Imagine yourself in a tanker truck driving down the open road. The wind is touching your hair; you are listening to the truck radio show on “Trucker radio” or “Bandit” and enjoying the freedom! If you can imagine yourself like that, then being a truck driver is the career you should consider.
The trucking industry is a great place to work, especially if you like driving across town or across the nation; anything to not be cooped up in an office. Driving a tanker truck for a living and hauling out on the open road lifestyle might not be for everyone, but it can definitely be a rewarding career.
The great thing about being a tanker truck driver is the fact that every day is a little different, which isn’t the case for a factory worker on the chain line in Hershey’s.
But a truck driver can haul a flatbed trailer, a box/van trailer, a tanker truck or even a reefer, it of course will depend on what you have been trained on and what type of business you company is.
Not all of them will have a tanker truck, but one thing for sure, they will all have a truck dispatcher who is in charge of getting the loads to be assigned and scheduled.
There are several key points to be aware of when working as a truck driver. Safety is of course one of them. Maintenance of your tanker truck and equipment is a MUST.
The two actually go hand in hand. If your vehicle is not properly maintained and there is an accident it will reflect on your Company’s Safety Records, which is regulated and maintained by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA.
There are several things to consider when getting a job as a tanker truck driver:
The great thing about driving, especially things out of the ordinary, is the excitement of the haul and the added pay and increased salary (for any potential risks). But not all tanker truck drivers haul dangerous chemicals.
So both, the driver and the dispatcher need to make sure everything is in order before taking/making an assignment.
Like I said every position has numerous things to consider. I can’t possible cover them all but here are 10 interesting facts about a tanker truck.
A tanker truck can refer to both a straight truck and a semi that hauls tanks. They are used for transporting a variety of liquids, gases, chemicals, and even bulk dry loads (grain, sand, etc.).
Typically a tanker truck is in the class 8 trucks and falls into any of the categories one would find: van/box trucks and flatbeds trucks. These being heavy duty, medium duty trucks or light-duty, based on their load capacities.
Tanker trucks can also be pressurized/non-pressurized, insulated/non-insulated, or vacuum-sealed. With some larger truck/trailer packages, they can even haul one or more loads.
Basically this means the loads will be divided while still stored in the same container. Sometimes they will piggyback multiple trailers as well.
Typically you will be required to have a CDL and the appropriate endorsements.
Most likely the heavy duty tanker truck (trailer) will have a hauling capacity of 5,500 gallons to 9,000 gallons, with a gross weight over 26,000 lbs.
Depending on the use (what is being transported) the trailers can vary in sizes from 30 to 53 feet for single-trailer, but can be almost 100 feet for multiple-trailer rigs.
It is not common to piggyback dangerous or hazardous materials, although some companies do. It is more common for them to haul dry goods. Safety is always the number one priority, regardless what you’re hauling.
The medium duty tanker truck often referred to as frame carried, but can also be truck and trailer combination.
Frame carried is the similar to a straight truck; the tank is attached directly to the truck’s frame as one unit.
This tanker truck usually has a capacity from 500 gallons to 4,000 gallons. Their gross weight would then be below 26,000 lbs.
Light-duty tanker trucks, these are usually smaller and are straight or a frame carried tanker truck.
Being small, they will have a capacity of 100 gallons to 1,000 gallons, typically. Their gross weight should be below 12,000 lbs.
As I said above, a tanker truck is usually a larger vehicle, used to transport bulk dry goods, liquids, or semi-liquids.
They can operate either across town, across the state, or across the country (even going into Mexico and/or Canada).
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Typically a tanker truck will haul liquids of a hazardous or dangerous nature. This can include fuel, pesticides, cleaning solutions, and even toxic by-products.
Remember these items can be corrosive, poisonous, flammable, or in some cases, explosive. You will be required to have additional training, as mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Tanker truck drivers can be in high demand, depending on the part of the country you call home. But this also comes with a higher salary range.
Usually it’s a requirement that a tanker truck driver must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), obtained through an approved truck driving school.
There are numerous paid and free truck driving schools across the country and many have great training programs. But, not all of them offer tanker truck driving training, which is mandatory if you want to drive a tanker truck.
Like everything else, you will need to pass the Tanker Truck/Vehicle Examination prior to getting your tanker truck CDL and appropriate endorsements.
The good thing about being a tanker truck driver is that many companies offer a company sponsored training, or have their own training centers. So you could go to work for a company and they will train you.
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