If you are starting out your career as a truck driver, and find yourself up in arms as to how you can advance in your career, you are not alone. Even those who are thinking about starting out a career as a professional truck driver might have their doubts with regard to the possibilities of growth and success. Life as a truck driver can be tough, especially when you are just starting out and trying to find your spot and reach your ultimate potential.
In this article, we take a look at some of the best tips to give struggling and new truck drivers out there to assist them with achieving their full potential and becoming the best OTR or CDL truck drivers they could be.
1. Keep a Clean Driving Record
If you would like to become a sought-after professional truck driver, you had better keep a clean driving record. Freight transportation companies are more likely to hire CDL truck drivers who don’t have a tainted record than those who are recurring road offenders. Doing so is quite simple, really. Just stick to the laws of the road and you should be fine. Keep your seatbelt on at all times while driving, never text and drive, don’t even try to drive under the influence, and stick to the speed limit.
2. A Successful Truck Driver is One Who Drives Safely
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the first one – safety should always come first and follows abiding by road laws. Protecting yourself means being alert and an assertive driver who respects other drivers but are also aware of those who are not driving well and could cause accidents. When driving safely, you are showing that you care about your job, your family, and other road users. Have a look at this infographic with interesting facts with regards to road safety.
3.Meet Deadlines and Deliver the Goods
A timely truck driver is a successful one. Stick to your itinerary and schedule and go out of your way to make your deliveries on time. We are not saying endanger everyone by speeding or driving recklessly. Your schedule should leave plenty of time and you should be able to deliver on time, but don’t get sidetracked and make unnecessary stops unless it is an emergency. Stick to the Hours of Serviceand you should be fine – remember, if you are observed as a responsible truck driver who delivers on time, you are more likely to get fantastic references from fleet managers and freight transportation companies.
4. Keep Stress Levels Low
Stress can cause a lot of strain and pressure when at work, even more so for truck drivers who work hard and spend long hours driving. When you allow stress to influence your work, it could have a ripple effect and may influence your driving ability. In order for you to keep your head in the game, try to lead a balanced life while working, by getting some exercise, practicing a hobby, and following a healthy diet.
5. Give it Your All and Work Hard
By showing your employers, you are willing to put in the hours and go the extra mile, pun intended, will pave the way for your future endeavors. If you show your team that you are there to work and put in extra effort, you are bound to make a good impression and be a successful truck driver. As with anything in life, you receive what you give, if you do something half-heartedly, you will have a much harder time at work and won’t reap the rewards of giving it your all.
6. Be Willing and Available
Even though it might be difficult for those with young families, being able to take on extra work and more loads when the fleet manager needs someone urgently, you are more than likely going to achieve success early on – those with a ‘can do’ attitude will always be successful. Sometimes it is worth making compromises and putting everything in while you are building your experience and name in the industry, later on, you and your family will benefit from it.
7. Get the Necessary Paperwork
A successful truck driver will always ensure that they have the necessary paperwork including licenses to do the job on hand legally and efficiently. If you need extra endorsements, go out and get it. If you need any extra training to excel at your job, complete it.
8. Broaden Your Horizons Within the Company
Show interest in other departments at the company you are employed at. Learn everything you can about different departments and how the company works, get to know your colleagues and you’re your superiors that you are willing and able to grow along with the company in all the departments. This will not only aid in becoming a successful truck driver but also teach you different aspects of the industry and prepare you for anything that you may come to face in the lifespan of your truck driving career.
9. Respect and Trust Your Team
Do your best to bond with and nurture friendships with the people you work with. Treat them with the same level of respect that you want them to treat you. Even though it is said that a lot of truck drivers don’t get along with their dispatch team or fleet managers, you should try your best to maintain healthy relationships with everyone who works with you. Not only will this ensure a healthy workplace environment and atmosphere, but it will also show others that you are professional.
10.Empower Yourself with Knowledge
Even though this is not always a requirement for truck driving positions, you should aim to build up enough knowledge with regards to truck maintenance and mechanics. This will give you that extra edge when applying for jobs, and you also won’t have to worry about running into a problem while on the job and being stranded and relying on a mechanic who is miles away and trying to explain to you how to fix something you could have done within a couple of minutes yourself.
It is not an easy job, but it does pay off. If you set your goals and keep at it, you should be a successful truck driver within no-time. Remember to always make time for family when you are not on the road and have some precious time off at home. All the best to you in your goal to become a successful truck driver.