If you’re new to trucking, then you should know that you have signed on for a lifestyle, not just a job. Over-the-road driving is how you live. You will often deliver a load and will not know where the next destination is until the information is given to you so you could be in New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix or the other side of your state. You are somewhat of your own boss as you will rely on your own intuition and life skills to safely perform the job and there is good money to make in the process.
Key Personal Do’s:
- Develop quickly
- Have patience
- Able to be independent
- Have a good work ethic and discipline
- Love adventure and spontaneity
- Are determined
- Have a strong personality
You will get paid based on the amount of work you get done so the more miles you run and loads you haul, the more money you make. So here are more Do’s and Don’ts to help you make the most of this new career:
- Safety First – Always always always make safety a priority. That means taking the time to do things like getting out of the truck to look before backing up; you would rather explain why a load was late instead of explaining why you wrecked the truck.The Safety Department is looking out for your best interest. They have nothing to gain from your loss or failure. They are most concerned with your compliance in order to be a success.
- Food and Exercise – Make your own food on the road whether it’s in a crock pot, griddle or electric grill, cooking your own food will save you money and your health. Along with diet, sitting in the truck for all that time is not good for your waistline, heart, joints or any part of your body. Make it a point to exercise 15 minutes twice a day. Whether it is a walk or working out with weights you bring, find what you are able to do and enjoy doing so that you will keep it up.
- Befriend your Dispatcher- He or she is your source of loads, miles, and pay. Get to know what he or she likes and pay them compliments, make sure good things come to mind when they think of you.
- Experience – Getting a lot of over the road experience is the key to growing quickly in your career. Being on time for deliveries will set the tone for the perception of who you are. Call in advance of your pickup with the customer and receiver, it could mean you getting to your next load sooner rather than later which equals more money.
- Don’t be too hasty – You may have a family to feed and recruiters know what to promise you so that you will jump at their offer. They will say you will be home all the time, make the most money and have the best benefits and spend more time and money recruiting than spending on their current drivers. Ask around, read reports on trucking companies and see what other drivers say about them.
- Never refuse a load – It leaves a bad image of your and your work ethic. Show the company you are dedicated and valuable and will likely result in more mileage. Your success is measured by how well you do your job. If you give half, you will get half. Fleet managers, dispatchers, and terminal managers go the extra mile for drivers that they know they can count on to give 110%.
- Do NOT flash your brights – Some drivers flash their brights instead of turning their lights off and back on. The other driver could be blinded and run off the road from your brights.
- Don’t be THAT driver – Be a mindful driver others on the road. The courteous thing to do when passing is to get over on your line and he moves to his which can help stop some turbulence. Most of all do not let pride get you killed because another driver is stupid.
Do not lose sight of the fact that a truck is a tool in the trucking business. It’s easy to love the open road and the big shiny truck. Remember that success takes building relationships, staying healthy and choosing wisely.