Truck drivers are responsible for driving these heavy vehicles safely, in accordance with road regulations and with maximum efficiency. They are responsible for checking the condition and safety of the trucks before leaving but may also have to perform emergency roadside repairs if problems are experienced on the journey, such as changing tyres or installing light bulbs or spark plugs. Basic maintenance tasks need to be performed, such as adding oil, petrol or radiator fluid.
They collect delivery instructions from appropriate sources, verifying instructions and routes and manoeuvre the trucks into loading or unloading positions, following signals from loading crew and checking that vehicle and loading equipment is positioned properly. They need to inventory and inspect the goods to be moved to determine quantities and conditions. Goods may need to be wrapped using pads, packing paper and containers, and loads secured to truck or trailer walls, using straps. They secure the cargo for transport using ropes, blocks, chain, binders or covers. They climb ladders to inspect the loads, ensuring that the cargo is secure. Trucks need to be driven to weigh stations before and after loading and along routes to document weights and to comply with regulations.Other responsibilities of truck drivers include:
- supervising the loading and unloading of merchandise
- handing customers delivery forms and asking them to sign receipts
- accepting money
- keeping a log of the journey and reporting repairs that need to be made to the truck
- transporting perishable or hazardous substances necessitates truck drivers to adhere strictly to the regulations established for the transit of such cargo
- plan or adjust routes based on changing conditions, using computer equipment, global positioning systems (GPS) equipment, or other navigation devices to minimise petrol consumption and carbon emissions.
- physical fitness and stamina
- excellent eyesight and good perception
- responsible with sober habits
- mental stability
- mechanical aptitude to perform emergency repairs
- able to drive for long hours without losing concentration
What to Study
Driver Training Centres: The following centres check the performance of the driver, upgrade skills accordingly and offer specialised courses for conveying hazardous substances: The Operator Training Centre, Emthonjeni Training Centre, Bloemfontein Training Centre, Apex Group Training Centre, Driver Training Scheme at Luipaardsvlei.
In-service training: Drivers are normally accompanied by experienced drivers until they are familiar with routes and procedures.
If you want to become a truck driver you must:
- be at least 18 years old
- have a heavy-vehicle driver’s licence
- undergo a medical examination (which is repeated from time to time), to ensure that you are physically fit to do the work
What do truck drivers earn in South Africa?
An early career Heavy Truck Driver with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation of R42. 73 based on 158 salaries. A mid-career Heavy Truck Driver with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of R48. 83 based on 90 salaries.