You can never have too much education. You can never have too much training. In our trucking industry we have a shortage of both training and education. It’s in great demand and even more valuable than ever before. And in most cases it’s FREE. So why don’t drivers take advantage of this opportunity? Some drivers think that with the minimum amount of training they’ve received early on in their careers they will have no worries or concerns or no issues throughout a long and happy career in trucking. Boy, are they wrong!
The best drivers I know train right up and including their very last day before they retire and hopefully for us that some of these drivers become our future driving instructors.
Why is it so hard to train especially for FREE and be the best you can be in your field of expertise? Is it pride? Is it laziness? Tell me, I’d like to know. Let’s look at it carefully. Most driving schools have a base line for subjects they wished to teach. Some subjects are representative of this industry such as hours of service, per-trip inspection and the Transportation Dangerous Goods (TDG) just to name a few but that’s it.
What about time management skills, manners, communication skills with all the people you will meet including customers, dispatchers and the motoring public and many more? I’ve seen the “mouth pieces” out there on the road speaking to good customers with a “sour tongue”. When this happens it hurts everyone.
The world we live in is fast pace and confusing at times so why wouldn’t it make sense to prepare yourself for the possibility of facing anything good or bad or for that matter even dangerous? Training is very time consuming. Concentrated, orientated. Fully focused. Your future depends of this training so you can last of any amount of time in the trucking industry until you retire or decide to do something different.
Many drivers attend a school, sometime a good school and sometimes a poor school and think that is the end of their training. A school is supposed to introduce you to trucking both on the road and off. It is suppose to provide the essentials for you to pass a written test and a practical one (the road examination by the MTO) and more. Many schools take your money, teach you the very basics and then there isn’t any guarantee you will pass the final road examination. And better yet they don’t need to provide any follow up if you “fail” or need any follow up training. Some schools will and these are the great schools which go well beyond the call of duty.
What about “self training”? I do it and I know many others that also do it. Read, research and prepare. What a concept! The simplest thing is to contact a library or the OTA (Ontario Trucking Association) and buy and read some trucking material. How’s that for a concept. In most cases other drivers will loan you a book for you to advance your own studies. Many drivers I meet on a daily basis who have a number of years experience in driving who can back up through the “eye of a needle” can’t complete a proper pre-trip inspection even by ministry standards. Why is that? I can tell you why they don’t continually keep their skill set up and when they need it to return to the mind it’s not there.
Training is so simple. It just requires a little patience and a moment of your time. Think of it this way, if you read something every day for fifteen minutes, seven days a week, you would have over 91 hours of study a year, that’s 13 weeks of training, that’s longer than most truck driving school programs. One it’s free, two, you can pick your own subjects, make up your own time schedule, complete your areas of study whenever you want and feel so much better about yourself. Wow!
If you keep a record of all this self training and the day comes along that you receive a ticket or are involved in an incident what court room or lawyer or for that matter a Carrier Owner or President won’t applaud you for doing so to have an explanation of how you prevented an even worse situation from occurring just by your own self training, I don’t know what else could show better “due diligence” than this.
I love training and I make it a habit to read something every day involving what I do in trucking and then some. I am a better recruiter for it and a driver trainer who prides himself of being able to give back. I love teaching and teach what I have learned so the next generation of drivers after me can appreciate they don’t have to reinvent the wheel.