You’ll get to experience driving in winter weather in a training environment. Some schools offer weather simulators to help you drive on wet and slick, but nothing beats the real thing!
If you do have to drive in it, why not learn in someone else’s truck? And if the conditions are beyond your comfort level or ability you can stop.
The trainer can either take over or guide you on how to relax and drive with confidence. After all it is a learning experience, but you don’t want to get too crazy.
If you do learn to drive that 80,000 pound beast in the winter months, you’ll be ahead of a lot of the other new drivers.
So for many, these reasons might be just the thing to make you want to push yourself and learn to drive in the winter. And with the worse weather behind you, you’ll have sunnier days ahead.
CDL Training in Winter Cons
Of course learning to drive in 6 inches of snow is not everyone’s idea of a good learning environment. It depends on what part of the country you are from and where you plan to do most of your driving. But keep in mind truckers tend to go where the work is.
So one way or the other, at some point you will get to drive in winter! The temperature will be a lot lower than the other months.
According to experienced truck drivers, CDL training in winter means that you’ll have to dress appropriately. It can get pretty cold in the winter. Of course the Dakotas will be a lot colder than South Texas but either way you’ll need a warm coat, maybe driving gloves, comfortable driving shoes, and a warm hat.
Another thing is the class size. Some might like it but other learn better when there are people to bounce ideas and studying off.
There will be some studying, after all there are usually test that go with CDL training in winter or any time of the year actually! That is in addition to the driving test required by law.
Another major concern is the rain, snow, and ice. This can make for some miserable training days when you have to be out in it.
You might be thinking, “Wait I’ll be in class”. But, no, – the classroom is only a part of it. Good part of the time will be spent with the truck and the trainer outside!
You’ll have to scrape ice and snow off the truck, the truck lights, flaps, mirrors, fuel tanks. You will also conduct all your inspections in the cold.
All of your pre-trip inspections, walk-around, and securing / protecting of any practice loads will be done outside in the weather.
You have the opportunity to drive in the real thing, as I said, but ice is slippery and wipers and windshield liquids can freeze up.
If there is snow, slush, and/or ice on the lanes it will make practice that much harder. You might be able to see the cones but you might not be able to see the lanes clearly.
Additionally, cold and flu season hits us in the winter months. So the last thing you want to be is sick while trying to get your CDL. Think about it, being sick is bad enough; then trying to learn how to drive a big truck with cough or a stuffed up head is disaster!
There are many out there that won’t want to drive in winter weather, especially if it is their first time driving anything larger than compact.
This will be especially true if they aren’t accustomed to winter driving anyway. Of course there are driving schools everywhere and you might not get a blizzard, but you will get cold and rain. If that isn’t for you, consider you options.
Some Other Things to Consider When it Comes to CDL Training in Winter
You will want to weigh several things before deciding when and where to go to a truck driving school, and regardless of when or where you go at least make sure the school is a good one!
Something you always should do is research up on the school, check out any reviews. Try to find out their standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). With that in mind, there are several ways to get the training you want.
You can go to trucking companies that sponsor the training. Some offer it as a reimbursement while others will pay upfront the training.
But be careful and read the fine print, this usually requires a contractual commitment of one to two years.
There are many driving schools associated with the community colleges. They often offer everything you need to get your CDL license but, the cost might be a bit higher and sometimes the training time takes longer than at a regular driving school.
Now, something a lot of people do is pay for the training themselves. They will attend a private driving school; these are usually 2 to 4 week long all-inclusive training programs. Some even offer financial assistance. Of course check into all of that before attempt to attend.
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A few other considerations:
- See if their equipment is current and their trucks well maintained;
- Make sure their certification meets the standards set by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PDI). They have set basic standard at 44 hours of physical driving time.
- Make sure your instructors are experienced; they say an instructor should have a minimum of 3 years actual professional driving.
Of course there are other considerations but these are the key ones. One final thing to consider is the truck driving school cost, especially when is a CDL training in winter.
The school cost varies as much as the terrain does across the USA. Tuition can run anywhere between $2,000 all the way up to $20,000! But most say a fair cost is between $4,000 and $7,000.
Keep in mind this usually doesn’t include meals or lodging while attending the school.