truck driving down road

The Truck Driver Skills That Separate the Pros From the Amateurs

If you’re looking for a lucrative career that will allow you to see parts of the country you might not see otherwise, consider becoming a truck driver. There is a huge need for truckers all across the U.S. with more than 50,000 trucking positions open at the moment.

Not everyone is cut out to be a trucker, though. You’ll need to take the proper training courses and obtain your CDL to work in the trucking industry. You’ll also need to have certain truck driver skills if you want to get high-paying jobs and be as successful as you can be.

Do you think you have what it takes to make it as a trucker over the long run? Check out 6 truck driver skills that you should have before you get behind the wheel of a big rig for the first time.

1. Responsible

First things first: If you’re going to drive a semi truck, you need to be responsible. In fact, you need to be responsible in a bunch of different areas of your life.

Truck drivers need to have clean driving records when they apply for truck driving jobs. Although a speeding ticket here and there isn’t the end of the world, those who apply for truck driving positions with DUIs or reckless driving charges on their records will have a hard time finding work.

Truck drivers also have to be responsible as far as managing their time and sticking to deadlines goes. They need to be able to pick up a load and get it to wherever it needs to be without a problem.

Truck drivers need to remember that they’re the face of the trucking company they work for, as well. When they’re out in the world, they have to do their best to represent the company in a positive light and leave the right impression on people.

2. Great With Directions

Technology has changed the trucking industry quite a bit over the course of the last 10 or 20 years. Most trucks are now outfitted with the latest GPS systems in them to keep trucks on course. They also have tracking devices in them that allow for trucking companies to keep tabs on their trucks when they’re out hauling loads.

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But even with all of that being said, truckers still need to have a good sense of direction, and they need to be able to plan their routes out to make shipments on time. If you’re the type of person who is always getting lost when you’re out on the road, you’re going to struggle to work as a trucker.

3. Self-Motivated

At a normal 9-to-5, there is someone in charge who is responsible for motivating all of the employees at a company. If someone is slacking, the boss can call them into their office and light a fire up under them. It’ll motivate them to do better.

This isn’t possible in the trucking industry. Truckers work independently and are often hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their bosses. As a result, they need to be able to motivate themselves to put their best foot forward each and every day.

You can read more here to see some of the ways in which truck drivers can motivate themselves to do their best work.

4. Organized

Outside of driving a truck and keeping everything inside of it safe, truckers are also required to keep detailed logs as they travel throughout the country. Whether they’re going across their state or across America, they have to update these logs early and often.

If truckers fail to keep the proper logs, they could be subjected to huge fines with some of the fines costing more than $10,000. Therefore, truck drivers need to be very organized and meticulous when it comes to keeping track of their logs.

Truckers also need to keep their driver’s license and other important documents organized when they’re on the road. This will prevent them from running into any problems if they’re ever stopped by police.

5. Calm

Road rage is a very big problem for a lot of people in the U.S. Studies have suggested that up to 80 percent of Americans exhibit signs of road rage at least once every year.

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When you spend hours and hours out on the road, you’re going to have issues with other drivers along the way. You’re going to get cut off by someone who isn’t paying attention. You’re also going to have maniacs flipping you the bird in some instances.

Truckers cannot, under any circumstances, stoop down to the same level as drivers who do these things. They need to stay even-keeled when they’re driving and keep themselves out of any situations that could get them into trouble.

6. Cool Under Pressure

Stress is something that just about everyone with a job experiences at one time or another. Surveys have shown that about 80 percent of people feel stressed out at work because of:

  • Workload
  • Issues with coworkers
  • Struggles with work-life balance
  • Lack of job security

Truck driving is no different! Even though you won’t have to worry about working with others, there will be plenty of demands placed on you. You’ll find yourself stressed out over everything from mechanical problems with your truck to late deliveries.

Truckers need to remain cool under pressure at all times and avoid allowing stress to take over their lives. If they’re too stressed out all the time, they won’t be able to stay focused on driving their trucks and sticking to their tight schedules.

These Truck Driver Skills Are Essential

As you can see, there are some heavy demands that are put on truck drivers. It’s a big part of the reason why there are so many trucking positions open right now.

But if you have the right truck driver skills, you can make a great living as a trucker. You can get paid to spend your life traveling around and enjoying all the sights and sounds that make America such a great country.

Read our blog to learn about some of the trucks you might be driving as a trucker.