Truck driving school is an essential part of your journey to becoming a professional trucker, but when should you attend? Some people like to go to truck driving school during the summer. The weather is usually nice (other than rain) and there are few major holidays or other distractions. The flip side, though, is that you will have to learn how to safely handle winter conditions while you are on the job. Attending truck driving school during the winter months has definite pros and cons. Here is what you should know.
Winter Truck Driving School Pros
Class Size: Winter is filled with holidays and school breaks, not to mention nasty weather. For these reasons, fewer people sign up for truck driving school at this time. While 4 students per instructor is considered reasonably good, in the winter you will probably have even fewer. That means more seat time and instructor attention for you.
Authentic Experience: Sooner or later, every truck driver has to drive in winter weather. Some schools offer simulators, but real, on the road experience is the best teacher. You can stop if you become overwhelmed, and will have a talented instructor by your side at all times. It’s a lot more comfortable to learn under those conditions than when you’re running late on a delivery! It will also help you stand out from other new drivers.
Winter Truck Driving School Cons
Difficulty Level: Learning to drive a truck comes more easily to some people than others. If you have trouble figuring out how to maneuver the truck in the first place, trying to do so in wet, slick weather can seem impossible. Likewise, if you are from a warmer part of the country, and are unfamiliar with winter driving, you may prefer to learn to handle slick roads in a smaller vehicle first.
Extra Challenges: Driving the truck is only part of the equation. You will also have to do pre- and post-lesson walkarounds of the truck, outside in the cold and snow. You will need to scrape snow and ice off the truck, the mirrors, the fuel tanks, the lights, and even the flaps. This means you will need to dress in layers that allow you to be comfortable both inside the truck and during protracted time outside. In addition, it can be more difficult to see the lane markers and cones on the practice track. Some people relish these challenges, while others would rather not deal with the hassles.
Holiday Considerations: If you have a family, you may not want to be away at school when your kids are at home and loved ones come to visit. Truck driving school also requires a good bit of studying, which could cause you to miss out on even more holiday time with your family.
Class Size: Though many students enjoy individual attention, some find it harder to learn when fewer classmates are around to discuss lessons and ideas. Consider your individual learning style when deciding whether a smaller class is a pro or a con for you.
There is no right answer to the question of winter truck driving school. Unless you only plan to drive locally in a state with mild year-round weather, sooner or later you will confront winter driving in your career. The question is, would you rather learn to handle it while in school, or while on the job?