Truck drivers who enjoy long, successful careers have three traits in common: They pay attention, they adhere to the rules of the road, and above all else, they never stop learning. Over the past 50 years, trucking hasn’t changed much in terms of driving, but technology has changed and so have safety measures.
When you’re excited about professional growth, it helps you stand out from your fellow drivers. If your employer knows that you’re committed to honing your skills and constant improvement, they’re more likely to rely on you for last-minute trips and special assignments. They might even trust you to handle high-dollar accounts or to transport oversize loads.
This is undoubtedly exciting and something to work toward, but where do you begin? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
1.) Take a truck driver simulation course. One of the easiest ways to hone your trucking skills is to enroll in a truck driver simulation course. Modern virtual-reality technology makes it possible to simulate the in-cab experience. It can also expose you to dangerous situations without the risk of damaging your truck or cargo. By participating in a trucker simulation, you can better prepare for breakdowns, dangerous drivers, mountain descents and more. It’s an eye-opening experience that can provide a new perspective.
2.) Find a mentor. Do you have colleagues who have 10 or 15 years more driving experience than you? If so, reach out to them for advice or support. Older truckers love sharing their expertise and knowledge with others. They’ve driven all over the country and manned various rigs. Their knowledge of proper maintenance, defensive driving and life on the road is invaluable. Likewise, you can digest the information they provide and pass it on to others in the future.
3.) Diversify your assignments. Transporting refrigerated goods isn’t the same as hauling construction equipment. Driving through Kansas is much different than trekking through the intermountain west’s high-altitude passes. If you work in an environment that serves a variety of industries, let your supervisor know you’re interested in expanding your skillset. Driving on different terrain and hauling different equipment makes you a more well-rounded driver.
A career in trucking is fun and rewarding. It’s even more so when you’re always striving to improve.