Truck driving tips! – It’s just never enough of those! Being in the trucking industry and driving on the open roads can make you learn something different every day.
Now, we are all different and not everything that meant trouble for me will be presenting a issue for you. We have different experiences from truck drivers from all over the globe, but I am sure if you ask, most of the drivers will agree with my list below with 30+useful tips and tidbits on things that can make your life easier while on the road.
Either there is going something so profound written on the following pages that will change your life forever, or here is yet another list of silly nonsense written to get your attention.
Well anyway, I hope you will find it interesting and perhaps of value; after all there are tons and tons of things that could be written regarding truck driving tips.
However, I know many readers will say, „Well Duh“, as some of these are rather obvious, if not falling into the common sense category. At the same time, I think that there is also enough good information that someone will find of use.
Of course we were not all born with a steering wheel in our hands. Though I am sure many mothers weren’t surprised when they saw you driving truck do! After all, she watched you from the nine months of shifting gears in the womb to hauling the dog in your wagon behind your bike. She knew, mothers always know, what we’ll eventually grow up to be.
If life was only as simple as that it would be great. But there is more to it than the desire to see the open road and run freight from town to town. It can even seem a bit overwhelming for some drivers, because you have so much to consider, such as:
Those are only a few of the issues that truckers must deal with. Fortunately there are ways to make the best out of any situation, such as reading articles related to the industry and reading on all those useful truck driving tips that people share. With other words-“Learning from the best”.
This is an ever-changing environment. Rules and regulations can change quicker than getting a Jimmy John’s sub delivered!
Another issue with truck driving that can have an adverse effect is complacency. They say it is when you get too comfortable and become unaware or unconcerned with potential hazards. But do you know what it really is? It is dangerous, not just to you but to every other driver on the road.
So perhaps my first tip should be ‚don’t become complacent‘! But if I did that I would still need to think up 29 other things, which does bring up another point. Where did these ideas come from? Did I just sit at the computer and jot down random stuff?
Though it might seem that way, actually the answer is no. I have read comments from truckers, I have spoken to many drivers, I have even put a few miles of mine own. I am not trying to say I have been everywhere done everything but, I have done enough to know truck-driving tips are just as important for a novice as they are for an expert.
They say the day you stop looking in the sky on Christmas Eve is the day you stop dreaming. Well the day you stop reading tips and learning trucking is the day you stop driving. The trucking industry is too important to the economy and the class 8 vehicles are too big to not take it serious.
As usual I could drone on and on about this or that. However, I should get to the article. Now I listed these in random order, and a little mixed and matched. I did this in hopes that you’ll read the entire list, and perhaps offer other tips in the comments.
Keep in mind there is no way I can list every good tip. That would take an entire library. But, I did try to cover enough industry related areas to get the point.
So without further delay (because you’re waiting to learn something profound) here is some of the top 30 truck driving tips from experienced truck drivers. Or at least tips that will help you stay around long enough to become experienced (if you’re not already).
Safety is key to everything you do as a driver. I know people get tired of hearing that but it is so true for many reasons. The most important is that at the end of the trip you want to be home with your family not laid up in some hospital.
But you must also maintain a good safety rating as a driver. Your company must maintain a good safety rating as well. This helps with insurance premiums, getting contracts/loads, and when dealing with enforcement agencies. Safety first!
It doesn’t matter how good of a driver you are, if you don’t respect the road conditions you won’t make it to your destination. Rain, wind, and snow all make driving difficult. But ice is the worst! Though some might say other drivers are even worse.
Ice is the one thing old man winter loves to share on the road. Be especially cautious of black ice or sudden drops in temperature during/after a rain shower. Once the roads get slick stopping can be a real nightmare.
This tip is one of the very obvious one and you are probably wondering why I am even mentioning this. But, I just simply can’t stress enough how important of a rule this is.
Never, ever, even in your worst nightmare don’t even think of drinking and then driving. If you do not appreciate your life then at list don’t ruin (or worst case scenario don’t end) someone else’s life.
Source: : youtube
Truck drivers spend more than 57 % of the time on the roads. Being on the road for a long time can mean all kinds of unpredictable situations so you should always be prepared with survival tools.
Here are some of the essential tools that each truck driver should have:
The weather on the mountains is unpredictable, especially in wintertime. Always be ready for wind gusts and listen or watch the forecast for the zone you are traveling through.
Don’t stop in avalanche zones and obey posted rules. When traveling through mountains always have with you tire chains. They may be required for some of the dangerous routes in the mountains.
Donner Pass is known to be one of the deadliest stretches of roadway in the United States. Interstate 81 along the eastern Untied States can get dangerous through the mountainous areas too. So, be well prepared and alert when traveling through mountains! They can turn from real beauty into dead alley in just a minute!
Source: : www.69.is-leet.com
Anyone who has ever pulled a trailer knows there are issues and concerns that might arise during the trip. But when a commercial truck drags the large trailers, it can be even worse! Each trailer type has its own concerns.
But a box trailer has the added issue of wind. A strong gust of wind can really wreak havoc on the road. Of course the load, the weight distribution, and even your tires can all add to the hazard. Drive not only for the road/weather conditions but also be mindful of your load.
Source: : www.69.is-leet.com
Sitting behind the steering wheel for long hours unfortunately means sore back and having a constant back pain. It’s proven that this is likely to happen to truck drivers four times more then to the average person.
Although it might not be hundred percent avoidable, there are a couple of things you can do to at least easy the back pain:
When you are driver for a living you have to take care of your well being on the road. Therefore getting good rest and sleeping good is one of the best things you can do to yourself and it’s one of the most important things as well!
Now, I know that this is easier said then done, but you should consider this tip as one of the essentials that can save your life!
Here are some strategies for staying awake on the road:
We are with the believe that over-the-road truck drivers cannot really have balanced diet. But, in meter of fact they sure can and we are by far wrong!
Truck drivers have the ability to choose and prepare their meals, which is not the case with the office worker, or the people that work in one spot all day. They have access to different restaurants every day, they also have the ability to cook while at work!
These new days with all those portable cooking appliances and shopping places on every curve, its no longer issue if one would like to eat healthy.
So if a driver wants to have a healthy eating habits here are some thinks she/ he can do:
Human body depends on water, but when you are seating straight for half the day, your body need for sure some extra fluids. Be aware that a sedentary lifestyle and not consuming enough water are two of the main reasons for kidney stones.
By drinking water you ensure that your organism is well hydrated. Water delivers useful products in your body and clears away the waste products.
Some health benefits of drinking water are: helping proper body function, maintaining pH balance, improving mental clarity, aiding in digestion and metabolism, regulating body temperature, flushing out toxins and many more.
No article would be complete without me mentioning maintenance and the importance of it. Because, if your truck were to break down during a delivery that would be extremely bad. Not only would the shipment be late, but also another driver might even need to be dispatched to complete the assignment.
Keeping your truck (and trailer) properly maintained isn’t really all that hard. Besides if you have a regular schedule you should be able to illuminate most serious issues before they become a real concern.
Source: : www.middletonmeads.com
This is actually a bit harder than it sounds. Though in reality it shouldn’t be, after all, these nova days there are numerous ways to keep proper track of things. This can be with a notebook and file system or with an electronic record tracking system.
There are numerous things you might need to track. Some are: all your expenses, work related correspondence, DOT documents, tax records, fuel and maintenance slips, and really anything else that pertains to driving your commercial truck.
Everyone wants to save money; it is just how we are. But it isn’t always easy to do it up front. However many things are either tax write-offs or reimbursable from the company. Of course you need to speak with your trucking company first.
So what you need actually, is a good way to save the paper and/or emailed receipts. This of course refers to legitimate business expenses. These can then be turned in to your CPA and they can see to it, and you can get the credit you deserve.
Source: : www.policygenius.com
You need to be very careful with your tires because this is literally where the rubber hits the road, pardon the expression. Make sure the air pressure is correct. You’ll want to check to see if the threads wear is even. Look for signs of bad bearings, brakes or other issues that could affect your tires and your overall safety.
Also, when it comes to checking the air pressure, than do it correctly! The thumper may look cool and been the way your daddy did it, but it isn’t accurate. So if you’re in a bad location keep the thumper to chase off stray dogs or rats but not for measuring how much air is in your tires.
Professional drivers are required to inspect their vehicles before every trip. We do a visual, hands-on inspection and check all-important items, including tires, wiper blades, fluids, and truck and trailer lights. Check your vehicle more often due to temperatures.
We all have been there, it is time consuming to do it the way both your company and the Department of Transportation (DOT) want it done. But you must do it. Get into a routine and stick with it. Never get complacent, because the fines and tickets can be more costly than the time lost conducting the inspection.
Fuel, it’s a double edge sword. It is the lifeblood that keeps the trucks moving on the open roads, as it gets pumped through the engine. It is also a huge inconvenient time consuming expense. Drivers lose time and money at the pump.
Unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot we can do about the time, at list not until they invest solar powered trucks. But, you can control the price you pay per gallon. If you have Internet or a phone with the proper apps you can check ahead to see who offers the best fuel prices. Here is one Fuel purchase optimization tool that is easy for use, with which you can check in no time your nearest and cheapest gas station.
I am sure this goes without saying, but I already did. As the rule and guidelines change you need to be on track and keep things up to date. Not just your company logs, or your DOT physical, but all your driving log books.
It doesn’t matter is you still use the paper format or you have the latest app downloaded on your smartphone or one of your electronic gadgets. You must make sure you keep everything filled out properly and up to date. It is recommended to keep correct back-ups of everything.
I know many will argue at what is the biggest concern on the road today. Is it all the crazy ever changing regulations? What about the revenue hungry enforcement agencies? Is it the weather or wild animals?
No. Though some of those can be stressful and you should be well aware of. The biggest threat is the other drivers ‘sharing’ the road. Driving too slow can be more dangerous than going to fast sometimes. Then you have holiday traffic, rush hour, the party crowd, inexperienced drivers, or even worse: the overly confident drivers.
Get yourself a good trucker’s GPS. There are numerous GPS’s designed especially for truck drivers. With some of the latest devices on the market you can have a very useful and vital information’s such as which exit to take, the distance before exit, when to change lanes, traffic reports and many more.
These devices are a great help for the drivers on the road, and they are worth the cost; believe me when I am saying! They will reduce your stress and you will be glad you have them especially when you are in some not well-known area.
GPS is a great tool for truck drivers, but it is not something to be relied on. You should always compare results with an old fashion map.
Truck driving movies are truly a guilty pleasure. I could sit back and watch these over and over. If you are not sure of the best ones to watch here is a list with some of the best trucker movies to help get you started. Of course there are a ton of these and the plot may seem a little thin at times but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable.
Music is the key to the soul, or so they say. I don’t know about you, but I can only listen to talk radio so much and then my ears start to bleed! Oh don’t get me wrong there are talk shows I do enjoy, and listening to a ball game can be way more exciting that watching it on TV. However, there is something about good music that just really gets me.
I am sure there are those who have their own favorites, as you probably do. But perhaps you’ll enjoy some of the great songs about trucking. You can find these, like the movies just about anywhere. They are available for download from Amazon and ITunes, buy the CD, or try other ideas like Pandora. Whichever way you choose I am sure you’ll find some great truck driving songs.
As with everything it is easy to try and find the best deal. We all want to save a little money when we can but sometimes that can cost you more in the long run. Remember, cheaper is good but it also sometimes refers to the quality too.
So when you are shopping for tires, batteries, LED and Marker lights, exhausts or other items get the best deal, but from brand you trust. Of course look for the best sale and the lowest price but avoid off brands, especially if you know nothing about it.
There are numerous things to do when driving a truck and it is easy to overlook some. It can be even easier to miss things if you don’t have a good routine or you’re overly tired. But DOT won’t care why you failed to see that your lights are out.
Make sure all your lights; both on the truck and the trailer are working. I don’t mean just the headlights, turn signals, and backing lights. No, I mean all of them, all the running lights! For more information you can check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) link.
Make sure your cargo is secure and don’t allow your cargo to get lose. There are a few ways it can. The two most common ways of losing your cargo are either from theft or negligence. So what does this mean? If your cargo is not locked up properly, it can be stolen. This a common issue especially in poorly lit and unsafe areas.
As I said the other meaning to secure your cargo is to make sure the doors are closed, and latched properly. If you have a flatbed make sure the cargo straps are tight, lacked, and the slack is tucked away.
Times change and fashion changes but one thing never goes out of style, and that is the trucker clothing. Perhaps it isn’t PC to comment on trucker’s clothing, but I don’t see anything wrong with it. It is comfortable, classic, and practical. More people should think about this than trying to “fit in”.
So what does trucker’s clothing mean? You’ve seen it, comfortable jeans and cheap but practical trucking t-shirts. A good ball cap/ trucker hat, perhaps a good pair of good work boots, but we all know boots aren’t comfortable for long trips. You can get yourself a good driving shoes instead (the ever popular athletic shoes: running, tennis, call it what you like) the key is to be comfortable.
If we lived in a perfect world we could leave ours doors unlocked and our kids would still be able to play outside. But thanks to ‘stranger danger’ and other concerns of the world we live in this is not the case. So what is one to do?
Well first off the most obvious thing is to secure your stuff and lock your doors. If your truck has any exposed cargo hatches, lock them as well. Next, you need to look into good security system; there are several varieties to choose from.
These days you can find pretty much everything on the market; from the kind that makes a sound to those with engine cut-off and GPS trailer tracking. While you are at it secure your fuel tank with a good locking cap and an anti-siphoning device.
I have mentioned these in several other articles. There are a lot to choose from and people will have their own opinions as to which are the best ones to join and participate in. I guess it really depends on what you’re hoping to gain from them. Actually I hope people include some in the comments area, even I would like to see what else is out there.
The good thing about these, besides the social interaction and entertainment value they offer, is the educational benefit. You can learn so much about the industry and about all those things that matter to you and concern the truck driver. Some are private and some do require membership (yes that might means paying dues). So look for information about them in some of the truckers magazines and ask around, I am sure you’ll find a group that you’ll like.
Like a great example I will suggest to you the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). Being OOIDA member means you have someone who is watching your back and fighting for you when time comes.
You don’t know what to expect when you are out there on the middle of nowhere, so be well prepared for the ride. Always, and I mean always be well prepared for the unexpected.
Here are some tips on stuff you should pack for the road:
Don’t pack too much and keep it as light as you can! Don’t forget that this is just a small truck cabin and you don’t have much space to work with. Now if you have one of those extended cabins, then it’s a different story! Pack only the most important but essential stuff because, after all you will have time and opportunity to stop and shop for some more needed items.
Perhaps it was a poor choice of words, but you really do need to relax and enjoy the trip. Of course don’t relax so much that you fall asleep while driving, that isn’t what I mean! What I mean is soak up the scenery. You have a chance to truly see America. Instead of stressing because the weather on the slow car in front of you, think about how cool that classic car really is.
Life is truly too short to be wound up tight and trucking isn’t the right field to work in if you are tighter than a three dollar watch on a child’s wrist. Whenever possible eat at a local place or take a moment to see some of the tourist attractions in the place you are visiting. Perhaps you can go see a trucking industry event or a monster truck show nearby. I know it can be hard with a big truck and a trailer but sometimes you really do need to stop and take in the moment.
No one ever wants to be in an accident but if it were to happen you need to be prepared. The very first thing to do is to remain calm. I know it can be easier said than done. Call 911. Make sure you are ok, if you think your injured don’t move. But if you’re ok check to make sure all others are ok and render any assistance that you comfortably can until professional help arrives.
Make sure you get all the pertinent information, exchange truck insurance documentation, take pictures if you can. Contact your dispatcher and inform them about what happened. If the accident was minor you can move off to the side of the road, otherwise don’t move your vehicles.
As I said at the beginning of this article there are tons and tons things that could be written regarding truck driving tips. Many of these things might have been covered more deeply in past articles. I also admit that some of those might not have been a surprise. But, I do hope they are of interest and of value either to you or someone you know.
With that said, I would like you to think about just how often you’ve actually thought about these truck driving tips? Of course some are natural, muscle memory if you will. Others might only be observed when Jupiter aligns with Mars or the passing of Halley’s Comet .
How many of these do you practice? How many do you keep telling yourself you will, some day, perhaps tomorrow? Well remember what little orphan Annie said about tomorrow, “It’s always a day away”. So perhaps now is the right time to start making a few changes and getting things moving in a positive direction.
That isn’t to say you’re doing everything wrong. But if you are like me, there are things that could be changed. Has your wife/husband mentioned something to you? Have you ever felt a little guilty but didn’t know why? We’ve all had those moments, even when we don’t know why.
Well here we are to the end of yet another exciting article. As I have said many times I hope it was worth the read. If so share it with all your friends, post a link on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or even your favorite forum. After all there is a lot of knowledge out there. Perhaps I missed some valuable point and someone will add it to the comments. Then we all can learn something new as we look to the skies.
The thing to remember about these types of list is that they aren’t meant to insult your intelligence. Nor are they intended to be the final authority on the given topic, in this case truck driving tips. Oh, I know some writers do write as if they are the powerful OZ. But really these tidbits should make you think!
Not just think about this article but think about what you can do to improve yourself. Don’t get too comfortable and become complacent, as I mentioned earlier. Learn and pass that on to someone else, you never know they might be the next President or something.
So, as you laying down on your mattress and filling out your electronic log, while waiting for the movie to start, you can think about what can help you to be a better driver. Perhaps you need to brush up on some of the new rules and regulations. Perhaps you need to practice better vehicle maintenance. Maybe you just need to improve your time management skills. It doesn’t matter, what matters is that you get home safe and sound after every trip.
What truck driving tips do you have to offer? What are some you think I should have included? Perhaps I should have skipped a few, let me know. Share your tips, comments, and ideas.