The heyday of truck driving in the United States was the 1970's, which saw a dramatic rise in the popularity of truck driving as a career. Truck drivers were romanticized as modern-day cowboys, partially due to their plaid shirts, trucker hats, CB radios, and the freedom that goes along with life on the open road. Though the trucking phenomenon waned by the 1980's, the demand for quality trucker drivers is today at an all-time high. The fundamental qualities of a great truck driver have remained consistent over time and history has shown that these 10 attributes make for a great trucker.
Great truck drivers do what they say and say what they do. They know that employers and customers have deadlines and schedules that depend on the trucker’s timely performance. Great trucker drivers always aim to be the solution to any transport challenges that may arise.
Truck drivers have to be able to handle having sole responsibility for the truck and its cargo and make the right decision in an emergency. Great truck drivers keep their knowledge and skills current so that they can solve problems when and where they occur, whether they are mechanical difficulties, traffic tie-ups or cargo issues.
While it’s true that truck drivers spend a lot of time alone, the great ones nevertheless have good “people skills.” They value showing courtesy and respect to all employers, drivers, dock workers, customers and service staff because they understand that every time they interact with someone, it is a reflection of not only themselves, but the company they work for.
4) MECHANICAL SKILLS
Great truck drivers have a strong knowledge of how a truck operates and also have an ability to perform basic repairs to ensure that their truck is continuously meeting compliance and safety standards. This skillset not only contributes to a safer working environment for the truckers themselves but for everyone else who is sharing the road along with them.
5) STRESS MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Great truckers are aware of how stressful their career can be and are self-disciplined enough to not only manage stress, but most importantly, make sure that it does not negatively impact their ability to perform or seep into their family life.
Great truck drivers don’t try to get away cheaply but rather give true value for the money that they earn. They don’t fudge on aspects of laws and regulations, either. Great drivers know that in taking shortcuts they are ultimately cheating themselves of the satisfaction of having done the job right, completely, legally and safely.
Great truckers must be aware of many factors including the condition of the vehicle, the road and traffic. Driving challenges nearly all the senses, not just sight. Alert drivers who are attuned to all the input that they’re receiving will realize that a strange sound, vibration or even an odor is an early warning signal of a developing issue. For example, they must be able to consistently assess their own condition while driving because their mental and physical state influences their focus on the road and the safety of others.
8) EXCELLENT DRIVING RECORD
Great truck drivers have an excellent driving record. Great drivers are also cheaper to insure and keep costs of vehicle operation down. An excellent driving record shows that the driver not only has respect for others sharing the road, but also self-respect and professionalism throughout their career.
Quality awareness is the byproduct of mental and physical fitness. A fit driver is often more capable of working longer hours and would have the physical strength requirements needed to load and unload freight.
10) COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE
It almost goes without saying that a great truck driver has a CDL. To earn a commercial driver’s license, drivers take tests to demonstrate that they have the minimum knowledge and skill that the licensing state has determined is necessary to do the job. However, great truck drivers go beyond the minimum. They stay current with developments in equipment, tools, business practices and regulations so their knowledge and skills are always sharp and up-to-date.