposit slip from your bank (for direct deposit)

8. A phone card

9. Notebook

10. Calculator (as big as possible)

11. Ink pens and pencils

12. Highlighter

13. Prescription medications

14. Prescription eye glasses

15. List of any previous medications or surgeries you’ve had in the last few years

16. Police reports from any accidents in which you may have been involved

17. Full explanations for any arrests

18. A ten-year work history

19. As much cash as you can afford (or an ATM card)

20. Cell phone and charger

__________________________________________________ __

Things For The Truck (Clothes)

1. 3-5 pairs of good (hole free) blue jeans or work pants

2. 5-7 pairs of socks (Take more if you are pulling a flatbed)

3. 5-7 pairs of underwear

4. 3 bras, sports bras would work well (no, not for you guys!)

5. 5-7 heavyweight t-shirts (no offensive logos)

6. 2-3 good sweatshirts (also with no offensive logos)

7. Good polo shirt or something with a collar

8. Belt (or suspenders)

9. Work boots

10. “Comfy” driving shoes

11. Light jacket (sweatshirts or hoodies work for me)

12. Good weather-proof WARM coat (preferably with an attached hood)

13. Knit hat, stocking hat

14. Good cold weather gloves (not work gloves!)

15. 1 pair heavyweight socks

16. 1-2 sets of long johns

17. Work gloves (pigskin type)

18. Coveralls (Weather permitting)


Personal Hygiene Stuff

* Shower Kit

1. Travel bag

2. Toothpaste & toothbrush

3. Shampoo (pop-top not screw-on caps)

4. Conditioner (if you care about that stuff)

5. Soap (liquid travels better)

6. Disposable razors (or extra razors if you are not the disposable type)

7. Shaving gel or creme

8. Aftershave lotion

9. Antiperspirant

10. Travel mirror

11. Comb or brush

12. Tweezers

13. Nail clippers

14. Small scissors

15. Lotion

16. Feminine hygiene products (If ya need em!)

17. Shower shoes (Cheap pair of flip flops work, you will understand at your first truck stop experience)

18. Laundry soap (plastic bottle w/cap)

* Bedding

1. Sleeping bag (extreme cold mummy bag type)

2. Sheet and/or blanket for milder temps

3. Big pillow or pillows

4. Alarm clock (one that will wake you up!)- Screaming Meanie at Pilot
is pretty loud OR download an extremely loud ringtone for your cell
phone at http://www.myxer.com type in Sirens LOL it will wake you up. Or should.


It is illegal to use a hand held mobile phone while driving. If you need to talk

on the move, get a proper “hands-free” system installed.

Use secure parking areas wherever possible. Don’t park in isolated, unlit

places, especially at night. Don’t tell strangers about your load or
itinerary. Inspect your vehicle and load for signs of unauthorized
entry or tampering before resuming your journey.

Professional driving is very demanding, so you need to stay fit,
physically and mentally. Eating and drinking healthily and taking
regular exercise will help you feel better, drive better and live

Adjust your seat so you are sitting as comfortably as possible, with all controls within easy reach.

Use your seat belt, and don’t forget your co-driver. Even truck drivers
can die if they go through the windshield, or if the airbag is
released, when the seat belt is not used! Anyone resting in a bunk
should be secured when the vehicle is in motion.

Respect the legal requirements related to driving and rest times. Use your rest hours… to rest!

Don’t drink alcohol before driving, and don’t take any kind of drugs or
medication that may impair your driving skills. Avoid heavy meals
before driving, as these can make you feel drowsy.

Don’t continue driving if you feel drowsy – STOP! Get out of your vehicle,

stretch your legs and get some fresh air.

Is everything in good working order? Have you checked the brakes (both
tractor and trailer), tires (pressure and tread depth), coolant and
oil? What about the mirrors, windows, windshield wipers, lights,
indicators? How about special equipment like extinguishers and snow
chains? Is there any visible damage to the vehicle?

Is the load evenly distributed and properly secured? Will you have to
redistribute it and secure it again if you unload part of it before
driving on?

Check your route. Any bridges, tunnels, etc. where your vehicle might
have a problem (dimensions, weight, dangerous goods)? Is it preferable
to make use of motorways, and avoid residential areas? Where will you
take your breaks? Check weather conditions!

Remember your blind angle prevents you from seeing other road users (cars,

motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians) close to your vehicle.

Pay particular attention when:

– Turning, in case a vehicle is overtaking in your blind view

– Backing up

Don’t overtake, unless you are sure that you have enough room and will not force other vehicles to slow down.

Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you – in any case, at
least the minimum legal distance. The faster you drive, the greater the
separation you need. The safe distance increases with rain, mud,

ice and snow.

Stop if your engine has a defect or the retarder becomes overheated. Don’t

proceed until you are sure that there is no further risk of overheating or failure.

Try to anticipate problems. Avoid sudden braking and acceleration which may be dangerous to other road users or waste fuel.

Respect traffic regulations at all times. Don’t adopt the bad habits of
other road users. Driving safely protects your life, the lives of
others and your job!

In case of a breakdown, accident or other emergency, inform your company

and/or the local emergency services immediately. Program emergency numbers into your mobile phone.

After the trip, report to your company any problems with your vehicle,
the routes you used, or the deliveries you made, so that repairs or
adjustments can be made before the next trip.

At night, dim your headlights in good time when traffic approaches from the

opposite direction. Make sure your lights and reflectors are clean, so that your vehicle is visible.

Adapt your driving to weather conditions. When roads are slippery with rain,

mud, ice or snow, reduce your speed. Don’t forget your chains, and
don’t forget to remove snow and ice from the roof of your vehicle.
Reduce your speed when driving in fog, rain or in twilight, and in

Park only where permitted. Take care not to obstruct traffic or the
vision of other road users and avoid residential areas. Make sure the
vehicle cannot move when unattended. Don’t leave your engine running
unnecessarily. Be on the look out when parking at places to shop or
whatnot for signs of No Truck Parking or No parking, and Tow Away Zones.


Driver’s Checklist

As a driver of a commercial motor vehicle, you will need:

* A current, valid driver’s license for the vehicle being driven

* Your medical examiner’s certificate

* A copy of the vehicle’s registration

* A copy of the previous day’s daily vehicle inspection report

* Proof of vehicle insurance

* Driver’s daily log book

* Proof of proper operating authority, if operating for-hire

* A copy of your Uniform Hazardous Material Credentials, if handling HazMat that requires the vehicle to be placarded

* Documentation of U.S. DOT number

* A copy of your U.S. DOT Hazardous Materials Certificate of Registration or other document showing your Registration number

DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT YOUR CDL- They can hold you for 72 hours until they figure out who you are


Lot lizards will beat on your door wanting payment for services.

People will ask you for money, ALWAYS say you are broke.

Weird people will approach you in truck stops, I have found it easier
just to play stuck up to avoid situations like them propositioning me
to give them “services” or other goofy question

Pay close attention to whats going on in your surroundings at all
times- rest areas, parking lots, truck stops on the inside and out

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