Career Development

What Does a Driver Do?

Find out what a driver does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a driver.

Drivers are the people who get things from point A to point B. They drive cars, trucks, buses, delivery vans, and other vehicles on a daily basis—sometimes with great skill and attention to detail, sometimes not so much.

Drivers have an important role in our society as they help move goods and services from one place to another. Without them, we would be unable to purchase many of the products we use every day or enjoy the services provided by many companies.

Driver Job Duties

A driver typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Reporting to work on time and being ready to work when scheduled, unless there is a valid reason for being late or leaving early such as an emergency situation
  • Performing basic maintenance on vehicles including refueling, cleaning, and repairing minor mechanical problems
  • Communicating with customers about their shipments, providing instructions about where to pick up or drop off shipments, and answering questions about shipping rates
  • Maintaining proper documentation for all shipments received or delivered, including noting any problems with the shipment in case they need to be addressed at a later time
  • Following all federal, state, and local laws regarding the transport of hazardous materials such as explosives or flammable liquids
  • Ensuring that cargo is secured in the trailer using appropriate straps and equipment
  • Determining routes and making adjustments based on traffic conditions, weather forecasts, time constraints, etc.
  • Communicating with dispatchers about updates on deliveries, delays, problems encountered during deliveries, etc.
  • Following company policies and procedures regarding employee conduct on the job, including guidelines regarding safe driving practices and proper use of equipment such as forklifts or cranes

Driver Salary & Outlook

The salary of a driver can vary depending on their level of experience, the type of vehicle they are driving, and the company for which they work. Drivers may also earn additional income through tips.

  • Median Annual Salary: $44,500 ($21.39/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)

The employment of delivery drivers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Growth in e-commerce is expected to lead to more home deliveries, which will in turn require more delivery drivers. However, automation may limit employment growth for these workers because some companies are using automated sorting systems and drones to handle some types of deliveries.

Related: In-Depth Driver Salary Guide

Driver Job Requirements

There are a few requirements that most driver candidates must meet, which include:

Education: All drivers are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some drivers choose to pursue a post-secondary education to increase their earning potential. Some of the most common fields of study for aspiring drivers are automotive technology, automotive mechanics, and auto body repair.

Training & Experience: Drivers must complete a certain number of hours of training before they can obtain a commercial driver’s license. The number of hours required varies by state, but most states require at least 30 hours of training.

Drivers can complete their training in a classroom or online. Some companies also offer on-the-job training. During this training, a driver will learn the specific procedures and practices of the company.

Certifications & Licenses: To get a license to drive a truck or other large vehicle, you will need to pass a written test and a driving test at your local Department of Motor Vehicles. The written test will cover basic driving concepts and questions about road signs, traffic signals, rules of the road and other topics. The driving test will include a series of driving maneuvers to demonstrate your ability to drive a large vehicle.

Driver Skills

Drivers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Time management: Time management is the ability to plan and execute tasks in a timely manner. This skill is important for drivers because it ensures they arrive at their destinations on time. It also ensures they complete all of their duties in a timely manner, which can help them maintain a good reputation with their employer.

Attention to detail: Having good attention to detail can help you be a better driver. You may need to follow specific routes, obey speed limits and observe other rules of the road. Having good attention to detail can help you remember these rules and follow them consistently.

Customer service: Customer service is the ability to interact with customers in a friendly and helpful manner. As a driver, you may be responsible for answering questions about the company you work for, directing customers to the correct location and resolving any issues they may have. Customer service is an important skill for any job, but especially for a job that involves interacting with the public.

Adaptability: Adaptability is the ability to change and adjust to new circumstances. As a driver, you may encounter a variety of situations that require you to change your driving habits. For example, you may need to change your driving speed to avoid hitting a pedestrian or change lanes to avoid a collision. Being adaptable can help you navigate challenging situations and keep you safe on the road.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills can help you navigate challenges while driving. For example, you may need to find a safe place to pull over if you notice a tire is low on air or if you notice a car is following you too closely. You can also use problem-solving skills to find the cause of a car malfunction, such as a flat tire, and find a solution to fix it.

Driver Work Environment

Drivers typically work long hours, often more than 40 per week. They may have to work early mornings, late nights, weekends, and holidays. Some drivers may be on the road for days or weeks at a time and be away from home for long periods. The work can be monotonous and lonely, and drivers must be able to deal with the stress of being away from home and family for long periods. They must also be able to deal with the stress of traffic, bad weather, and the potential for accidents.

Driver Trends

Here are three trends influencing how drivers work. Drivers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Driverless Trucks Are Here

Driverless trucks are here, and they are already being used in some parts of the world. This trend is likely to continue as driverless technology becomes more advanced and is able to handle more complex tasks.

As driverless trucks become more common, drivers will need to find new jobs that utilize their skills and experience. Driver-assist technologies may be one area where drivers can find work, as these technologies will need to be maintained and updated as they evolve.

More Trucking Companies Will Use Remote Drivers

Trucking companies are beginning to use remote drivers more often, which means that drivers will need to be comfortable working outside of the office.

This trend is likely to continue as trucking companies look for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency. As a result, drivers will need to be comfortable with working remotely and managing their own time. They will also need to be good at communicating with team members and management.

Driver Shortages Will Persist

The driver shortage is expected to persist for the foreseeable future, which means that drivers will continue to be in high demand.

Drivers who are able to adapt to this changing landscape will be best positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that are sure to come. This includes learning new skills, such as operating different types of vehicles or working in different locations. In addition, drivers should be prepared to negotiate for better pay and benefits.

How to Become a Driver

A career as a truck driver can be both rewarding and lucrative. It’s important to consider all the factors that go into this decision, including your lifestyle, personality, and skillset. Do you want to work long hours on the road or do you prefer a more predictable schedule? Are you comfortable with heavy lifting and climbing? Can you handle driving in difficult weather conditions?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then becoming a truck driver may be a good fit for you. There are many different types of trucks to drive, so it’s important to find one that suits your needs and preferences. You should also research the companies you’re interested in working for to make sure they have a good reputation and offer competitive pay and benefits.

Related: How to Write a Driver Resume

Advancement Prospects

There are many ways to advance your career as a driver. One of the best ways is to get more experience. The more experience you have, the more likely you are to be promoted to a higher position. Another way to advance your career is to get additional education. This can help you to become a better driver and to understand the industry better. Additionally, networking is important in this field. Getting to know other drivers and industry professionals can help you to find a better job and to advance your career. Finally, it is important to be safe and to follow all of the rules and regulations. This will help you to avoid accidents and to keep your job.

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