Being a truck driver is challenging enough, but maneuvering a flatbed truck can be one of the most demanding driving jobs out there. It requires sufficient experience with truck driving and a high level of skill to navigate hazardous situations on the road and ensure the safe transportation of products. Despite these risks, flatbed trucking can also be a great job with excellent compensation in a market with a high demand for these roles. If you’re up to the challenge and adventure that can come with driving flatbed trucks, then here are a few tips to help you decide.
Covering the basics when starting a job driving a flatbed truck is essential to your success. First, secure a Class A or B CDL license. Not all companies readily take on drivers who don’t already have experience with flatbed trucks, so unless you have driven them before, focus on finding companies that provide training.
Flatbed truck driving jobs are very high in demand and offer competitive pay because of the specific skill set required. Companies and facilities cannot hire just any driver. They need someone who can do the physical work to safely secure heavy loads in addition to driving the flatbed.
While speed might be a concern for flatbed drivers whose aim is to deliver cargo on time, it’s often more important to take one’s time to do it correctly. Speed will often come with experience, and there is plenty to learn from other drivers after having the basics down pat.
There are different factors to consider when securing your cargo load, the first and most important being size. Oversized freight requires more skill than securing regular loads, and these typically don’t fit inside the confines of standard-sized trailers. Flatbed drivers need to ensure the proper support is provided to keep them secure.
Other drivers will use a Conestoga trailer instead of the typical flatbed. When it comes to convenience in loading, unloading, and securing freight, these types of trailers are a great option. It also protects the load without the need for manual tarping.
Securing a truck’s cargo should also include weather protection. Double or even triple-checking your securement is a good practice because drivers can never be too safe about their freight. Tarps must be tight; otherwise, the load will rip apart or get wet. Ensuring the load is secure will protect both the load itself and other drivers on the road. The last thing you want is for the tarp to fly off the flatbed and cause a potential hazard to other drivers on the road.
When hiring drivers for flatbed trucking, candidates are expected to demonstrate an excellent understanding and adherence to safety protocols. These include loading, unloading, securing, and other safety standards. Drivers should receive ample training to ensure that loads are secured before the trip in the safety of a truck stop or a parking lot. Parking a loaded flatbed on the side of the road, even for just a quick adjustment, can pose risks to the driver, the load, and other motorists.
Proper attire is another important safety measure that should not be overlooked. Drivers should invest in footwear with a high-quality, no-slip grip. These are especially useful when working in wet conditions. Wearing an outer covering helps prevent elements that may get on the freight, such as mud, from staining your clothes.
Trucking is a unique job that requires a very specific set of skills to accomplish. Whether you have experience with flatbed trucking or not, understanding that these tips are what it takes to perform well can help you attain your goals. Drivers who know how to operate flatbed trucks are highly skilled at what they do, making them a stand-out candidate for all driving professions.
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