What Skills are Needed to be a Truck Driver?
Truck drivers are essential for the global economy to function. They can be paid well and allow you to drive through the country (and beyond). This can be an attractive job for many, but are you cut out to be a truck driver? In this article, we will explore some of the qualities and skills that are needed in order to be a great truck driver. Let’s get into it.
Responsibility is probably the most important quality of a truck driver. In order to have a credible reputation, you need to have a responsible mindset. If you make a mistake or screw something up, you need to own up to it. These are regarding you as a person, but a certain mentality must be applied when you are representing the company that hired you. You will need to act in a respectful manner as if you were a lawyer representing your client. Even while driving, you are transporting someone else’s load, you need to be as careful with it as you can. Avoid any bumps or potential damage to the cargo as it will make both you and your company look bad if you fail to do so.
Being able to find your way on the open road is one of the key aspects of being a truck driver. True, this skill has lost a bit of its significance since technology is doing more and more of the driving job for us. But this doesn’t mean that way-finding is obsolete, nor will it be in the foreseeable future. Relying on technology too much is a fatal mistake, both for your safety and your job. So still be alert about your surroundings. Especially pay attention to the terrain that you are passing (or commonly pass), knowing the terrain of the places you are going through can help immensely in fulfilling the job. Not to mention the fact that if you get lost, you can still read a good old-fashioned map to get your way around.
Nobody is asking you to be a trained expert mechanic, but there is a degree of mechanical knowledge that is considered vital, and you will definitely need to have it if you want to be a truck driver. You will spend countless hours on the road and in your truck, crossing all kinds of terrain and being near and far from civilization. Because of this, if something goes wrong while you are away, you won’t be able to wait countless hours for someone to arrive, as it will lose you so much precious time and most likely make you cross the deadline. Always keep a toolbox by your vehicle and learn how to do basic diagnostics in order to fix any potential problem that could arise (that is still manageable by only you).
There is Always Room for Improvement
Having the necessary minimum is only good enough to get you started, but the real pros get to where they are by learning from their mistakes and always improving themselves. These are the 3 best ways of doing this:
• Learn From Your Mistakes. It takes character for a person to admit their own mistakes, let alone learn from them. But if you want to be a quality truck driver, you have to face the reality that you will make countless mistakes, bad calls, and blunders along the way. So, better get used to them, accept them as a part of the job, and learn from them.
• Learn From Others. In order to grow and gain insight into the field, you will need to talk to experts and veterans from the business, talk to them and learn from their experiences. It will always be worth your time to separate some time to get to know some other people, they will usually have some tips that you can apply for yourself.
• Drive. There is no double meaning behind this one, just drive. The more you drive, the more proficient you become. The more proficient you are at driving, the better you will be on the road at registering signs, assessing situations, and getting a feel of driving. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t experienced in driving trucks (rarely anyone is when starting out). What matters is that you have the will to improve and keep going forward, so experience in regular cars will also prove to be invaluable. But there are some things that you simply won’t learn on your own and learning them will require driving lessons. So don’t stray away from that path just to save some money, as it can even be career-defining.
Be Up to Date With Driving Rules and Regulations
While not necessarily a skill, it pays off to be aware of any changes in regulations that might occur down the line. This shows that you are always thinking ahead and will undoubtedly avoid some nasty situations down the line (especially if you are crossing countries with different driving laws and regulations). Regulations are also prone to change, so it’s important for you to continually stay updated on them.