Feeling Like A Professional with a Truck Driving Job
You've passed your test, you've got your dream truck driving job and you're rolling in the cab – are you feeling like a king of the road yet?
The fact of the matter is, even for drivers who have their career seemingly set up before them, they may still feel somewhat like a rookie rather than a road master. With over 9.2 millions tons of freight to be moved, there's a need for professional truckers on our roads – but how exactly does one become an industry pro?
There's no magical, instantaneous route to feeling as though you're a veteran trucker without time and due diligence. However, there are some simple habits and tips from those who have been behind the wheel that have proven successful.
Keeping Up Appearances
Many truck driving jobs require that their drivers wear a uniform and maintain a professional appearance – an appearance vastly different than the look
promoted in many movies and television shows that featured truckers. For many truck drivers, this means keeping themselves clean-shaven and getting their hair trimmed frequently, along with some striking company colors on their shirts and a nice pair of dungarees.
To many this "judging people by their appearance" may seem oppressive in some regards. However, one has to take into consideration that trucking driving is a professional career and calls for a professional aesthetic. Would you consider a doctor who comes into the room wearing shorts and sporting a long, wispy beard? Chances are that you might leave the office then and there – and the same goes when building up the confidence of clients receiving deliveries. They will feel more confident with a clean-cut driver rather than one who looks as though they haven't hit a rest stop frequently. Keeping up with your own appearance can also help you feel as though you are a true professional and the right person for the job.
Sleep – And Lots of It!
Many drivers may be under the impression that a lack of sleep is the formula for completing a hard day's work and how one might become a blue blood trucker. While many positions do cause drivers to extend themselves into the evening hours, it's never a safe or smart idea to operate your vehicle without an adequate amount of sleep.
Sleep is such a large issue in the trucking industry that the Department of Transportation established standards to keep drivers in line with a healthy sleep schedule. Still, it's up to the driver to catch the appropriate number of z's for their body. There are multiple ways for a driver to configure their cab so that their sleeping situation isn't oppressive – and for that matter they begin to make their cabs become more a home than simply a vehicle in which to work. Nice mattresses, pads and other cushioning can create a better semblance of a bed and help a driver establish a healthy sleeping regimen.
Courtesy On the Road
One of the largest indicators of a "professional truck driver" versus one who is simply a "truck driver" is how one conducts themselves on the road. From ensuring that you do not cut off drivers to ensuring that other non-commercial motorists feel safe around your rig demonstrates professionalism more than anything else. In theory, the presence of professional drivers shouldn't be noticed at all – they should blend in to the traffic and flow of vehicles just as well as any other motorist.
It's when a trucker is acting without safety or driving erratically when others take notice. In an unfair and somewhat ironic turn of events, the driver who is doing a good job does not get recognized nearly as much as those who are doing poorly. Still, that fact shouldn't get a driver down – there will always be someone to congratulate a driver for their professionalism.
It's a similar concept to dressing for the job that one wants – acting like the type of professional that one wishes to be treated as will undoubtedly lead to feeling like an old pro. Of course, finding the right truck driving job certainly helps a driver's chances of feeling like a true trucker as well. Get some rest, clean up nice and treat other drivers with respect and you'll be feeling like a star in no time.