Top 7 Qualities Of A Professional Truck Driver

Every trucking company wants the best drivers for its trucks. Though approximately 3 million trained truck drivers are constantly hauling loads across the nation all the time, not all of them are getting incentives and bonuses. Some truckers are born drivers, but some excel at their skill with training, patience and confidence.

Driving trucks is not a layman’s job. A trucker doesn’t just maneuver his truck on the country’s highways hauling loads from one place to another, he takes sole responsibility of his truck and the cargo. Despite all the hurdles and challenges, he ensures timely and safe delivery of the freight. Well, those are characteristics of a “Pro-Trucker”.

Do you aspire to be a professional truck driver that employers and customers can rely on? If yes, go ahead and read along to know the top qualities of a professional truck driver.

Responsibility

This is the most important and non-negotiable aspect of a truck driving job. Timely delivery of the freight is crucial for maintaining schedules in the trucking business. A trucker with a record of always delivering the cargo intact and on time, despite big hurdles, is every employer’s favorite.

Good business is always based on trust between two parties. And trust is contingent upon quality of service. A trucker’s performance is the only defining factor when it comes to providing good service in the trucking business. There are always some things that will go wrong. Truck will break down on the road. Weather will block the way. There will be issues in loading the freight safely. There will be delays in dispatch schedule and traffic will always be high. Problems will always be insurmountable, pressure high, and expectations even higher. And most of all, there will be a higher need of staying in control and keeping calm in order to safely drive through the difficult circumstances. A true professional driver minimizes risks, optimizes his strategy, saves time and gets his job done.

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

—Benjamin Franklin

Nobody wants excuses. However difficult a task may be, if you want to get something done, you get it done. Customers want their delivery on time. A trucker who can deliver safely on time and even ahead of time, even in storms and hurricanes, is a true hero.

A sense of responsibility for the cargo and the truck makes a driver extra-ordinary. Adhering to rules for road safety and assuring the safety of goods being transported is essential. The more responsible drivers are always considered as more reliable.

A clean driving record

A clean driving record is the best proof of a trucker’s professionalism. It ensures the employers and clients that the cargo is well taken care of. A good work record is essential for being able to work with good trucking companies. All employers want able drivers whom they can trust. A good driving record ensures safety of trucks as well as the freight.

Other than safety and security of the trucks and the cargo, truckers with good driving record solidify the reputation of a trucking company. Truckers with good driving records are the most experienced, professional and reliable drivers who perform exceptionally well in all kinds of situations. Such truckers are any company’s true assets as they drive the company’s revenue forward by thriving to always deliver the cargo in a safe and timely manner. Even when professional truck drivers demand higher pay, they are always cheaper for trucking companies as they reduce the maintenance and damage costs extensively.

Maintaining a good work relationship with the dispatcher and the employer ensures better working experience in the trucking world. Following are essential for maintaining a clean driving record:

  • Complying with state and federal regulation for essential vehicular maintenance and checks for the trucks
  • Performing pre-trip and post-trip responsibilities in accordance with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations
  • Following Sysco policies and procedures
  • Following traffic and road safety rules and regulations
  • Maintaining proper logs and records
  • Staying away from drugs and alcohol
  • Always keeping the required documents (licenses, permits, insurance, etc.) on hand

It’s necessary to abide by the rules and regulations in the trucking industry as the risks involved are extremely high. Staying in line and never losing control allow the driver to have an impeccable record in his driving career. A clean driving record is essential for maintaining a good rapport with the employers and customers. It not only ensures better pay and perks while working with the existing employer, but also opens doors for new and better job opportunities in the future.

Alertness and Awareness

Driving on the open road requires alertness at all times. Strong senses and a good hand-eye co-ordination are must for all truck drivers. Well-developed sense of spatial management to turn and cut in close corners in regular and longer trucks requires good perception of road and space management. Challenging terrains such as mountainous and snow covered roads demand unfailing alertness and utmost precision. Being able to attend to all circumstances spontaneously is a skill that separates the rookies from the professionals.

A truck driver should be alert to many factors including road conditions, weather and traffic.Being aware of the weather forecast of the entire route and taking necessary precautions will help ensure the timely arrival to the destination.

Along with alertness, awareness is required. Road awareness entails being aware of the other drivers’ actions on the road, paying attention to all the road signs and signals, adhering to speed limits, and most importantly, knowing the truck and cargo requirements.

People skills

The essence of this skillset lies in being courteous. Great truck drivers are great listeners and extroverts. Though the major part of a trucking job involves spending time alone on the road, good communication skills are essential for being efficient as a trucker.

A trucker interacts with the employer, clients, dock workers, mechanics, service staff and other truckers. A courteous attitude makes everyone feel invited and respected. Knowing how to get on well with all the people involved in the profession helps in getting the job done with 100% satisfaction on everyone’s end.

Maintenance skills

A good trucker is expected to take care of his truck and cargo. He has to load the freight with extreme care and ensure safety of goods. He has to watch out for any damage to the trailer or the cargo, make sure the wheels are turning during winter, and have the skills to fix frozen parts such as brake valves and brake shoe drum.

Timely maintenance of the trucks is mandatory irrespective of the job since trucks are the key to transportation. Timely maintenance of trucks ensures good profitability in the long run. A good truck driver knows when his truck needs maintenance and when it gets worn out.

Operating dispensing equipment, forklift, setting up for loading dock, pinning up trailer, setting up axle trailer, chaining up a big rig to various different type of trucks are some skills that truck drivers must have. Knowledge of the entire truck is important for being able to do mechanical repairs and to take care of the truck in case of breakdowns. Its always a trait of a great trucker to get the mechanical and maintenance problems sorted without any external help.

Independent Attitude

Truckers often work alone on their rigs throughout the journey. Though they have dispatchers and other help, in-person work has to be taken up by the driver himself. He has to be able to overcome the factor of loneliness during most of the travel and be ready to face any situation that could require his attention and work. This does not mean that he has to be a lone wolf, but he should be able to adapt when the situation compels him to act alone. He should be physically and mentally able to operate alone.

A good trucker must act on his decisions, and he must take his decisions wisely. Good decision-making power and immediate action-taking abilities are some prized attributes of seasoned truckers. A high sense of self-motivation and genuine passion for the job, without mismanaging the timetable, proves effective in becoming a great truck driver.

Physical fitness

Physical strength is a default requirement for being a good truck driver. It’s important to have good stamina and physical strength for being able to load, unload and haul freight single-handedly for long distances.

Other physical abilities required for a trucking driving job are:

  • Ability to see details at both close range and long range depth perception
  • Hearing sensitivity on the road
  • Ability to see and perceive under low lighting conditions
  • Static strength to exert maximum muscle force
  • Ability to know your location in relation to environment
  • Quicker response time than average driver
  • Extended flexibility for any given situation.

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