Life on the open road, cruising down a deserted highway in the middle of nowhere, just you and your shipment. . . The freedom of trucking has long had a certain appeal for many people. It is also a career from which you can make a good living; however, if you are seriously considering a career change to trucking, there are certain things that you should be prepared for in order to excel as a trucker. Read on for a guide to a successful career in trucking.

Obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL)

Driving a truck involves a higher level of knowledge, skills, and experience than driving a regular automobile. In order to become a trucker, you will need to prove that you have these additional qualities by obtaining your CDL. You can enroll at a specialist truck driving school where, through a combination of classroom lessons and in-vehicle experience with a driving instructor, you will learn the essential skills needed to pass your CDL test. This includes safely carrying Class A and Class B cargo, safely maneuvering and driving a truck, and truck maintenance.

Find trucking jobs

There are many different ways that you can find work as a trucker. You might be employed by a single large-scale company as part of their distribution fleet. Alternatively, you could work for yourself, accepting jobs on a freelance basis by signing up to a truck loads board. By doing this, you have the flexibility of deciding exactly when you will work and what jobs you will take on – no more long-haul trips back-to-back if you prefer sticking closer to home and the kids. Signing up to a trucking load board also enables you to pick up extra courier work if things are a little slow. Check out https://www.shiply.com/us/truck-loads for more information about finding trucking jobs.

Hot shot or long haul

There are different types of trucking jobs that you can take. Hot shot trucking is reliant on delivery time – you will often be delivering on a strict schedule. Hot shot drivers usually operate within their local area, handling loads such as construction materials and machinery; this would be an ideal option if you prefer a more settled lifestyle and returning to your own home every night. Long haul trucking, on the other hand, involves much longer trips across the length and breadth of the continental US, with trips sometimes involving a week or more on the road. Long haul truckers may spend the night in motel accommodation or, in remote locations, pull up at the side of the road or at a truck stop and sleep in their cabins. You will be required to stick to a set number of driving hours to ensure that you get enough rest away from the road to be able to drive safely. As such, you should be able to happily adapt to this itinerant lifestyle in order to enjoy a career as a long haul trucker.