With a little training and practice, probably most people can manage to drive a tractor-trailer. However professional truck driving is more than just getting a vehicle from Point A to Point B. Great truck drivers are much more than mere steering-wheel holders. In the Eagle Ford Shale play, driving a heavy vehicle with its cargo of costly supplies and equipment and keeping to a demanding schedule isn’t a job for an ordinary driver. Do you aspire to have not just a job, but a career, and a great one at that? Check out these characteristics of a great truck driver.
- RELIABLE. Great truckers do what they say they’re going to do, how and when they promise to do it. They know that employers and customers have deadlines and schedules that depend on the trucker’s timely performance. Great truckers aim to be not the problem, but the solution to shipping and cargo transport challenges.
- SELF-DEPENDENT. Office workers are just a door or floor away from a department of support personnel who can provide help or advice. However even team drivers are essentially working alone in that they are out on the road, away from “technical support.” Truck drivers have to be able to handle having sole responsibility for the truck and its cargo and make the right decision in an emergency They also have to be able to cope with being alone most of the workday, or work-night as is often the case. Great truck drivers keep their knowledge and skill current so that they can solve problems when and where they occur, whether they are mechanical difficulties, traffic tie-ups or cargo issues. They learn how to manage the personal aspects of their life so it goes smoothly whether they are home or on the road.
- COURTEOUS. While it’s true that truck drivers spend a lot of time alone, the great ones nevertheless have good “people skills.” They know how to interact with employers, other drivers, dock workers, customers and service staff such that everyone truckers come in contact with feel listened to and respected. Great truck drivers are courteous to clients, and treat the cargo with care.
- MECHANICAL SKILLS. Great truck drivers have basic knowledge of how a truck operates. They can perform repairs as necessary, such as changing a fuse or light bulb, and can do what’s needed to help ensure the truck meets compliance and other safety standards. This contributes to a safer working environment not only for the truckers themselves but for everyone else who is sharing the road along with them.
- STRESS MANAGEMENT SKILLS. Great truckers know how to manage stress. They take setbacks in stride and don’t let them ruin their day or their life. They’re sensitive to how a truck driving career can put pressure on their families as well as themselves.
- HONESTY. Great truck drivers don’t try to get away cheaply but rather give true value for the money that employers and customers spend with them. They don’t fudge on aspects of laws and regulations, either. Great drivers know that in taking shortcuts they are ultimately cheating themselves of the satisfaction of having done the job right, completely, legally and safely.
- ALERTNESS. Great truckers must be aware of many factors including the condition of the vehicle, the road and traffic. Driving challenges nearly all the senses, not just sight. Alert drivers who are attuned to all the input that they’re receiving will realize that a strange sound, vibration or even an odor is an early warning signal of developing trouble. They must be able to evaluate and assess their own condition and take a break when tiredness dictates that it would be more efficient, not to mention safer, to rest.
- FITNESS. That quality of awareness comes as part of an overall level of physical fitness. A fit driver is more able to work long hours and remain sharp. Truck drivers also simply need a certain level of physical strength in order to load and unload freight.
- EXCELLENT DRIVING RECORD. Great truck drivers have an excellent driving record. This gives the employer and customers confidence that the equipment and cargo is in good hands. Great drivers are also cheaper to insure and keep costs of vehicle operation down. An excellent driving record shows that the driver not only has respect for others sharing the road, but also self-respect and professionalism.
- COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE. It almost goes without saying that a great truck driver has a CDL. To earn a commercial driver’s license, drivers take tests to demonstrate that they have the minimum knowledge and skill that the licensing state has determined is necessary to do the job. However great truck drivers go beyond the minimum. They stay current with developments in equipment, tools, business practices and regulations so their knowledge and skills are always sharp and up-to-date. This enables them to work with less stress and more satisfaction.
With a little effort and dedication, good truck drivers can become great truck drivers, and great drivers are what's needed in today's cargo transport industry.
Visit the Eagle Ford Jobs page to apply for open driving positions.