The trucking industry plays a major part in the economy and the general livelihood of the United States, with truckers responsible for hauling huge amounts of freight back and forth along the nation’s highways every single day. Indeed, reports show that truckers directly support more than 80% of America’s communities, and without them, the world as we know it wouldn’t be the same.
At the same time, as any seasoned trucker knows, this line of work is not an easy one. It’s actually ranked as one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America, and it’s very challenging and tiring, involving long hours, hard work, and demanding conditions. In short, you need to be willing to put in a lot of effort to succeed in this business, so here are some tips to get you on the right track.
Always Look for Improvement
One of the keys to being good at any line of work is developing a growth mindset. In essence, what this means is that when something goes wrong, instead of simply feeling bad about it or thinking that you’ve ‘failed’, you should treat the experience as an opportunity to learn and improve your skills.
This is so important in trucking because it’s highly likely that bad things will happen. Many truckers have accidents in their first year of work, for example, but instead of focusing purely on the negatives, you should try to look at the incident in a positive light, learn from it, and always try to improve yourself.
Make the Most of Online Resources
Following on from the previous point, one of the best ways you can strive for improvement and try to get better at what you do is to study and research your line of work on a regular basis, keeping up with trends, checking out articles and guides, and looking for tips to help you improve.
The internet is a digital library of information, with countless sites like CDLJobs.com that are literally dedicated to providing trucking information and helping truckers with everything from finding out more about trucking companies in their state to finding new jobs in the trucking industry too.
Know the Importance of GOAL
GOAL is a term you might hear often in the trucking world, and when starting out, it might be a phrase you’re unfamiliar with. It stands for Get Out And Look, and it’s generally considered one of the ‘golden rules’ of being a safe and successful trucker.
Getting out and looking around your truck can help to prevent so many accidents, as trucks have such a lot of blind spots and you simply can’t see every angle from your driving position. So whenever you’re in doubt and need to back up or pull out of a spot, be sure to remember GOAL.
Work on Your Soft Skills
When it comes to any kind of job, there are hard skills and soft skills you need to know to do well and succeed. Hard skills are those that can be measured and taught, like your ability to drive the truck itself and carry out complicated maneuvers, but soft skills are more about your attitude and character.
No trucker should feel like soft skills aren’t important for this job. You have to be a good communicator, for example, to get on well with dispatchers and clients, and you need to be tidy and organized to keep your truck in top condition for inspections. Work on your soft skills to try and become a better-rounded worker.
Look After Yourself
As mentioned earlier, trucking is not a simple or comfortable line of work. It’s a job that can be very demanding and tiring, both physically and mentally, and many truckers push their brains and bodies to the limit when trying to hit their deadlines, minimize their out-of-route miles, and get jobs done as efficiently as possible.
During those long, hard drives, don’t forget to look after yourself and always prioritize your health and well-being over simply getting to the destination a few minutes earlier. If you feel tired, take a break, if you feel hungry or thirsty, make sure to stop and get something to eat, and if you’re feeling burned out, be sure to talk to someone about it.
Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
In addition to keeping yourself hydrated and energized while you work, it’s also important to try and lead a healthy lifestyle in general. This involves trying to minimize your consumption of alcohol, avoiding smoking, and trying to eat well and exercise often.
A problem with the trucking profession is that you will inevitably spend a lot of time sitting around, and those with sedentary jobs tend to have higher risks of major health issues like high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer, so it’s important to get some physical exercise in your days whenever you can.
Look for Ways to Make Drives More Enjoyable
One of the downsides of working as a trucker is that you will inevitably have to spend a lot of time sitting behind the wheel and staring out at very similar stretches of road for hours on end. This can be very boring for some people, and it might even lead to you becoming tired or distracted more easily, which could raise your risk of accidents.
Try to avoid these issues by making your drives more enjoyable. Many truckers have a favorite radio station, for example, that they’ll tune into while driving to entertain them along the way, while others may find podcasts or audiobooks that they can enjoy on those long drives.
Being a successful trucker isn’t easy. You’ll need to be willing to put in a lot of time and effort over the years, and you always need to be focused on your driving, doing all you need to do to stay safe, avoid accidents, and get jobs done. Keep these tips in mind for your future trucking journeys to help you become a better worker.