Reply To: Expert Dry Van CDL Driver

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Thanks for the question. I think there are numerous reasons to pull a dry van, especially new CDL drivers. There are more driving opportunities for dry van drivers since the majority of trailers and trucking companies pull dry vans. Dry vans require the least attention from drivers. This allows new drivers to concentrate on learning the job of CDL driver, and learning to live on the road while working. Many of the skills and techniques you learn as a dry van driver apply to any other types of driving (flatbed, tanker, doubles, etc.). You have to learn to “scale your load”, or adjust the trailer tandems so the weight of truck & cargo are distributed legally and safely. You learn to maneuver your truck on the interstate highways and the rural highways and city streets. You learn the common procedures at shippers/receivers for getting loaded or unloaded. You will likely be taught the methods for communicating with your company, such as with Qualcomm or PeopleNet terminals inside your truck. Some companies, such as with small fleets, may not use anything more advanced than a cellphone or fax machine to communicate information and send/receive shipping paperwork. Most fleets are now using Qualcomm or PeopleNet terminals inside the truck to dispatch, track Hours of Service, send directions, verify your paycheck. You will learn to use this device quickly and for many different things.

In short, I recommend new CDL drivers consider dry vans to start. Chances are there is a trucking company near your hometown with dry vans that needs drivers. I always prefer you investigate trucking companies near you before you widen your net and look at large national companies. The gold standard of investigating a trucking company is talking to current drivers. However, I would also prefer a good local flatbed or reefer company you know very well over a large national dry van company you don’t know much about. The secret to success for drivers in this industry is a good fit between company and driver. If it fits for you it doesn’t matter much if other drivers don’t like that company for their reasons.

Good luck.