A driver’s success isn’t just measured by hauling freight from one place to another. Determining driver success can be complicated, as success can have a variety of meanings for different people.
Every driver is a little different and has their own unique set of goals. One driver might view success as being efficient and maximizing their earning potential, while another driver might just view success as being happy and healthy on the road.
At Schneider, we believe in helping drivers reach their goals, which is why we’ve decided to help you achieve success by providing our top 10 tips on how to become a successful truck driver.
Top tips for becoming a successful truck driver
1. Put safety first.
It cannot be stressed enough that safety is the most important thing both on and off the road. By practicing safe habits and following safety procedures, truck drivers not only keep themselves safe, but can also keep other motorists out of harm’s way. Plain and simple, always put safety first
2. Always do your pre-trip inspection.
Truck drivers should complete a pre-trip inspection before EVERY trip. This means that drivers should complete a pre-trip at the start of each day, any time they get in a new vehicle or pick up a new trailer, and after all 10-hour breaks.
Failure to complete your pre-trip inspection could result in dangerous consequences for both the truck driver and the general motoring public.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Regardless of how long you’ve been driving, you’re going to run into questions while you’re on the job. So, don’t struggle in silence. Simply ask for help.
Whether it’s your Team Leader, Training Engineer, Instructor or a fellow truck driver, there is always someone you can rely on to help you in your time of need. Help is only a phone call, text message or email away.
4. Be prepared for anything.
One of the unique parts about being a truck driver is that no two days of work will be exactly the same. That’s why it’s so important for drivers to be prepared.
You never know when a snow storm could hit or when something will break, so try your best to be as prepared as possible. Be sure to pack an emergency kit full of the food, supplies and tools you may need to overcome any challenges you may face on the road.
5. Stay open to feedback.
Throughout your career as a truck driver, you’ll receive feedback in a number of ways. You could receive feedback from your boss, Team Leader, customer or even another driver.
Feedback is a vital aspect of growth. It can give you an outside perspective of the work you are doing and can help you identify areas for improvement.
6. Take trip planning seriously.
Trip planning is a must for truck drivers. It helps drivers know where they’re headed, how and when they’ll get there and if they’ll run into any problems along the way.
When trip planning it’s important to check the weather and carefully study your route to know what cities you’ll be passing through, see what roadblocks you might run into and determine where you’ll take breaks.
7. Manage your time wisely.
We’ve all heard the saying “time is money,” but that phrase can be especially true for truck drivers. Taking frequent or unnecessary breaks can cause you to run late and impact your efficiency as a driver.
Be mindful of the length and frequency of your stops and try to plan ahead and anticipate needs to eliminate the need for unnecessary tops along the way.
For example, if you’re stopping for a restroom break and anticipate staying on the road for a few more hours, consider picking up a snack to avoid making an additional stop later.
8. Keep your cab clean and organized.
Your cab is your home and your office while you’re on the road. It’s important to keep your space clean in order to stay safe, healthy and focused.
Letting garbage pile up in your cab can be both unsanitary and distracting, so try your best to avoid having items roll around in your cab or letting things pile up on your dash.
9. Have a good work-life balance.
Just focusing on work day-in and day-out can cause stress, so try your best to find time to unwind and decompress at the end of every day. This could mean finding a hobby, reading a book, playing video games or watching a movie.
Another great way to maintain a health work-life balance is keeping in touch with family and friends while you’re on the road. Try to communicate with your loved ones regularly via video chat, text, email or whatever form of communication works best for you.
10. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
You may not realize it but practicing healthy habits can make a huge difference in your day-to-day life. Try your best to stay healthy on the road by eating right, exercising during your breaks and getting enough rest every night.
Not only can these habits make you feel healthier, but they can also help you become a safer and more alert driver.
Schneider’s legacy started in 1935 with one man, one truck and one dream. Since then, we’ve grown to become one of the largest carriers in the nation, offering a wide selection of driving jobs and home time configurations. Start your driving career off right by becoming a Schneider driver and taking advantage of our tuition reimbursement options.