Instructions on How to Drive a Dump Truck

Written by roxanne blackwood
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Instructions on How to Drive a Dump Truck
Familiarise yourself with shifting gears before you attempt to operate a dump truck. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Driving a dump truck is a great way to utilise a commercial driver's license, because this position is required on every construction site and the job opportunities are plentiful. Several schools and agencies are available to train you in how to drive a dump truck. You will not only learn how to operate this vehicle but also become familiar with and informed about the safety measures. Besides obtaining a CDL there is specific training needed to drive a dump truck

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Commercial driver's license
  • DOT inspection form

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  1. 1

    Inspect the truck for damages or defects that would impede driving before operating the vehicle and fill out an inspection form. Department of Transportation requires that an inspection form is filled out each day before any truck is put into operation.

  2. 2

    Adjust the seat so that the gears and pedals are all easily within your reach and adjust the mirrors so that you have a clear view of the truck bed. Make sure your seat belt is fastened and secured.

  3. 3

    Lower the bed of the truck completely before driving anywhere. If the truck bed is not lowered, debris left in the truck may fly out and cause a safety hazard. Also, when backing up, always have someone watching so they can direct you as the dump truck has serious blind spots.

  4. 4

    Place the gearshift into neutral and set the parking brake before starting the engine. Start the engine by engaging the clutch, pressing the pedal all of the way to the floor, and stepping on the brake as you turn the key. Wait several minutes once the engine is on for the temperature and air pressure to build up. Shift into first gear and release the clutch slowly while also applying pressure to the gas.

  5. 5

    Shift into second gear as the truck starts moving. Be sure to engage the clutch every time you shift gears. At 15mph you should switch into third gear and once you reach 35mph or over, you should be in fourth gear.

  6. 6

    Park the truck on a level surface or small incline making sure that the front of the truck is pointing upwards. Exit the cab and unhook the tailgate on the truck bed. Get back into the cab and use the lever next to the stick shift to slowly release the truck bed. Press the hydraulic motion button to lift the bed and empty the contents of your load.

Tips and warnings

  • Always use the steps and grab irons and face the vehicle when getting in or out of the truck. 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.

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