Being a long-haul trucker certainly has its advantages, but you also have to be able to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed in a life on the road. That starts with building and honing a diverse skill set that will serve you well for many thousands of miles to come.
Which skills will help ensure truckers can continually do their jobs to the fullest? Here are some of the most important ones:
1) Communication skills
When you're on the road, you still need to be able to stay in touch, and be clear about everything that's going on with your journey, according to Smith Transport. Being able to communicate clearly on the radio, phone or just over email will be vital to keeping all involved in the loop.
2) A sense of direction
Truckers today often rely on GPS to help them get where they need to go, but sometimes decisions have to be made on the fly and you need to be confident in your choices, Smith Transport noted. A strong sense of direction is a must when the need to detour arises.
When you're living your life on the road, there's no boss looming over your shoulder every day, which is great in a lot of ways, but it also means you have to be a self-starter, Smith Transport cautioned. Having that get-up-and-go attitude will be critical.
4) Safe driving
Safety is a trucker's first job, and you need plenty of defensive driving skills to avoid an accident, according to Schneider. Taking a more conservative approach behind the wheel is always a good idea.
5) A passion for driving
As a trucker, you may be behind the wheel for many hours per day, and while that's not always easy, you need to be able to take it in stride, Schneider advised. You'll cover hundreds of thousands of miles in your career — or more — and you have to love what you do.
Simply put, truckers can't let any details slip, as this could mean you don't log important paperwork or don't plan as accurately with fuel economy as you should, Schneider warned. Being able to mentally keep track of everything is something you must do every day.
7) Comfort with being alone for long stretches
One of the hardest part of being a trucker is spending days or even weeks at a time away from home, according to Valley Driving School. That takes some getting used to, but the ability to keep yourself occupied is vital.
8) Being handy
There are plenty of little mechanical issues that can crop up when you're on the road, and you should be confident in your ability to fix them, Valley Driving School said. Being handy with a toolbox will go a long way toward keeping you running smoothly.
9) Common sense
Finally, there will always be times when you are faced with a problem and need to make the right decision about how to proceed, Valley Driving School further added. Using your common sense in a way that keeps you moving and safe will be vital to your future success.
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