Truck Driving Skills: 11 Things You Should Know
If you want to be a professional truck driver, you’ll need to equip yourself with some skills that will allow you to get the job done right.
If you want to be a professional truck driver, you’ll need to equip yourself with some technical and interpersonal truck driving skills that will allow you to get the job done professionally and proficiently.
Keep reading to find out what skills you need to be a freight truck driver.
What Do You Need to Be a Freight Truck Driver?
The following skills will help you stay safe on the road and help you deliver your load in a timely and accurate manner.
1. Basic Safe Driving Knowledge
First, you need essential, safe driving knowledge. Since trucks are much larger than virtually any other vehicle on the road, truck drivers must understand how to work with smaller cars and motorcycles while on busy roads. You’ll need to understand that trucks have extensive blind spots that smaller vehicles might not always be aware of.
Trucks may also have more trouble stopping on icy inclines or turning during winter. Understanding what technical truck driving skills you need for your regions’ climate is one of the first steps you can take to becoming a more responsible truck driver.
2. Excellent Time Management
Truckers are often on very tight schedules. When balancing multiple deadlines and drop-offs, you need excellent time management skills to stay on top of everything. Make sure that you’re fully organized, with detailed logs and books for all of your appointments, expenses, and other pertinent information.
Excellent time management and organizational skills will make your job easier and help you account for your time and expenses without missing a beat.
3. Strong Stress Management Skills
Long-haul truck driving can definitely take a stressful toll on you. Having strong stress management skills is key to doing the job without burning out or missing deadlines.
Everyone is different, so it pays to understand what management skills work best for you. Adhering to a regular exercise regimen or practicing meditation can help you get through long stints on the road.
4. Motivation and Investment in Doing the Job
The number one desirable quality is motivation. Since truck driving is an exceptionally taxing job that can take you away from your family for long periods, you need to be totally invested and motivated to do your work.
Truck driving takes serious commitment and can even keep you away from the people you love during holidays, weekends, or special events. Understanding the reality of what it takes to be a driver and still be motivated to do it is an essential skill for the field.
5. Ability to Focus
Truck drivers can be behind the wheel for up to 14 hours a day. That’s a lot of time driving and having to focus on the road. When you factor in the reality of what driving a truck entails, the safety concerns, and any road conditions that might cause a problem, it’s easy to understand why the ability to focus is so vital.
You need to stay alert at all times. To do this, many great truck drivers adhere to a strict sleep schedule, eat well, and stay hydrated.
6. Patience Under Fire
When you’re a truck driver, you will experience plenty of things that you simply can’t control. Having patience under fire is an excellent skill that will enable you to keep your stress levels under control in trying situations.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong, from route detours to unsafe drivers. However, managing your stress and exercising patience will go a long way to ensuring that you get your load where it needs to go while preserving your sanity.
7. Some Mechanical Knowledge
Although you don’t need to be a full-on mechanic to be an excellent truck driver, you should have some mechanical knowledge in case something goes wrong. This skill is vital for truck drivers traversing isolated areas or driving a lot at night.
Mechanical knowledge can help you anticipate problems before they get too out of hand and save you time and headaches.
8. Good Navigational Skills
Even though we all have a map on our phones, it’s still a good idea to have excellent navigational skills. Simply knowing the primary points of the compass is a plus. There will be times when you will be out driving and unable to access your data or a phone signal. Make sure that you know where you’re going at all times.
Additionally, some phones and GPS devices don’t account for road closures or bands of lousy weather. Keeping a map on hand is one of the most crucial truck driving skills that you can have because it allows you to change course on the fly if you have to.
9. Willingness to Help and Collaborate
Although driving a truck is generally a one-person operation, you still need to communicate, collaborate, and work with a team. You need robust people skills and the ability to help others if you want to be a stand-out truck driver.
Aiding others on the road and communicating with fellow truck drivers will pay off handsomely. Not only do truckers look out for one another, but they can also help you in a pinch if you’re heading for bad weather or need emergency aid.
10. Self-Reliance and Problem Solving
All good truck drivers know that if something can go wrong on the road, it likely will. That’s why self-reliance and solid problem-solving skills are so critical. Great truckers are flexible and understand that they might have to adjust for road closures, weather, or other emergencies.
11. Good Communication
Communicating with your team is essential to getting the job done and one of the top truck driving skills that all good truckers need. Let your boss know the second that something isn’t looking good. That way, they can make adjustments from their end and manage expectations.
Truck Driving Is So Much More
Truck driving is so much more than simply transportation or sitting behind the wheel. You also need traits like reliability, trustworthiness, honesty, and patience.
If you need a freight shipper with skilled drivers you can trust, Coastal Cartage is the company to call. With friendly, reliable truckers, and special services like Hotshot Trucking and White Glove Service, Coastal Cartage has all your needs covered.