What do Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers do?

Drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). May be required to unload truck. Requires commercial drivers' license.

  • Check vehicles to ensure that mechanical, safety, and emergency equipment is in good working order.
  • Maneuver trucks into loading or unloading positions, following signals from loading crew and checking that vehicle and loading equipment are properly positioned.
  • Collect delivery instructions from appropriate sources, verifying instructions and routes.
  • Maintain logs of working hours or of vehicle service or repair status, following applicable state and federal regulations.
  • Report vehicle defects, accidents, traffic violations, or damage to the vehicles.
  • Secure cargo for transport, using ropes, blocks, chain, binders, or covers.
  • Drive trucks to weigh stations before and after loading and along routes to document weights and to comply with state regulations.
  • Drive trucks with capacities greater than 3 tons, including tractor-trailer combinations, to transport and deliver products, livestock, or other materials.
  • Obtain receipts or signatures for delivered goods and collect payment for services when required.
  • Inventory and inspect goods to be moved to determine quantities and conditions.
  • Operate equipment, such as truck cab computers, CB radios, and telephones, to exchange necessary information with bases, supervisors, or other drivers.
  • Perform basic vehicle maintenance tasks, such as adding oil, fuel, or radiator fluid or performing minor repairs.
  • Check conditions of trailers after contents have been unloaded to ensure that there has been no damage.
  • Read bills of lading to determine assignment details.
  • Couple or uncouple trailers by changing trailer jack positions, connecting or disconnecting air or electrical lines, or manipulating fifth-wheel locks.
  • Check all load-related documentation to ensure that it is complete and accurate.
  • Read and interpret maps to determine vehicle routes.
  • Crank trailer landing gear up or down to safely secure vehicles.
  • Load and unload trucks, or help others with loading and unloading, operating any special loading-related equipment on vehicles and using other equipment as necessary.
  • Remove debris from loaded trailers.
  • Follow appropriate safety procedures for transporting dangerous goods.
  • Follow special cargo-related procedures, such as checking refrigeration systems for frozen foods or providing food or water for livestock.
  • Wrap goods using pads, packing paper, and containers, and secure loads to trailer walls, using straps.
  • Climb ladders to inspect loads, ensuring that cargo is secure.
  • Give directions to laborers who are packing goods and moving them onto trailers.
  • Perform emergency roadside repairs, such as changing tires or installing light bulbs, tire chains, or spark plugs.
  • Collaborate with other drivers as part of a driving team on some trips.
  • Operate trucks equipped with snowplows or sander attachments to maintain roads in winter weather.
  • Install or remove special equipment, such as tire chains, grader blades, plow blades, or sanders.
  • Place empty carts and pallets in trailers so they will be available to facilitate placement and movement of goods.
  • Drive electric or hybrid-electric powered trucks or alternative fuel-powered trucks to transport and deliver products, livestock, or other materials.
  • Operate idle reduction systems or auxiliary power systems to generate power from alternative sources, such as fuel cells, to reduce idling time, to heat or cool truck cabins, or to provide power for other equipment.
  • Plan or adjust routes based on changing conditions, using computer equipment, global positioning systems (GPS) equipment, or other navigation devices to minimize fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Related Jobs (Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers)

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Necessary Skills

  • Operation and Control
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Monitoring
  • Time Management
  • Troubleshooting
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Speaking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Listening

Related Positions