With spring now on the doorstep, our CDL schools in Texas, California, Utah, Georgia and elsewhere are gearing up for an influx of students. Schools and their instructors are preparing for a full schedule after the winter season. With that said, the slower winter season leads to an obvious question: should you train for your CDL in winter?
You could make the case about winter CDL training either way. On the one hand, attempting to learn to drive a big rig when weather can be at its worst only makes training more challenging. On the other hand, taking advantage of the slower winter season means students get a lot more attention from their instructors.
At C.R. England, we recruit new drivers for our training program year-round. We send drivers to Premier Truck Driving Schools before bringing them on board to finish training on-the-job. Our experience tells us that there is no time of year that is best for training. There are strong and weak points to every season. Where winter training is concerned, we remind new drivers that they are going to have to learn to drive in winter weather anyway. The sooner, the better.
Plenty of Help Available
New drivers learning to drive in winter weather can take comfort in the fact that there is always plenty of help available. Training begins in the classroom and then heads outdoors where students get behind the wheel of a truck for actual driving practice. But they don’t get in the truck alone. They have an experienced trainer in the seat right next to them.
The driver with a new CDL who comes to work for C.R. England is assigned to work with a driver trainer for a set amount of time. That driver trainer serves a dual purpose. First, he or she fills the same role as the instructor at CDL school. He/she is there to answer questions, offer advice, and generally guide the driver.
The second purpose of the driver trainer is to take over if the new driver is overwhelmed. During a severe winter storm, it would not be unusual for this to take place. The new driver should know that having to surrender the wheel to a trainer is not the end of the world. Trying to work through that first major snowstorm creates a tremendous amount of stress – it is normal and to be expected. Driver trainers understand this completely. They are there to help.
Having said that, driver trainers are also there to encourage new drivers to work their way through stressful situations. That is the only way to learn. It’s up to the new driver and his or her trainer to find that happy medium that works for both.
Getting It Out of the Way
There is an advantage to learning how to drive a truck during the winter season. That advantage is learning the skills necessary to keep you driving safely throughout the years. If you apply winter driving skills throughout the year, you won’t have to reset your mind every year when the snow starts coming.
It might be better for you to learn to drive in the winter and then cruise into spring and summer on your way to eventually working solo. By the time next winter arrives, you will already have that training and experience under your belt..
In the end, there is no right or wrong. New drivers should plan on going to CDL school at whatever time of year is most comfortable for them.