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How to Operate a Dump Truck

Dump trucks need drivers, and, like their earth-moving counterparts, these heavy lifters require some skill to operate safely and effectively. Dump trucks are larger and heavier than nearly any other vehicle on the road, and they perform a number of important jobs. If those jobs sound like work you’re interested in, read on to learn about what it takes to operate one of these burly rigs.

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First Steps to Becoming a Dump Truck Driver

You’ve got to have a clear understanding of the type of work you’ll be doing before you commit to learning the skills involved in driving a dump truck. Dump trucks are used for many different types of jobs, with construction-related tasks being their most popular application. Garbage trucks are another well-known dump truck application, and it’s in an industry that often needs drivers.

If working commercially is your goal, it’s important to have the proper license. Operating a large truck without being properly licensed is no different than taking your passenger car out on the road with no license at all. Depending on the size of the truck, you’ll need a class A or class B commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Types of Dump Trucks

Typically, we think of dump trucks as being large tractor-trailer style machines. There are multiple variations of the tractor-trailer dump truck, all of which see use in various construction applications. There are also smaller dump truck styles, like the body-on-frame trucks, which come in their own selection of body styles.

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Behind the Wheel of a Dump Truck

Like an eighteen-wheeler, dump trucks demand more from the driver than your typical pickup. You’ve got to consider the load you’re moving and be knowledgeable about the way the truck’s transmission works.

Always begin your journey by making sure your load is secure and covered, this will ensure debris from your truck doesn’t spill out onto the highway. The truck will almost certainly have a complex manual transmission with the ability to “split gears,” and these can take some time to get used to.

You’ve also got to consider the enormous weight the truck might be carrying. Dump trucks can haul loads of nearly 80,000 lbs. When you’re carrying that kind of weight on city streets near commuters in passenger cars, safety is very important. Even trucks with good brakes don’t stop like a sports car, so leave yourself a wide birth.

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A Specialized Trade

Whether operating heavy machinery is something you’re all too familiar with or you’re looking for a new career path, you will certainly stand out from the crowd if you have the skills and qualifications to drive these burly trucks.

Knowing how to use specialized machinery like dump trucks opens doors to new positions and makes you more effective in leadership roles where you’ve got to coordinate a large task force. Getting behind the wheel of a dump truck might just change your life!

Scott Huntington

Author Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington is an Automotive YouTuber and writer who loves cars, sports, and business. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington or email scottmhuntington@gmail.com.

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