If you’ve ever considered working as a truck driver, you probably know that it’s about a lot more than just holding the steering wheel. There are a lot of things that make a good truck driver, and some of them you maybe haven’t given too much thought to previously.
That being said, there are some important principles you’ll want to keep in mind, and there are some things that will definitely help you with that goal. Let’s not waste too much time and look at a few tips on how to become a truck driver and a successful one at that.
Successful Truck Drivers Stay Safe
This is probably the most important tip you’ll get when you’re trying to become a truck driver, and it’s one that is critical for both new, and seasoned drivers – safety should be your number one priority. When you consider freight and road safety, truck driving can actually be a dangerous job, because you’re responsible for the safety of not just you, but the freight, as well as other drivers on the road, too. When you take into consideration that a small mistake on your end might have disastrous consequences, it’s easy to see why safety is crucial.
One thing to keep in mind is that you can’t really expect other drivers to be familiar with how challenging driving a truck is. This is why oftentimes you’ll find yourself going out of your way to make sure that they’re safe as well.
When it comes to safety, it’s about a lot more than just driving. You should also be prepared to fix any mechanical issues that may appear on the road. And in order to prevent these, pre-trip and post-trip inspections are a good thing to do, constantly.
Keep a Clean Record to be a Successful Truck Driver
This shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you’re staying safe, but keeping a clean record goes a long way towards becoming a successful truck driver. Yes, a lot of people can just get behind the wheel and drive, but if you have a clean record, you’ll have a significant advantage in the eyes of any potential employer.
Now, keeping a clean record requires you to know the laws and respect them – drinking or texting and driving are forbidden, and you should always wear your seatbelt, respect the speed limits and road signs, and use your turn signals. While sure, these all apply when you’re driving a car, too, a truck is much bigger than a car and can wreak havoc if you aren’t careful.
To add to this, we did mention this when discussing safety, but you should keep your eyes peeled for any other drivers that may not be paying as much attention as they should be. A clean record isn’t just about you not making mistakes, it’s about making sure you’re careful about others, too.
Successful Truck Drivers Become a Friend With the Dispatchers
Dispatchers will work closely with you pretty much every step of the way, from assigning you cargo to making sure that you get to the destination safely. And to add to this, oftentimes they’ll even do part of your job for you, like keeping records about what you need to do daily, check the weather for you, give you info on fuel costs and truck stops along the way.
Therefore, you’ll need to pretty much develop a relationship with them, and the better it is, the better you’ll be able to do your job. This goes both ways, and if you’re good with the dispatchers, they’ll be good with you and treat you well, too.
Don’t Think of Trucking All the Time
This is an oftentimes overlooked aspect, but it’s critical if you want to become a good truck driver. Maintaining a balance between work and life is important in just about any profession – truck driving is no different.
Now, it may be tricky when you’re starting out because trucking comes with a risk of becoming something you think about all the time. You work, eat and sleep in your truck, and it makes it easy to forget that you have a life (and family) outside of it.
But there are a lot of ways to deal with this. Not only can you Skype with your family, or even have a virtual date with your significant other – you can also set your schedule in a way that allows you to refuel, energize, spend time with your family and then get back to your job.
You will also find that trucking does get you a lot of time for hobbies, which may include photography, reading, or audiobooks. There are hours-of-service regulations that dictate how long you can drive and how much you should rest, so why not use that time to do something that takes your mind off trucking for a bit? It’s definitely going to be worth it.