Characteristics of Professional Drivers: Do You Have What It Takes to Be a TruckerDo you enjoy the fulfillment of completing an epic journey? Do you long for the freedom of the open road? Are you an amateur or professional photographer looking for more scenes to capture? Or would you enjoy being paid to travel the country? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may want to consider a job in the trucking industry.

Unlike some sectors of the economy which are currently downsizing, the trucking industry is currently in need of thousands of qualified workers, ready for the task at hand. The question is: what type of person makes a good truck driver? While the answer may be more complex than it seems, in this article we will analyze some of the characteristics of professional drivers nationwide.

Mental Endurance

Because the majority of any truck driving job is composed of driving itself, endurance is a necessity for any prospective truck driver. Truck driving jobs vary from state to state and from carrier to carrier, but legally drivers are allowed up to 11 hours of driving time and 14 hours of work time per day, amounting to 70 working hours per week. Operating a vehicle for such long durations of time requires focus and an understanding of one’s limits. While some drivers may easily complete an 11 hour driving shift, other may struggle to get to 500 miles per day. But regardless of ability, every professional driver must be able to maintain focus on the road for as long as he or she must drive each day.

Physical Strength

Trucks today are designed with driver comfort in mind. Such concern for comfort has led to the development of a wide range of technologies ranging from air ride cabs and suspension systems to power steering and improved manual transmissions. Some of the most technologically advanced trucks even have automatic gearboxes. However, although operating the vehicle may no longer require large amounts of physical exertion, many parts of the job still do including loading and unloading, chaining up in winter driving conditions, and securing one’s load. To complete these tasks safely and efficiently, every prospective truck driver should be able to lift approximately 75 pounds or more.

Attention to Detail

Truck driving is not a fine art, but it does require an attention to detail not found in many jobs. Because truckers can cause great devastation on the roads if they are not focused while driving or suffer a crippling vehicle breakdown, they must pay special attention to the condition of their vehicles during pre-trip inspections and at other times during the day. Truckers must also complete their log books accurately to avoid problems with the DOT. Lastly, truck drivers must focus on safety as they secure heavy, bulky, or awkward objects that could shift and tip the truck over or fall off the vehicle and injure passing motorists.

Self-Confidence

To be a successful truck driver, one must be confident in his abilities as a driver. Often, truckers are called upon to deliver goods on dark, narrow, or congested roads, press on through fierce storms, and maneuver large trailers in confined spaces. Accomplishing these tasks requires confidence, but not cockiness, coolness, but not complacency. If a trucker does not have self-confidence, he will be a danger to himself and others on the road.

People Skills

The life of a truck driver includes interactions with a variety of people including law enforcement and DOT officers, freight brokers, dispatchers, customers, repair technicians, and vehicle dealers. To work with such a diverse assortment of individuals, truckers must have good people skills. Otherwise, they will find themselves in a host of disagreements and fail to complete the task at hand. Good truck drivers do not have to be social butterflies or comedians, but they do have to possess the wherewithal to interact with people in a positive and cordial manner.

Conclusion

With the necessary training to become a truck driver, one can find a job on every continent. In reality, truckers from Europe, Australia, and other places come to the states and quickly find work. Similarly, truckers from America migrate to other parts of the world and pursue careers in those nations as well. So whether you are looking to change career paths or start with your first job, truck driving is an honest, decent profession that has suited many people well. If you have the skills, find a job, and hit the highway. The opportunities are endless.

This piece was composed by Terrence Wadsworth, a frequent writer on automobiles, the auto industry and the truck driving business; to learn more about four-wheeled vehicles of all kinds visit ATV.