As we travel along the highways and streets of our country, there is very rarely a time we do not see a professional driver moving a tractor-trailer to his or her destination. As we see them rolling through our city or state, it is easy to contemplate how stressful it must be to do what they do. They have to manage through the following and so much more:
- Be knowledgeable of all DOT regulations for compliance
- Balance between work and family
- Be patient with fellow motorists
- Have mechanical knowledge of their tractor and trailer
- Balance miles weekly for pay
- Find safe havens for their 10-hour breaks
- Maneuver through heavy traffic and weather conditions
As we review many challenges a professional driver has to go through on a daily basis, it seems necessary to discover what makes a successful driver. Below are some attributes successful drivers may possess:
Successful drivers have to show a great deal of patience behind the wheel. Whether it be the daily grind of getting to his or her destination on time or dealing with a motorist who only cares about his or herself, successful drivers overcome these challenges using patience. Patient drivers consider the safety of the motorist, cargo and themselves, while at the same time, proceeding down the road in a safe and courteous manner.
While truck drivers spend many hours behind the wheel, there is also a strong presence in how they are perceived as a part of the company they are driving for. For example, when a driver checks in for their load, the way in which they carry themselves, their manners, cleanliness and speech is how the customer perceives the driver’s company. Most customers do not know the face of the company’s president, director of operations, terminal manager or customer service representatives. Instead, they develop their opinion about the company based on their interaction with the driver. A driver displaying a professional demeanor will present a positive perception to not only their customer base, but also to the motorist on roadways.
Successful drivers have sole responsibility for both truck and cargo, along with making correct decisions in emergencies. They have to be able to work alone most of the day and night. Commercial truck drivers need to have the knowledge and skillset to handle problems when they occur, whether they are traffic jams, cargo or customer challenges or mechanical difficulties.
- Mental and Physical Fitness
Drivers whom are mentally and physically fit tend to be more successful than ones whom do not seek this as a goal. With the challenging rigors drivers must go through in a typical day, fit drivers are able to work longer hours and tend to be more cognizant of the areas around them.
- Stress Management Expertise
Successful truck drivers know how to manage stress; they take daily challenges in stride and do not let the daily grind get them unfocused from their mission. While all drivers are sensitive to everyday stress, stress specifically related to a truck driving career can be hard to manage. Drivers need to come up with coping mechanisms in order to deter unwanted stress and become a stress management expert.
While above is just a few attributes successful drivers possess, countless more could be added to the list. As a driver, how you cope with your daily stresses can be innovative in creating positive attributes that make you a successful, professional truck driver.