Ice Road Trucking Jobs: Definition and How to Get One

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 21, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Ice roads occur during winter above frozen water bodies like lakes, seas, and rivers. These ice roads allow truckers to supply goods to different regions in winter. Learning about ice road trucking jobs can help determine if this career choice aligns with your abilities and goals. In this article, we describe what ice road trucking jobs are, explain what an ice road trucker does, present steps to become one, explore tips for pursuing this career, and highlight examples of their skills.

What are ice road trucking jobs?

Ice road trucking jobs involve professional truck drivers transporting goods across ice roads during the winter months. The majority of these jobs occur in Northwest Territories. Once rivers and lakes freeze, ice roads get constructed so that vehicles may transport goods to regions to which it's difficult to travel. Employees on oil rigs and mines depend solely on ice road truckers to deliver food, fuel, personal supplies, and equipment over frozen rivers. They can also deliver to restaurants, grocery stores, and other locations that require fresh food.

Related: Writing a Truck Driver Resume (with Template and Example)

What does an ice road trucker do?

Despite a flexible schedule, ice road truckers work all hours during the winter months. The essential duties of an ice road trucker include:

  • driving a truck to deliver products to and from distribution locations or production facilities

  • pre-inspecting the truck before driving to their destination

  • following driving directions and road maps to precisely identify their destination

  • loading and unloading products at different locations

  • ensuring that product gets delivered to the right location

  • maintaining the trucks and observing safe driving procedures and laws

  • keeping detailed records of kilometres driven, expenses, pickups, and delivery proof

How to become an ice road trucker

Here are steps you can follow to become an ice road trucker:

1. Meet the minimum requirement

Hiring managers often have minimum requirements that candidates can follow. Meeting these requirements can increase your chances of being an ice road trucker. One of the main requirements is being at least 19 years old. Having a clean driving record and no criminal background can help you prove to hiring managers that you're a responsible candidate. Many employees frequently ask for a GED or high school diploma before considering a candidate. Consider doing a medical checkup to ensure you're fit for this career choice. Before applying for the job, it's important that you read the job description to confirm that you meet their requirements.

2. Have a standard driver's licence

Consider having a standard driver's licence before advancing to a specialized one. Obtaining an official driver's licence often involves passing a written examination and road test. The requirements for obtaining a licence might differ depending on your province or territory. Knowing the time, cost, and paperwork required to obtain a driver's licence in your region can help you stay organized.

3. Get a commercial driving licence

Obtaining a commercial driver's licence (CDL) involves the completion of a recognized truck driving school program. Attending a truck driving school can teach you how to operate various trucks and the regulatory information necessary to pass licence examinations. This training equips you for the CDL exam, which consists of a vehicle inspection test, basic control test, and road test.

You can discover CDL training programs in private truck driving schools or colleges. The programs differ in duration from a few months to a year. CDL candidates may carry a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) for up to six months to gain on-road experience with the guidance of a CDL holder. Consider applying to a truck driving school when getting your CDL to help you network with other ice road truckers.

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4. Gain experience

Hiring managers often prefer candidates with at least two years of relevant experience. You can decide to drive a delivery truck to obtain experience. Having these experiences can give you learning tips that can be useful for an ice road trucker. It can also promote your network with other truckers, which can help to keep you informed about job openings.

Related: How to Gain Experience to Advance Your Career in 12 Steps

Tips for pursuing a career as an ice road trucker

You can utilize these tips if you plan on pursuing a career as an ice road trucker:

Maintain current driving regulations knowledge

Knowing the current driving laws and regulations across the city, province, or territory is important. Laws are often subject to change, and restrictions on these ice roads might differ yearly. The more you have knowledge and familiarity with guidelines, the more proficient you might be when driving. You can also decide to share this important information with other truckers to help ensure the safety of everyone.

Gain insight from others

You can get information about this job by conversing with other truckers and listening to their experiences. Ice road truckers with years of experience may offer advice and restrictions you might not know. They can also show you how to drive through challenging road paths during a delivery. Conversing with other truckers helps you learn tips and creates a network of like-minded people.

Related: How to Network for a Job (Flawless Tips and Steps)

Practise driving

Practising your driving skills can help you increase your confidence when you drive a truck. By gaining road experience in various trucks, you may better understand traffic signs and decide your ideal driving style. Adapting your driving style to specific vehicles and observing their variations increases your awareness of your driving abilities. You can also test your driving skills during the winter period to determine your proficiency in this career.

Examples of ice road truckers' skills

Here are examples of the skills required to become a successful ice road trucker:

Mechanical knowledge

A thorough understanding of a truck is important to be an excellent ice road trucker. Truckers might encounter mechanical issues when delivering products on the road. Knowing how to deal with these difficulties can prevent delayed deliveries and allow you to travel to a safe location to fix the issue properly. It also helps to guarantee that your truck complies with all safety criteria.

Safe driving skills

Employers in this field prioritize safety when driving a truck. Having safe driving skills can help you maintain a safe driving environment. Numerous practise sessions may provide you with excellent techniques for driving a truck. Comprehensive business training and certificates can also give the formal knowledge required to drive a truck. Consider developing this skill to make you a strong candidate to hiring managers.

Organizational skills

Ice road truckers need organizational skills because of the volume of documentation necessary for the job. This documentation might include reporting travel information, documenting truck safety inspections, and signing in for work. Employers often need truckers to keep thorough records to guarantee safe and responsible driving. Consider having organizational skills to help you look accountable and responsible to the hiring manager.

Related: Developing Proficient Organizational Skills

Focus

Being focused when driving is important to guarantee your safety and those around you. Having this skill involves you utilizing all your senses when driving. This can help you recognize a problem in its initial stage and maintain good safety standards on the road. Consider establishing methods to stay focused, such as avoiding distractions and arranging your route before travel.

Related: 7 Focusing Strategies (Plus Tips and When to Implement)

Stress management

Effective stress management is an essential skill for a successful ice road trucker. You might encounter various factors that can cause stress when driving on an ice road. Developing the ability to handle stress successfully can prepare you for this career choice. There are several methods you can choose from to manage stress. Meditating, listening to music, conversing with family members, and exercising are a few stress-relieving activities. Consider choosing the stress-relieving activity that works best for you.

Related: A List of 19 Techniques for Stress Management at Work

Communication skills

Building your communication skills is important to becoming an ice road trucker. Ice road truckers frequently converse with customers, dispatch riders, supervisors, or colleagues during deliveries. Consider developing this skill to perform these responsibilities properly. These include confidence, respect, empathy, responsiveness, and active listening skills. Practising effective communication skills with other truckers can help keep you informed of the latest road restrictions and laws.

Related: 7 Ways to Communicate Effectively (Plus Benefits and Tips)

Patience

Patience is the ability to tolerate problems or delays. Driving a truck on ice roads requires patience. Situations like a flat tire, scheduling delays, traffic jams, or other critical technical issues require patience to handle them. Developing patience during frustrating situations can help you follow safety procedures when driving. This can make the hiring manager view you as a cautious driver.

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