Top 6 Qualities of a Good Truck Driver
If you’re thinking about becoming a trucker, you’ve probably wondered, “What are the qualities of a good truck driver?” There are many excellent reasons to become a truck driver, among them job stability, great pay, and the freedom from a traditional 9 to 5. But that doesn’t mean that truck driving is an easy gig. Truck drivers have a lot of responsibilities, so it helps for truck drivers to have certain traits that help them get their jobs done effectively and safely.
Read on to discover our top 6 traits of a good truck driver. These are traits that you either should have already or work on developing to succeed as a trucker.
Truck Driver Institute’s Top 6 Qualities of a Good Truck Driver
When we think about the qualities of a good truck driver, one of the first things that comes to mind is that this truck driver is very responsible. Carriers and customers need to be able to count on you to get your shipments to the correct place by the deadline.
These people also need to trust you to not cut any corners. If you become a driver known for disregarding company regulations or violating traffic safety laws, your carriers and customers will not be able to trust you.
A good driver will consistently meet deadlines, follow rules and laws, and deliver goods in their promised condition. With responsible drivers, employers can relax when sending out deliveries, and customers can be at ease knowing their goods are in dependable hands.
Although the freedom from a 9 to 5 and the ability to work on the open road is exhilarating, it can also present new challenges that employees in an office environment don’t have to face.
With no on-site supervisor giving you directives, you have to be able to determine yourself what your next task is and how to approach it. With no human resources or mechanical support office next door to visit when you encounter a problem, you have to figure out how to solve those obstacles on your own.
That is why one of the crucial qualities of a good truck driver is self-discipline. When you’re on the road by yourself, you need to be able to independently break large responsibilities into smaller tasks, solve logistical problems, and fix mechanical issues that might arise with your truck.
Sometimes it can be challenging to be attentive while working long hours, but it is of the utmost importance that a truck driver is alert at all times. Truck drivers need to focus on a multitude of things at once, such as their own truck, drivers and pedestrians sharing the road, dangerous weather, and road conditions.
Dangerous situations are not always visible car wrecks or swerving vehicles. Sometimes there might be a peculiar smell indicating your truck needs maintenance, a wail of a distant alarm indicating the approach of emergency vehicles, or vibrations beneath your wheels indicating you need to slow down over a bad road.
If a truck driver fails to be focused, it could lead to lasting damage to both them and to their fellow drivers. Make sure to take a break when you feel tired rather than trying to push yourself beyond your limits, and to comply with the federal regulations specifying how many hours you can drive.
4. Communication Skills
Some people might consider truck driving to be a job done entirely in solitude, but this is actually not true. While you will certainly spend large stretches of time by yourself, you will also need to interact on a regular basis with customers, dispatch, your boss, dock workers, and fellow truck drivers. This means that having a set of solid communication skills will come in handy.
Customers appreciate not just when you deliver their shipment on time and in good condition, but when you communicate politely and effectively with them, too. Truck drivers are in this sense customer service representations, as you are a person that your client will interact with on a regular basis. Your clients will see you as a face of the company, so treating them with respect will go a long way.
5. Good Driving Record
Since truck driving requires truckers to spend long hours on the road, it makes sense that one of the qualities of a good truck driver is having a great driving record. A good driving record shows your clients and employers that you are trustworthy and capable of delivering shipments in excellent condition, keeping yourself and your fellow drivers safe on the road, and avoiding reckless driving behavior.
It’s also worth knowing that employers are more likely to hire drivers with good driving records because it is cheaper. This is because great drivers lower operation costs and are cheaper to insure.
6. Stress Management
Driving trucks can be stressful. Between the long hours and the constant focus, there’s a lot to keep track of, and a lot of unexpected challenges that can arise along the way. If you are an intrastate driver, it can also be stressful to be away from your loved ones for long stretches of time.
There are a variety of ways to manage stress, and it’s important to find the ways that work for you. Whether it’s a soothing playlist, a quick check in call to your family, or a virtual therapist, make sure to carve out time in the midst of your long work day to decompress.
Honing the Qualities of a Good Truck Driver at Truck Driver Institute
One quality of many good drivers is that they were trained by TDI. Don’t just take our word for it: let our graduates tell you.
You might already possess some of the qualities of a good truck driver on this list, and that’s great! You’re off to a good start with your trucking career.
If you don’t already possess all of the qualities listed above, don’t sweat it. Many of these traits, such as self-dependence and focus, can be learned. Here at TDI, we train our drivers to be focused and reliable drivers that future customers and employees can count on.
Ready to embody all the qualities of a great truck driver? Start working towards your CDL today with our help.