3 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE BECOMING A FLATBED DRIVER
If you’re a truck driver seeking a brand-new challenge, look no further than flatbed driving. Many people claim that flatbed truckers have the most difficult and hazardous employment on the road. If you're up for the challenge, driving a flatbed truck can be a very high paying job. Here are some considerations to make, though, before you consider taking the plunge.
STARTING POINT: THE BASICS
You need a Class A CDL to haul a flatbed trailer, which is expected. Thankfully, there aren't any further endorsements required on top of that. The New York state metal coil endorsement is the lone exception, but you only need to be concerned about this if you live in New York.
Due to the great demand for flatbed drivers, the compensation for these positions is frequently better than that of other driving positions. Given the abilities needed to be a competent flatbed driver, there is a great need for flatbed drivers. For the cargo to be secured securely, flatbed tasks may demand more physical labor than dry van or reefer jobs.
All experienced fellow drivers would advise you to be patient, and get it right the first time. Speed will come with experience, best thing to do is ask questions, look around you, and then ask some more.
It takes time and on-the-job experience to develop the skills necessary to become a good flatbed driver. The secret to learning and getting your questions answered more quickly is to find other drivers who are prepared to do the same.
KEY POINT: SECURING YOUR CARGO
One of the most crucial responsibilities of the job for flatbed drivers is ensuring the security of their loads. These considerations should all be made when securing flatbed loads.
All flatbed truckers must learn how to secure their load, but transporting big cargo – oversized loads demands considerably more expertise. These flatbed drivers transport freight that is atypically formed and cannot fit within a trailer of a regular size. These loads therefore require a lot of support to keep them stable. Conestoga trailers, as opposed to standard flatbed trailers, are sometimes used by flatbed truckers. These trucks include an accordion-like tarp that provides protection for your freight without the need for manual tarping while also making loading, unloading, and securing considerably more convenient for the driver.
Flatbed drivers must not only ensure that the loads are safe, but also that the freight is covered in case of bad weather. Experienced flatbed drivers can confirm that you should always check your securement. If you think you have enough straps or chains, add one or two more. You can never be too safe. Make sure your tarps are tight, loose tarps can cause it to rip or your load to get wet.
When freight is secured during bad weather, it protects both the load and other drivers on the road. Without taking this extra precaution, the tarps might fly up while the driver is driving, creating a significant distraction and hazard for other cars as well as a large punishment.
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FINAL NOTE: EXTRA SAFETY
Specific safety procedures must be followed during loading, unloading, and securing. What distinguishes flatbed drivers from other truck drivers is their thorough attention to safety.
It is strongly advised that drivers refrain from handling freight on the side of the road. The atmosphere for flatbed drivers will be much safer if they take the time to secure loads when at a truck stop or in a parking lot.
Additionally, it's important for flatbed drivers to dress appropriately. It will be beneficial to invest in shoes with a good, non-slip grip, especially in the event of rain or snow. It can also be useful to have clothing that protects you, especially when loading and unloading cargo that might have mud or other debris on it.
In general, flatbed transporters are unique drivers with a particularly specialized set of abilities. In addition to helping you become a proficient flatbed driver, spending the time to master these will help you stand out from the crowd of other drivers.
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