Truck Driver Heavy Cargo: The Best Trucks and Trailers for Every Terrain and Weather Condition
Truck Driver Heavy Cargo: A Guide for Beginners
If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding career that involves driving large and heavy vehicles, you might want to consider becoming a truck driver heavy cargo. This is a specialized type of truck driving that requires skill, experience, and attention to detail. In this article, we will explain what truck driver heavy cargo is, how to become one, how to find and apply for jobs, and how to succeed in this field.
What is truck driver heavy cargo?
Truck driver heavy cargo is a truck driving profession that involves transporting large and heavy loads that exceed the standard weight and size limits of regular trucks. These loads can include oversized machinery, equipment, vehicles, containers, construction materials, or other bulky items. Truck driver heavy cargo often drive specialized trucks that are designed to handle these types of loads, such as flatbeds, lowboys, extendables, or multi-axle trailers. These trucks can be challenging to maneuver due to their size and weight, and they may require special permits, escorts, or routes to travel on.
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The definition and types of heavy cargo
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a heavy cargo is defined as any load that exceeds one or more of the following dimensions or weights:
Width: 8.5 feet
Height: 13.5 feet
Length: 48 feet (single unit) or 65 feet (combination unit)
Weight: 80,000 pounds (gross vehicle weight)
However, these limits may vary depending on the state or local regulations. Some states may allow higher or lower limits for certain types of loads or roads. Therefore, it is important for truck driver heavy cargo to check the specific requirements of each state they plan to travel through before hauling a load.
Some examples of common types of heavy cargo are:
Construction equipment: such as cranes, bulldozers, excavators, or loaders
Industrial machinery: such as generators, turbines, transformers, or boilers
Agricultural equipment: such as tractors, harvesters, or plows
Military vehicles: such as tanks, humvees, or helicopters
Wind turbines: such as blades, towers, or nacelles
Prefabricated structures: such as modular homes, bridges, or buildings
The benefits and challenges of truck driver heavy cargo
Truck driver heavy cargo can enjoy several benefits from their profession, such as:
High demand: There is a constant need for truck driver heavy cargo to transport various types of loads across the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is projected to grow by 6% from 2019 to 2029.
High pay: Truck driver heavy cargo can earn more than regular truck drivers due to their specialized skills and experience. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary of a truck driver heavy haul is $67,769 per year as of June 2021.
Variety: Truck driver heavy cargo can work with different types of loads and trucks, which can make their job more interesting and challenging. They can also travel to different places and see different sights along the way.
However, truck driver heavy cargo also face some challenges in their profession, such as:
Risk: Truck driver heavy cargo have to deal with more hazards and dangers on the road, such as accidents, breakdowns, or bad weather. They have to be extra careful and alert when driving, loading, or unloading their heavy cargo.
Stress: Truck driver heavy cargo have to cope with more pressure and responsibility than regular truck drivers. They have to meet strict deadlines, follow complex regulations, and handle difficult situations. They also have to deal with the physical and mental fatigue of driving long hours and being away from home.
Cost: Truck driver heavy cargo have to pay more for their equipment, maintenance, insurance, and permits than regular truck drivers. They also have to invest more in their training and certification to qualify for their job.
How to become a truck driver heavy cargo?
If you are interested in becoming a truck driver heavy cargo, you will need to meet some requirements and qualifications, undergo some training and certification, and follow some tips and best practices.
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The requirements and qualifications
To become a truck driver heavy cargo, you will need to:
Have a valid driver's license and a clean driving record
Be at least 21 years old (or 18 years old for intrastate driving)
Have a high school diploma or equivalent
Pass a physical exam and a drug test
Obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL) with the appropriate endorsements for the type of truck and cargo you want to drive. For example, you may need a Class A CDL with endorsements for double/triple trailers, tank vehicles, hazardous materials, or oversize/overweight loads.
Have some experience in driving regular trucks before moving on to heavy cargo trucks. Some employers may require you to have at least one year of experience as a truck driver before hiring you as a truck driver heavy cargo.
The training and certification
To become a truck driver heavy cargo, you will need to:
Complete a truck driving training program that covers the basics of truck driving, such as vehicle inspection, safety procedures, traffic laws, and road skills. You can find these programs at community colleges, vocational schools, or private truck driving schools. The duration and cost of these programs may vary depending on the school and the state.
Pass the written and road tests for your CDL and endorsements. You can prepare for these tests by studying the CDL manual of your state, taking practice tests online, or enrolling in a CDL prep course. You can take these tests at your local DMV office or at an authorized testing center.
Obtain additional certifications or licenses that may be required for certain types of heavy cargo trucks or loads. For example, you may need to get a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) if you want to transport hazardous materials or access secure areas. You may also need to get a special permit from the state or local authorities if you want to haul oversized or overweight loads.
Participate in ongoing training and education to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. You may need to renew your CDL and endorsements every few years, depending on the state. You may also need to complete periodic safety courses or refresher courses to maintain your certifications or licenses.
The tips and best practices
To become a successful truck driver heavy cargo, you should:
Research the type of truck and load you want to drive. Learn about the specifications, features, advantages, and disadvantages of different types of trucks and loads. Choose the one that suits your preferences, skills, and goals.
Network with other truck drivers heavy cargo. Join online forums, social media groups, or associations for truck drivers heavy cargo. Share your experiences, ask questions, get advice, and learn from others who have been in the industry longer than you.
Find a reputable employer or company that offers good pay, benefits, and working conditions. Look for online reviews, ratings, or testimonials from other truck drivers heavy cargo who have worked for the same employer or company. Compare different offers and negotiate for the best deal.
Maintain your truck and equipment regularly. Check your truck and trailer before and after each trip. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for maintenance and repair. Keep a record of your service history and receipts. Report any problems or issues to your employer or mechanic as soon as possible.
Plan your route and schedule carefully. Use online tools, maps, or GPS to find the best and safest route for your truck and load. Avoid roads that are narrow, steep, low, or congested. Check the weather and traffic conditions before and during your trip. Allow enough time for rest stops, fuel stops, weigh stations, inspections, or detours.
Follow the rules and regulations of truck driver heavy cargo. Comply with the federal, state, and local laws that govern truck driver heavy cargo. These may include weight and size limits, speed limits, hours of service, logbooks, cargo securement, permits, escorts, or flags. Keep all your documents and records in order and ready for inspection.
Be professional and courteous on the road. Respect other drivers and road users. Use proper signals and lane changes. Keep a safe distance and speed. Avoid distractions and fatigue. Communicate clearly and politely with your employer, customers, dispatchers, or authorities.
How to find and apply for truck driver heavy cargo jobs?
If you are ready to start your career as a truck driver heavy cargo, you will need to find and apply for jobs that match your qualifications, interests, and goals.
The job market and demand
The job market for truck driver heavy cargo is expected to be favorable in the coming years. According to the BLS, the demand for truck driver heavy cargo will be driven by the growth of the construction, manufacturing, mining, and energy sectors that require the transportation of large and heavy materials and equipment. Additionally, the demand for truck driver heavy cargo will be supported by the limited supply of qualified drivers who can handle these types of loads.
However, the job market for truck driver heavy cargo may also face some challenges, such as:
Competition: Truck driver heavy cargo may have to compete with other truck drivers who have similar skills and experience. They may also have to compete with other modes of transportation, such as railroads or barges, that can offer lower costs or faster delivery times for certain types of loads.
Regulation: Truck driver heavy cargo may have to deal with more regulations and restrictions than regular truck drivers. They may have to obtain more permits, licenses, or certifications to operate their trucks and loads. They may also have to follow more rules and standards for safety, security, or environmental protection.
Technology: Truck driver heavy cargo may have to adapt to new technologies that can affect their job performance or availability. These may include automated or electric trucks that can reduce fuel consumption or emissions; smart or connected trucks that can improve safety or efficiency; or online platforms or apps that can facilitate job search or application.
The job search and application process
To find and apply for truck driver heavy cargo jobs, you can use various methods, such as:
Online job boards: You can browse online job boards that specialize in truck driving jobs or general job boards that have a section for truck driving jobs. You can filter your search by location, salary, type of truck, type of load, or type of employer. You can also upload your resume and cover letter and apply directly through the website.
Company websites: You can visit the websites of companies that hire truck driver heavy cargo regularly. These may include trucking companies, freight brokers, construction companies, manufacturing companies, or government agencies. You can check their careers page and see if they have any openings for truck driver heavy cargo. You can also submit your resume and cover letter through their online application system or email.
Referrals: You can ask for referrals from your friends, family, or acquaintances who work as truck driver heavy cargo or in related fields. They may know of some companies or employers who are looking for truck driver heavy cargo and can recommend you to them. They may also give you some tips or advice on how to prepare for the job interview or test.
Recruiters: You can contact recruiters or agencies that specialize in truck driving jobs or heavy haul jobs. They may have access to some exclusive or hidden job opportunities that are not advertised elsewhere. They may also help you with your resume, cover letter, interview, or negotiation.
When applying for truck driver heavy cargo jobs, you should:
Customize your resume and cover letter for each job. Highlight your skills, experience, and achievements as a truck driver heavy cargo. Use keywords and phrases that match the job description and requirements. Provide specific examples and numbers to demonstrate your value and impact.
Prepare for the job interview or test. Research the company and the job before the interview or test. Review your resume and cover letter and anticipate some common questions or scenarios. Practice your answers and delivery with a friend or a coach. Dress professionally and arrive on time for the interview or test.
Follow up after the job application. Send a thank you note to the interviewer or recruiter within 24 hours after the interview or test. Express your appreciation, interest, and enthusiasm for the job. Reiterate your qualifications and fit for the role. Ask about the next steps and timeline of the hiring process.
The salary and compensation
The salary and compensation of truck driver heavy cargo may vary depending on several factors, such as:
The type of truck and load you drive
The distance and duration of your trips
The company or employer you work for
The location and region you work in
Your skills, experience, and performance
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary of a truck driver heavy haul is $67,769 per year as of June 2021. However, this figure can range from $35,000 to $120,000 per year depending on the factors mentioned above.
Besides the salary, truck driver heavy cargo may also receive some benefits and perks from their employer, such as: