Being a CDL flatbed truck driver is an important job that requires more than simply being a good driver.
Flatbed truck drivers should know various skills like securing a load, maneuvering through truck stops, mastering GPS and other skills that separate them from the rest.
Here are some skills that flatbed truck drivers should have to ensure everyone’s safety.
Properly Securing a Flatbed Load
Properly securing the load of a flatbed truck is a driver’s most important skill. Flatbed truck hauls can typically be loaded and secured faster than a dry van, yet the convenience of quick securement comes with physical and mental demands.
Making a plan beforehand is key, as well as inspecting the trailer’s anchor points to properly secure the haul. A good weight displacement is to try and have 60% of the load’s weight towards the front of the trailer towards the truck, and the 40% towards the back for the best distribution. Before you begin to drive down the road, always test if the load is secure when turning, braking and accelerating.
Awareness of shipment protocols is a must.
Always be Alert!
Driving while exhausted or distracted are some of the most common causes of potentially-deadly flatbed truck accidents. As a driver, you can combat these issues by knowing how to maneuver and take advantage of truck stops.
Depending on the size of the stop, parking spaces that are designed for truck drivers to rest for several hours are provided across the nation. There will be a spot to park your flatbed truck in with the other trucks. This gives you the opportunity to not only get some sleep, but also check on the load and make sure it will remain secure for the rest of the drive. You can also leave your truck idling during these resting hours to regulate the temperature of the truck depending on the insulation you have installed.
GPS Navigation Skills
Knowing how to fully utilize a GPS before you begin your day as a flatbed truck driver is also important. It can help you learn the best domestic and state routes for your trip, and can save you valuable time in the long run.
Choosing a great GPS app is key! There are many to choose from, and each has their strengths and weaknesses. We encourage drivers to test out a few as they are driving their own personal vehicles to find one that works best for them. By the time you get into the big flatbed truck, you’ll be familiar the app and know what to expect.
Communication is Key!
Proper communication and people skills are great assets to master a career as a flatbed truck driver. When driving any vehicle, unexpected things can happen that don’t align with the day’s plan. Harsh weather, traffic, or assignment changes are always a possibility that a flatbed truck driver should take into account.
Being able to communicate properly and professionally with dispatch is a key path to success. Poor communication can be a red flag to employers and can even cause missed shipments or an impact on your paycheck. While all the skills listed above are necessary for a flatbed truck driver to master, there’s often little chance to even begin your career if you don’t learn how to master good communication.
Do You Have What it Takes to Drive Flatbed?
If you’re interested in becoming a CDL flatbed driver, you can learn more about what it takes in our Flatbed Trucking Blog, learn about our paid flatbed training benefit. and see why drivers at Modular Transportation are in it for the long haul. Or, start by taking our quick flatbed driver quiz to see if it’s right for you!