Truck Driving Basic Skills: What Every Driver Should Know
Real-life truck driving experience supersedes the value of sitting behind a desk during truck driving classes. It is because certain truck driving basic skills can only be learned through firsthand interaction. Driving skills are learned while on the road itself – not simply by reading a trucking tutorial. That’s because some lessons cannot be taught, they must be experienced.
We offer a few trucking tips below that will break open the divide between truck driving desk education and the realistic nature of the skills required for a truck driver.
Truck Driving Basic Skills Needed On Road
1. Know Your Load
The first critical step to becoming a more skilled truck driver in today’s industry is to know your vehicle – and your terrain.
Before venturing into any unfamiliar weather, take precautions and educate yourself on the nature of your assignment and the truck you are driving. It’s important to understand your limitations as a truck driver and make any adjustments as needed.
For instance, if you’re originally from California, ask yourself:
- Do I understand the intricacies of driving in Boston’s snowy hillside?
- Do I have familiarity with how to shift an 18-speed transmission?
- Do I understand how to use the Jake Brake or move the Fifth Wheel when necessary?
Brushing up on these trucking skills by reviewing online tutorials and manuals will help you get to your destination safely and securely.
2. Career Trucking
Skilled truck drivers understand that professional driving is not about moving the vehicle from here to there – it is also an opportunity to prosper in their driving career in the future.
Are you reliable, self-dependent and work well under stress?
A standard driver might take the position of truck driving and quickly walk away when times get rough – or, well, drive away as it stands.
The difference between an everyday truck driver and a professional truck driver is understanding the nuances latent in the trucking industry.
Truck driver skills cannot be acquired by everyone – there are longer hours spent on the road, safety concerns, and other hindrances. But career truck drivers are able to understand quickly what must be done for the betterment of the load.
3. Get the License, Get the Street Cred
If truck driving is in the cards for you, get the street cred.
We’re talking about the Commercial Driver’s License.
Every strong truck driver has a CDL, as it’s commonly referred. To earn a CDL, drivers take tests to demonstrate that they have the minimum knowledge and skill that the licensing state has determined as necessary to do the job.
But it you’re an efficient truck driver, you’ll go beyond the minimum requirements to stay current with new developments in tools and equipment, laws, and rules of the road.
Brushing up on business practices and current regulations keeps strong truck drivers on top of the game.
4. Always Be On Time
This should go without saying. Timeliness is a worthwhile skill for truck drivers.
There is no excuse for arriving late to a drop-off or pick-up point.
Worried about traffic?
Strong truck drivers allot extra time for traffic so that their potential tardiness doesn’t inconvenience the customer.
There is no reason for being late to an assignment – and strong truck drivers know this fact well.
5. Keeping Everyone Safe
Safety is perhaps the most critical transaction in the trucking trade. Always keep yourself – and others – safe, no matter what happens.
Don’t take the risk of putting your life or others’ lives in danger by rushing through a job.
There’s a safety driving record service available for a reason – skilled drivers know that they should invest in safety first, or there will be trouble later.
Regardless of whether you decide to work for yourself or for a larger company, all skilled truck drivers have one thing in common:
The desire to overcome any obstacle to get the job delivered on time and safely!
Skilled truck drivers put the needs of the customer first and ensure their vehicles are prepared for whatever lies on the road ahead.