CDL Training Resources & Truck Driver Career News

Helpful Information About CDL Training & Trucking Jobs

Check out this selection of news articles, training resources, and other helpful information about the trucking industry to learn more about your career choices and how to prepare for in-demand job opportunities in trucking. Then, when you’re ready to get started with your CDL Training, give us a call! 1-800-835-2540 or if you’re in the Twin Cities area, call 651-528-8994

  • Image of snowing scenic highway. Text over image reads: "How to survive minnesota winter driving"

    5 Tips To Help Truck Drivers Drive Safe In Winter

    Updated December 2019 The trucking industry isn’t one that slows down for the cold, snowy, and icy Minnesota winters. Goods still must be delivered and equipment must be moved, so that means truck drivers just keep on trucking. However, while doing so they must be aware of the additional safety precautions they will need to take to keep themselves – and those they share the road with – as safe as possible while driving in harsh Minnesota winters. The following are tips to help truck drivers stay safe during Minnesota winter driving.

    1. Pre-Trips Keep Your Truck in Running Order

    During your training at HMTT, you’ll spend time learning pre-trip and physical examinations of the truck. Conducting a vehicle inspection before each trip ensures that your truck is in good running condition. As the weather changes, you’ll need to stay on top of maintenance items like washer blades and fluid, and clear off any snow and ice, especially on doors, windows, and lights. Checking to make sure your tires have good tread on them and are at the right tire pressure can help save you from burning up extra, unneeded fuel and can help you get traction on the road when you need it most. Noticing that something is wrong at the truck stop can save you from breaking down in the middle of a freezing cold interstate in the middle of Minnesota.

    2. Know Snow Chain Requirements

    Consider your route. It’s not something we normally consider in the Midwest, but some states require the use of snow chains in certain areas for winter driving. If your route takes you out west, you may have to put snow chains on your truck if you are hauling exceptionally heavy loads or are traveling through mountainous roadways. Chains provide added traction in addition to what the tread on your normal tires provides. Know when you’ll need them, and know how to use them. Follow the posted signs and carrier requirements, and use your radio to monitor traffic and road condition updates along your route.

    3. Slow Your Roll

    Roads that just look wet might actually be covered in black ice. Sudden starts, or hard braking on slick, icy roads can cause a loss of vehicle control. Starting off slowly, and leaving additional space between you and other drivers give you more time to see road hazards, and maneuver as necessary.
    A trainer at Heavy Metal Truck Training, Mark Chlebecek, was recently interviewed by CBSN Minnesota about the hazards and safety measures to be aware of while driving in tough winter conditions. [arve url="" /]   “The winter adds another element to speed and space management. We have to decrease our speed and increase our space." For vehicles, that means leaving at least a 3-second gap behind a semi-truck and semi-truck drivers need to leave at least 7 seconds behind another vehicle. Chlebecek's advice for all drivers..., "If you're not confident driving in this stuff, whether it is a car or a truck, don't drive."

    4. Pack Basic Necessity Items

    Carrying a winter-weather kit is key. If you break down you’ll want to have some basic items on hand. Extra clothes, a flashlight, batteries, jumper cables, blankets, a thermal sleeping bag, jumper cables, a small shovel, snow brush/scraper, winter salt or cat litter, extra bottles of water, and some snacks are good to keep on hand – especially if you will be waiting a few hours for help.

    5. Practice Basic Traveling Safety…Always

    Practice safe driving in all weather conditions! Take things slow, and give yourself extra space between cars or other trucks. Practicing courtesy to other drivers makes it safer for both you and others on the road to get where you are going more safely. These are 5 great tips to help keep you driving safely during Minnesota winter. Want more? Learn how to stay safe on the road by enrolling in one of our CDL programs! Contact us at Heavy Metal Truck Training to register today for our next class! 651-528-8994
  • An image of gold sparklers at night spelling out "2017" as a symbol of the new trucking industry outlook.

    Trucking Job Search & Salary Outlook

    Trucking provides a rewarding and stable career. As with any job, though, you should not apply until you understand the industry. Before becoming a trucker, consider the trucking industry outlook for 2017:

    Job Offer Overview

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in the trucking industry to grow at a rate of 5% over the next 10 years, creating 98,800 jobs. Given that experts predict many current truck drivers will retire soon, new truckers will have ample job opportunities. In addition to the overall rate of job growth, prospective drivers should consider the specific skills that trucking companies are seeking. Shippers are upgrading their trucks to improve fuel efficiency, prevent accidents, and provide electronic reports. Truckers who have experience or training with this technology are especially likely to find good jobs. Those with experience in the oil and gas industry also have a hiring advantage.

    Pay Prospects

    The average trucker earned a yearly salary of $40,260 in 2015. This is equal to earning $19.36 per hour. Most truckers, however, do not earn hourly wages. Instead, shippers pay them per mile and offer higher rates to truckers who transport more valuable cargo or drive under difficult conditions. Truckers who own their vehicles, or work for companies with profit sharing programs, can earn a portion of the shipping revenue. This includes distant deliveries. Truckers’ pay also varies by industry, with wholesale truckers earning $39,500 per year on average. Specialized freight drivers earn $40,840 a year. Generalized freight drivers earn a full $42,320 a year.

    Recruiting Requirements

    The law requires long-haul drivers to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. The licensing process varies by state but usually requires the trucker to pass a driving test and a written exam. Truckers who transport hazardous materials must also receive a HAZMAT endorsement. To get this endorsement, truckers are required to take another test and go through a background check.

    How You Can Benefit from the 2017 Trucking Industry Outlook

    Besides having your CDL, most employers require truckers to attend professional trucking schools. Heavy Metal Truck Training provides the training you need to impress any employer. Our courses offer in-depth training and preparation for all certifications. To begin your trucking career, discover the program that best fits your current skill level.
  • Cindi accepted a job offer with Diamond Road Grinding Company.

    We received an email update from one of our former students, Cynthia Kaeder: It's always so great to hear from our students, and love the pictures they send. selfie of HMTT graduate Cynthia Kaeder in front of her 2006 Frieghtliner ColumbiaThank you for the opportunity to attend your school to acquire my Class A CDL. I got my license Sept 27th 2016 (also got my Tanker & Dbl/Trip endorsements) I accepted a job offer on the 29th with a MN based diamond road grinding company that travels nationally. I drive a tanker for one of their mobile Diamond road grinding crews. My 1st full year 2017 as i came in late season I can expect to make anywhere from $65-85k+ (plus they have great benefits) My rig is a 2006 Frieghtliner Columbia daycab with a 10spd Eaton transmission just rolled her over 110k & I haul a 20,000gal tanker which picks up the water & road grind fines from the diamond road grinder Keep doin a great job! -Cindi photo of HMTT graduate Cynthia Kaeder's 2006 Frieghtliner Columbia parked on the rode of the road photo of HMTT graduate Cynthia Kaeder's 2006 Frieghtliner Columbia parked on the rode of the road        
  • image of Truckings Top Rookie logo

    Congratulations, Shawna Froehlich!

    Shawna Froehlich, a graduate of Heavy Metal Truck Training school, is named a Trucking's Top Rookie finalist for 2016! HMTT graduate Shawna Froehlich standing off stage in front of the Trucking's Top Rookie bannerThe Top Rookie award is named for the late Mike O'Connell, former executive director of CVTA. This award honors truck drivers new to the industry, helps instill pride and professionalism among new drivers, and in general promotes truck driving as a solid and stable career opportunity. The award is sponsored by CVTA, Rand McNally, Pilot Flying J, Progressive Commercial Insurance, National Association of Publicly Funded Driving Schools, Professional Truck Driver Institute, American Trucking Associations, Cobra and the Red Eye Radio Network.


    Each year, a panel of judges names the Top 10 finalists for the Top Rookie award, each nominated by their motor carrier employer, training organization, or members of the general public. Eligible drivers must have either completed a PDTI-certified course, or graduated from a truck driver training school that is a CVTA or NAPFTDS member. They must also have less than one year of employment as a professional truck driver. Nominated drivers are graded and evaluated on their availability, safety, and customer relationships.

    Award Winning Rookie

    From the 10 finalists, one winner will be announced as Trucking's Top Rookie for 2016, and will be awarded cash and other prizes at the Great American Trucking Show! Award runners up also receive cash and other prizes. Previous Top Rookie winners include Darek Paul (2011), Keith Redvay (2012), Kyle Lee (2013), Julie Matulle (2014), and Frederick Weatherspoon (2015). [update:] Congratulations to Chris Crowell, who was named as 2016's Top Rookie. 

    2016 Finalist!

    We're so proud of Shawna's achievement as finalist for the Top Rookie of the year award! We're glad to be a part of Shawna's success and helping her to start her new career with such impact. Shawna is now enjoying a successful career as a driver for DART Transport. She is also the 3rd HMTT graduate in 4 years to be named a finalist for Top Rookie Driver of the Year! The 2017 Contest will open on May 15, 2017. For more information on this contest, please visit If you'd like your chance at becoming a Top Rookie finalist - or even being the grand prize winner - your first step is becoming a truck driver! Let HMTT help you get the ball rolling. Contact us today for enrollment options for our state-certified CDL training programs! Your new career is only a phone call away! 1-800-835-2540. Local to the Twin Cities? Call our school office at 651-528-8994.
  • 2016 Community Builder of the Year

    Each year, Lifetrack presents a Community Builder of the Year award to a local Twin Cities business that demonstrates advocacy, support and dedication toward Lifetrack participants who are looking for employment. This award honors the work of businesses that play an essential role in helping to eliminate economic and employment disparities. Lifetrack has named Heavy Metal Truck Training as its 2016 Community Builder of the Year for its outstanding service to job seekers who aim to pave their way into the high-growth industry of commercial trucking.

    Gary Pressley and Lida Wiger stand on stage holding Lifetrack award certificateThe Heart of Lifetrack

    For Lifetrack, their everyday mission is to develop the strengths of adults and families facing life challenges, and provide a solid foundation for the next generation. For over 20 years, Lifetrack has helped local residents, immigrants, and refugees find meaningful jobs in Minnesota. Heavy Metal Truck Training is a strong advocate for Lifetrack’s employment program, and works closely with the team and new participants to ensure that they succeed throughout their entire truck driver training.

    Hiring Partner

    By sustaining strong partnerships with local businesses like Heavy Metal Truck Training, Lifetrack is able to offer job seekers skills-training, networking connections, and support so they can attain better employment and become active participants in our economy.

    Career Training

    As part of Lifetrack's Train-to-Career Program, HMTT provides Minnesota State certified CDL training and job placement assistance to program participants hoping to attain their commercial driver’s license and find employment in the trucking industry. This program is funded by the City of Minneapolis and helps low-income residents enroll in training for living-wage careers in growing industries like trucking. The partnership between HMTT and Lifetrack is one of the most successful working relationships, and Heavy Metal Truck Training is honored to have received this community award. Read the full article here.