It is a special breed of driver who delves into the world of tanker truck deliveries. Knowing how to become a tanker truck driver is only the beginning, as the nuances and special skill set requires more training and decisions when taking on the added difficulties.
The commercial driver’s license (CDL) is the first step in becoming a tanker truck driver, though it doesn’t stop there. Tanker drivers also need to become certified with a Tank Vehicle Examination before pulling liquid or semi-liquid cargo. This strenuous test goes beyond routes and basic driver tactics, as liquid cargo hauls differently than even packed dry goods.
Utilizing specially designed metal tanker rigs, tankerdrivers must contend with continuously shifting loads of often explosive, flammable, caustic, and toxic materials. The pay benefits are greater, but so are the risks.
Finding the Right Job
Many drivers hire on as full time employees with tanker companies, and can realized a solid take home salary of $40-50k a year. This guaranteed salary can be comforting, with the tanker companies dealing with maintenance costs and additional requirements, all taken from the driver’s hands. However, independents can make a great deal more by being selective on the loads, holding out for higher paying jobs without waiting to be assigned something. These drivers often take the more dangerous load and over the longer hauls, but the offset if being responsible for their own costs.
Types of Tanker Driver Loads
If it’s liquid, it ships. Drivers can expect to see contracts for liquid goods ranging from food products such as milk, processed grains, and similar consumables. They can also see loads consisting of gasoline, oil, liquid propane, and diesel – these loads are highly dangerous and the paycheck that goes along with them makes them tempting jobs.
Drivers also have a different time on the road, as some byways restrict the types of loads that can be carried on them, requiring drivers to seek alternate and approved routes. The jobs may range from simple local deliveries, but cross-country trips are just as likely. Tanker truck drivers can also expect a longer haul time, as vehicle inspections are much more detailed and time consuming.
A tanker truck driver can expect to create a finer touch with driving a load thanks to the constantly shifting weight. But in the end, it well could be worth it for the right driver.