What will I learn at CDL training school?

By Tracy Trickle, Staff Writer
Article last updated on 1/8/2008

No matter where you attend truck driver training, you will be required to learn the basics of driving a tractor trailer. You will spend time behind the wheel of the truck learning backing, turning, shifting, and coupling and uncoupling a trailer. Most schools use a closed course driving range to practice these skills before letting you out onto a public street. You should also get over-the-road driving experience at school: the best schools will combine rural, city, and highway driving situations so that you will have the most real-world experience possible before you’re out on your own. Practice makes perfect no matter what you’re doing, so find a school that offers plenty of behind-the-wheel (not just observation!) experience.

The most important skills that you will learn while attending CDL training occur both behind the wheel and inside the classroom. You will learn the basic handling skills for driving a truck, such as backing, left and right turning, and coupling or uncoupling a trailer. You should also learn how to operate a manual tractor transmission. However, you should also learn about the various laws and regulations that you must follow while driving a tractor trailer and the correct safety practices to use. This may include learning how to read maps, plan trips, keep accurate log books, and perform safety inspections on your equipment. It is important to remember that you need to learn a lot more than just how to handle a truck in order to be a good truck driver and that each part of the training will help you in the future.

Most schools will also have you spend time in a classroom during your training, learning about other important trucking skills such as map reading, trip planning, and keeping accurate log books. You will be taught about the Department of Transportation’s safety regulations and operating procedures and will learn how to perform a safety inspection before ever getting on the road. The best trucking schools not only teach you what you need to know to drive a truck, but what you need to know to be a safe and successful truck driver. For a list of some of the best trucking schools we’ve found in the industry, checked out the Featured School page!

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