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4 qualities of an invaluable truck driver

11/7/2022

Truckers who emanate positivity are often the ones you can't afford to lose.

The truck driver shortage has been analyzed, dissected and debated from every which way. Motor carriers, logistics entities and any other business that employ truckers are deploying all available resources to recruit more people who have their CDL or plan on getting one. Money has served as their primary recruitment tool, as the median truckload driver is earning 18% more now than they were a year ago, according to the American Trucking Associations. 

But every bit as important as recruitment is retention, at least for those drivers who do their jobs well. What makes a trucker exemplary at their trade? Here are a few behaviors, characteristics or qualities that are indicative of a driver you cannot afford to let go without a fight:

1. Superior driving record
Accidents on the roads are costly in a number of different ways beyond just their financial impact. They can adversely affect your company's reputation and may lead to legal action depending on the circumstances of the crash.

Truckers with clean driving records — meaning no speeding tickets or other types of violations — are particularly important to prioritize in your retention efforts because they're less likely to be involved in crashes. In fact, according to the American Transportation Research Institute, speeding violations increase the likelihood of accidents by 47% and right-of-way violations raise the risk by 141%.

The longer a trucker has gone without a warning or ticket, the more reliable they're likely to be safety-wise for the foreseeable future.

2. Generally positive attitude
Maintaining a good attitude is essential in all professions, but especially trucking. The hours can be very long and the work itself mind-numbing when it's spent hours at a time behind the wheel of a big rig.

But drivers who have an easy way about them make working conditions better and more enjoyable for everyone. Whether it's showing a willingness to accept a trip with which they're unfamiliar or not grumbling about a cab that has seen its better days (e.g. radio doesn't work, uncomfortable seat, damaged interior upholstery, etc.), a winning attitude is infectious and is an attribute that can bring out the best in people — staff as well as customers.

3. Communicates well
Because much of a trucker's day-to-day is spent in isolation, good communication skills may not seem like a desirable trait. But the assumption about isolation is a mischaracterization. Drivers are in constant contact with the people in their surroundings, be they customers, fellow road users, co-workers or their employers. Their ability to listen, offer guidance on directions, explain what they're dropping off or provide insight on a challenge is an invaluable resource that you'll want to keep around in perpetuity.

4. Level-headed
From inattentive drivers to traffic jams to unpleasant customers, the trucking life is filled with annoyances that can leave even the coolest of heads hot and bothered. But if you have an employee who doesn't sweat the small stuff, that calm demeanor will take them and your company far.

These are among the qualities that make a truck driver an indispensable one who is worth doing all you can to keep with the organization.

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