What To Do While Waiting Until I'm 21 To Become A Truck Driver?

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Car Washer Mac's Comment
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Hey there, I'm in a very similar situation! I'll be 17 in September and have wanted to drive truck for a long time. Parents don't approve, but hey, it's where I know I'll be happy and I'm not going to be happy stuck in one place. I love driving! I plan to go OTR asap which would mean 21, but I've really been thinking hard about getting my CDL when I'm 18 and doing some local work (stone/dirt hauler, something just to get me in a truck). I've checked out a few places in my area online and so far no dice, but I still have a lot of "homework" to do. It's good that you're already in with UPS! I'm still technically jobless, lol, but I'm saving up when I can and already have a CDL fund. One question: have you ever hauled/pulled anything? I ride horses and have started pulling our horse trailer... Know it's not very close to a 53' but it's something... And I can work on mirrors and backing, backing is the most difficult but I'm getting it. You said you're already practicing the UPS driving method, just reminded me of what I'm doing :) but if you get a chance or know anyone with a trailer of some sort, get them to teach you how to pull it. It really opened my eyes up to the challenge of backing but if I can get this down with my trailer, I'll already know the basics.

Anyway, good luck and keep us posted!!

That's good you know what you want to do. It's good that you're saving up to pay cash for your CDL school. I would not recommend going into debt for that unless you absolutely have to. I took on debt in my name for a school loan so I'm going to be paying stupid tax on that for a while.

As for getting CDL before 21, that seems like it isn't really the best choice unless you find a job first. Here, we have the oilfields nearby so there is some opportunity for people under 21. Unfortunately, nobody wants to take the risk of hiring on a young driver anymore. Keep researching and I'm sure you'll find something.

I have never hauled or pulled anything. I have done mostly restaurant and legal/courier and delivery work. UPS is my first job in the trucking industry.

I would recommend downloading some type of trucking simulator on your computer to practice backing on. It doesn't even come close to real life, but it gives you an understanding of which way the trailer goes if you turn the wheels this way, etc.

What I mean by the UPS methods of driving is just getting into good driving habits. Always leaving yourself an out, getting the big picture, 8-12 second eye lead time, 4-6 seconds following distance for speeds under 30, 6-8 seconds for 30+. At intersections, always leaving a car length behind the person in front of you in case he stalls so you can get around him. When starting off at an intersection look left, right, left, then go. If you're behind a car, wait 3 seconds, then go, so you regain your following distance.

Thanks and good luck to you too!


Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.


Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.


Operating While Intoxicated

Car Washer Mac's Comment
member avatar

And another thing I would add is not to worry about what people think about your career choice. My parents were completely against it and refused to support me financially if I chose to go down that road. So I worked my butt off at 3 jobs saving up money to be able to start out on my own. Once they saw that I wanted it bad enough to say, "Fine. I'll do it on my own," they let up a little bit.

If trucking is truly what you want to do, you should go for it. Ignore the critics and the people who judge you for choosing trucking as a career. Be successful and happy and let your LIFE speak for you.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

David's Comment
member avatar

I applied, but let's just say the interviewer, was racist


... or he didn't like air-cooled VW's - ya never know ...



Those type of people who of be ran over. Lol love my 70 be beetle.

I agree with busman. Look into ups since you have a foot there.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mike V.'s Comment
member avatar

I agree steve o ..... stay at ups and drive for them, have alot of people i know did the same thing. mucho bucks!

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