Truck driving is one of the fastest and most rewarding careers. As a new driver, you may have no idea what to expect – some days can feel like an endless cycle of ‘drive this way, back up, drive there. There are certain things that truck drivers need to learn and do overtime to keep their careers in good shape.
This list will guide you through 10 critical tips for a truck driver that will make your experience on the road more manageable and more enjoyable.
1. Get Ready for the Job
Like in any other profession, adequate preparation is needed for a truck driver. Knowing a truck’s basics is essential even before applying for truck driving jobs. You should know what it takes to get a truck license, the different inspection systems, and the primary tasks of driving a truck.
One of the most common mistakes made by drivers is rushing into the job without familiarizing themselves with the industry. There must be thorough preparation before you can start driving a commercial truck. An experienced truck driver should be able to guide you through your journey.
You won’t be able to avoid some of the pitfalls in this industry if you are unaware of the secrets of becoming a truck driver. You will be not only ready to start heavy trucking but also ready to face the challenges common to a truck driver. Remember that nobody wants to hire a driver that is not prepared for the job. As such, you must prepare yourself in every aspect before applying for the job.
2. Learn About Rentals
As a full-time truck driver, you always look for ways to improve your skills and expand your knowledge. It’s a vital part of your job that you should not ignore. It is crucial to equally spend some time learning about truck rental equipment service, meeting prospective tenants, and the rights and responsibilities that go along with signing a lease.
In most instances, you will find yourself having to deal with prospective tenants or even existing ones. Whenever you are in this position, you need to be well equipped with the appropriate knowledge that will enable you to make important decisions.
Not everyone in the truck transport job knows what renting equipment entails. No wonder it is common to come across truckers who complain about their experience with a prospective or existing tenant. Such cases should not arise if you are well informed about what goes on when you are in charge of renting equipment.
You should also know the regulations and laws for a truck driver. For instance, you should know whether you must get a business license before accepting a lease. To stay within the guidelines, you must understand this type of business’s various laws and regulations.
3. Be Prepared for an Accident
Truck drivers are advised to be aware of their surroundings and anticipate potential risks to drive safely and minimize the risk of injuries while on the job. Safety is your number one priority whether you are a long-haul truck driver or a local delivery driver.
Preparing for accidents will make it easier for you to react appropriately in the occurrence of any incident on the job. A truck driver must have a habit of paying close attention to what is happening around you.
As a truck driver, you should plan before you find yourself in dire need of a semi-truck accident law attorney. Any truck accident attorney will tell you a truck driver must learn different techniques, especially when driving on different terrains. Driving on the road is much safer than driving off, so specific procedures are required to follow when encountering rough roads.
4. Learn About Towing
Hundreds of people have the ambition to work in the trucking industry. You must know a lot about the industry if you are one of these people. Although not everyone understands the workings of a tow truck, it is vital to understand the basics of semi truck towing. It will help you in the long run. Could you imagine being stranded somewhere and not being able to get towed because you don’t know what to do? It would be frustrating, right?
For starters, you need to know what type of truck will tow your particular vehicle. You should know the size of the tow truck and the truck to be towed. If you don’t know about this, it may prove to be difficult for you to secure a tow truck for your vehicle when in need.
It is also essential that you have an idea about the rates charged by each company in your area. However, finding a tow truck for your vehicle shouldn’t take long. When searching for a truck designed for towing, make sure that you are looking at all kinds of trucks. For instance, some trucks offer free quotes so that you can get your vehicle towed without hassle.
5. Be Prepared with Your Equipment
To be a successful truck driver starts with being prepared. Having the right equipment, in good condition and readily accessible, is essential to work. It would help if you had many things on board before you finally go for a truck. You can never know what you may need or when, so it is always best to be prepared.
Some of the most common things truck drivers need include a tire gauge, hammer, screwdriver and screw, jumper cables, duct tape, chain saw, flashlights, and extra batteries. It is best to have these things in the cab of your truck where you can quickly get to them.
If you need to use the tools in your toolbox, put them in a spot where you can quickly and easily access them. The first time you have to use some of these items will not be easy or comfortable. It is better to find out what the truck equipment looks like, how they work, and how they work together when you are at home and relaxed instead of out on the road when things are stressful. Time is money, so being able to stop for a moment and quickly make some adjustments could mean saving time and fuel.
6. Ask About the Jobs You’ll Work
Did you know that one of the critical tips for a truck driver is to ask about the jobs they’ll work? It may seem odd initially, but many drivers have said that knowing what job they’ll be doing will help them prepare and ensure they arrive at the correct location. This can be especially important if the driver has never worked with movers or been to the location they’ll be driving to.
With this in mind, ask your potential employer about the jobs you’ll be doing. Doing this will let them know that you’re willing to work and will be a good starting point for the hiring process. You can also take this opportunity to mention your skills in garage door installation and other relevant areas.
Be sure to see if they have a driver history form you can fill out before you make the trip since this will help them understand how safe and reliable you are. If you don’t have a copy, ask for one. You can fill it out before your trip, and then bring it with you to the interview. Even if you don’t have any experience with a truck, the right attitude and a willingness to learn will go a long way in the truck-driving world.
7. Know Your Load
Truck drivers are responsible for ensuring that their cargo meets all the requirements for safe transport. Not only are they responsible for loading and unloading freight, but also they are tasked with understanding how much weight is being placed on any given vehicle to avoid overloading a rig.
Current weight regulations for a truck include tare and gross weights. The tare weight is the truck’s empty running weight with all drivers and cargo unloaded, while the gross weight is the total weight of everything being transported in the vehicle.
Additionally, drivers must be aware of axle weight capacity, determined by adding up the tare (empty running) weights of all axles and dividing that number by eight. This addition leads to a figure referred to as ‘legal axle load. This load is the maximum load that can be carried by a set of axles while still within the limits of the truck’s overall gross weight.
A common mistake truck drivers make is adding up all legal axle weights. By doing so, some drivers may exceed the truck’s legal weight and face fines or other penalties for overloading. Calculate all tare weights for your rig to determine your driver’s load total.
8. Plan Your Trip
While truck drivers have different schedules and timetables, it still pays for them to plan their trip carefully before they start their journey. When you’re driving hundreds of miles at a time and spend hours without stopping, it’s essential to ensure your trip will be as smooth as possible. That’s where planning for a truck driver comes in.
Knowing what to expect before you head out can help shave off some precious minutes on the road and ensure everyone stays safe along the way. While you’d think that planning a trip takes a lot of time, the good news is that there are plenty of resources on the internet to help you with your plans if you’re strapped for time.
Planning a route is a great way to help you adhere to state laws and don’t get into an accident along the way. There have been far too many instances where truckers have been in accidents along highways because they weren’t familiar with certain roads and made poor driving choices. That’s why it’s best to plan, take time with your journey, and research the best route to take, which will keep everyone safe.
9. Learn About Traffic Laws
Nothing matters most in the truck driving industry than complying with the law. It could be a driving hazard if you don’t know all that’s expected of you. So with that in mind, it’s essential to learn the rules before you hit the road. Luckily, there are a lot of resources for you. It could be through driving schools, websites, and books. But the best way to learn is through practice, which could be on your own time.
To begin with, you should check if you know the basic traffic rules for a truck driver. Aside from stopping at red lights, there are other rules to consider. For example, how do you know if you’re allowed to use a cell phone while driving? You can find out by reading the law or doing some research online.
The weather and road conditions are also essential to consider. If you are stuck in bad weather or traffic, it can be difficult (to comply with the law). So, it’s best to learn about the weather and road conditions, so you don’t have to worry about them. Another way to practice is through your own experience. You could take a driving test and see what you learn. You could also go through your driver’s manual to help you practice.
10. Get a Trucking Buddy
If you are a truck driver, you know the best way to make your job easier is to have a good trucking buddy. They can help you when you’re in need and keep your spirits high. It’s the reason why so many truck drivers have trucking buddies. You all work together and share the same goal of making your life easier.
You have been on the road for a long time and need someone knowledgeable about driving. A trucking buddy is not a good idea if the other person doesn’t have driving experience for a truck. By working with someone with years of truck driving experience, you will have an easier time when it comes to driving. There are a few things, though, you should know before you get a trucking buddy.
Technology has also made it easier for truck drivers to have a truck driving buddy. If you haven’t worked with them before, it is best to test their skills first.
The truck driving industry is a growing field that offers plenty of resources for those willing to learn. By learning the basics, you’ll be able to get a job in this field with ease and advance your career quickly. You will also be able to help people along the way and make money doing it. You’ll be a happy trucker who is passionate about your work.