skills-and-traits-of-a-professional-trucker

Follow important instructions for safe and regular road trip

Sometimes people simply aren’t a good fit for a particular job or position, which hinders their prospects of promotion and professional growth. The same goes for professional truckers, so if you’re looking to start a career in truck driving, take a look at our list of responsibilities, skills, and traits you should have under your belt before actually applying for the job.

Before going on the road, review the dispatcher’s instructions and make sure they are accurate and correct. You’ll need to make a few rest and fuel stops, so going over the orders and the delivery schedule will help you better organize your trip.

Don’t be a stranger to planning

Although the law is changing so that soon drivers won’t be able to have handheld devices, there are still a few gems of technology you can use to help you coordinate your trip. With GPS, smartphones, scanners, and routing software it’s become much easier for truckers to plan and organize. It’s always useful to get to know the areas you’ll be driving through, so that you’ll be ready for anything on the road and be able to avoid dangerous sites and situations.

Know the rules and regulations like the back of your hand

Although you’ll have a whole team of people behind you, making sure everything from the cargo to the legal requirements are taken care of, it’s still advisable to familiarize yourself with the rules of the industry. If you’re behind the wheel, it’s expected that you know which rules apply to you and the freight you’re transporting, so it wouldn’t hurt to get chummy with the rules enforced by the Department of Transportation (especially the hours of service (HOS) rules). Some basics include being familiar with proper loading and unloading procedures, securing different types of freight and the weight restrictions, as well as adjusting the trailer axle weight are fundamental skills every driver should have.

Check and double check all of your equipment - safety first!

The most important thing to remember when you’re on the road is that you need to watch out for the safety of other drivers around you, and not only your own. You’re driving a beast of a machine, so the bottom line is that you are the last line of defence when it comes to making sure that everything on your vehicle is functioning, ready, and safe for the road. It’s always good to start with the weather, so it would be best if you checked (and even cross-checked different sources) the weather a few times before you set off. Based on the weather, you can know what equipment you absolutely have to bring, and what you probably should bring. After gathering the necessary gear, it’s time to inspect the vehicle itself. You are by obliged law to examine the truck and trailer, so make sure all the lights are functioning, the fluid levels are sufficient, and the tire pressure is correct, and so on. You have to exercise your due diligence here, because during pre-trip and post-trip inspections you are expected to report any problems you encountered with the truck.

Be familiar with your load and how to deal with it

Besides having to know how to deal with your truck, a professional trucker is expected to know how to properly handle the cargo itself. Drivers shouldn’t be required to load or unload the cargo, but unfortunately that sometimes isn’t the case, which is why knowing how to secure different types of cargo might come in handy. When transporting produce, the driver is required to oversee the loading and make sure that skids patterning is done correctly, and that the load is secured with locks as needed. Flatbeds, on the other hand, need to have their cargo secured with tarps and straps. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the luxury of only transporting a preloaded trailer, without being involved in the loading and unloading of freight.

Load up on patience and be prepared to deal with stress

Patience is an absolutely essential trait for every successful truck driver. Although you’ll be faced with various annoying situations, such as traffic and waiting at the docks, it will always be expected of you to deal with everything calmly. Tolerance is a must in this industry, even though sometimes people aren’t really deserving of your respect and patience.

This particular profession isn’t exactly a walk in the park, so even if you have a great team behind you, you can still expect some stressful situations from time to time. However, the faster you figure out how to deal with them, the sooner they will become less stressful and you’ll handle them much easier.

Legal requirements

As you may have guessed, every state has different laws and regulations, but the general rule is that you have to be at least 18 years old to apply for a truck driving position. However, until you turn at least 21 years old you can only drive within one state (this number also varies, depending on the company and state in question).

When it comes to education, you are only expected to have a high school diploma. You won’t need to take any courses before you apply for the position, since you’ll likely receive all the necessary training from the company that hires you (make sure to research everything before applying, however).

Having a clean criminal record is an incredible advantage, since it allows you to transport all kinds of freight, and work for any company. You are also permitted to cross international borders, and acquire various benefits and licences.

It’s mandatory to pass the physical if you’re opting for a trucking career, since the job does involve a certain amount risk. When it comes to sight, a professional truck driver is expected to have at least 20/40 vision with glasses or lenses, and a vision of 70 degree field (in each eye). Good hearing is extremely important for this profession, and it too will be tested on the physical.

Lastly, you’ll need to have a Commercial Driver’s Licence (CDL), and you’re ready to send out those applications!

If you’re considering a career in professional truck driving, and you think you fit the bill, visit our website because we’re hiring!

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