How to Drive a Dump Truck

by Linda Ray

Dump truck drivers are in demand on just about every kind of construction site. Most dump truck drivers learn how to operate the rigs on the job in small areas where they can't do much harm. Builders require truck drivers to hold a CDL to prove they know the basics of gear shifting and truck handling. Various truck-driving schools include training in dump trucks, as well as semis and other vehicles.

Set the seat appropriately so that you can easily reach all the gears and pedals. Arrange the mirrors to make sure you have a full view to the back of the truck bed.

Step on the clutch and the brake as you turn the key in the ignition. Move the shifter into first gear. Release the clutch slowly as you apply pressure to the gas pedal. Shift out of first gear as soon as the truck starts moving. Move into third gear when you get to about 10 or 15 mph. Fourth gear will only be needed when driving on a road at more than 35 mph.

Make sure the bed of the truck is completely lowered before driving the truck. Even if you aren't leaving the job site, accidents can happen while the bed is raised. Low-hanging wires can be hit or rocks and debris left in the truck can fly out and break something or hit another worker. Utilize a watcher when backing up to avoid accidents, as well.

Bring the truck to a level area or on a slight hill with the front of the truck pointed upwards. Leave the truck and unhook the tailgate. Return to the cab and use the hand lever beside the stick shift to release the truck bed. Press the button that starts the hydraulic motion to lift the bed of the truck and empty the load. Put the truck into low gear and move it forward very slowly if the load gets stuck in the tailgate.

Cover the load when driving on the road to avoid flying debris that could cause an accident. When on the road, drive at or below the speed limit. Dump trucks are not designed for speed and can easily tip on curves.

Tip

  • check Learn to operate other equipment at a construction site to improve your job security.

Warning

  • close Driving the dump truck off the lot on public streets requires a high level of attention to your surroundings.

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About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."