The life of a truck driver is often interesting and, at times, downright dangerous. Truck driving has its own culture, with its own language and customs. To be successful in the trucking industry, an individual must integrate into the lifestyle. One way to accomplish this is to get to know those who have been on the road long enough to earn a living. These people have seen and heard it all but know they have not yet experienced everything.
This wealth of knowledge can be crucial in becoming a road-savvy truck driver and becoming better prepared for trucking life on the road. The following questions cover a few general issues that a driver may face when first starting out. These questions provide answers that can help individuals prepare for trucking life.
How to be Prepared for Living on the Road
Being prepared for living on the road is being prepared to be alone a lot when you are a single driver. You are not always going to meet people you know while on the road, and when you do, it will only be in passing. The most conversation you will have will often be with waitresses and other truck drivers at stops along the way.
If you enjoy spending time alone, then this may be the perfect career path for you, and you may become very successful in the trucking business. However, it can be harder for those who have families back home and want to be home on the weekends or occasionally spend time with them.
What to do Before Hitting the Road
The first thing that an experienced driver will do is make a safety check of their entire rig. This includes the tractor, trailer, and load. A safety check should become a routine preparation every time a load is being hauled, regardless of the distance. The check includes the lights, tires, hoses, belts, and brakes.
The last thing a driver wants is something to go wrong on a traffic-filled highway traveling at a high speed. Check the lights to ensure they are operating properly, especially the trailer. Check all tires for correct pressure and bulges to avoid any blowouts. The most important check is the brakes because without them, traveling would be dangerous.
This procedure may vary depending on what is being hauled. However, safety is the main concern. Not just yours but for other motorists, you are sharing the road with.
Eliminate Boredom on Long Hauls
As mentioned above, the trucking industry is not for everyone; it must be in your heart and desire to become a truck driver. Therefore, overcoming the ‘boredom,’ so to speak, of the long haul from one destination to another will take some creativity from the driver. There is always a favorite radio station, CDs, and local news, or the countryside could be breathtakingly beautiful as well.
Truck drivers often get the opportunity to see sights others will never get to see sitting in an office. Occasionally, other motorists could be all the entertainment one needs; people are often humorous when they think no one is watching. However, do not turn to modern technology.
Even though technology has advanced to where almost anyone can watch a movie on their smartphone, obviously, this is not safe, and it is against the law. For truck drivers, the FMCSA has regulations prohibiting using any technology devices. This regulation applies to making phone calls, texting, watching movies, or just checking the time. Anything that can distract you from the road, even briefly, is dangerous, so pre-plan.
How to Spend Down Time
Long-haul drivers often spend nights in their sleeper. A truck stop is normally the best place for this as there is a normal traffic flow. Truck stops usually have nice restaurants and keep their showers clean for truckers. If a driver gets the chance to eat a hot meal and get a shower, then that is even better. If an individual has a family, this can be the best time to call home. This can also be a good time to check e-mails, social media, or just browse the internet.
There are a few truck stops that offer free Wi-Fi, and this could be a good opportunity to socialize with fellow drivers. Some really great stories can be heard, and tips shared this way; any little bit can help. It is also a great way to relax and get ready for some much-needed sleep.
A driver can never be too prepared or completely ready for the trucking life. The best way to learn is through experience and through the experience of successful drivers. It may take a strong desire to succeed and the humility to ask questions when they arise. Trucking life may not be for everyone, but if you have the desire and drive, then it can be exactly what you are looking for.