Truck driving isn’t always easy. Short-haul and long-haul truckers are responsible for ensuring safe driving practices while delivering massive loads to their destinations. On that note, it doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced trucker or fresh to the job; there are many ways to improve your skills. Check out these essential CDL skills to become a better driver to improve your deliveries while keeping yourself and others safe on the road.
Time management is an essential skill for any trucking role, whether you’re a long-haul or short-haul driver. After all, you must deliver goods by a certain timeframe for efficient logistics. Staying organized and keeping proper time management cuts unnecessary stops in between drop-off points. Keep track of your hours of service, miles, trailer numbers, addresses, mileage, and routes to maximize timekeeping. That doesn’t mean skip breaks or meals; these will help rejuvenate you for the rest of the trip.
Open communication is also important. Communicate with your company on expected load dates, as well as other truckers to learn about potential road construction, hazards, inclement weather, traffic, or other delivery-related issues. If you’re late on your delivery, inform the recipient. While customers might initially be upset, explaining the reasons out of your control might mitigate the situation and allow some leniency.
Defensive driving is another essential CDL skill to become a better driver that every trucker must know. Defensive driving is synonymous with safe driving in the sense that you’re fully aware of your speed, traffic conditions, and other motorists. Semi-trucks, trailers, and flatbeds are large vehicles. Always inspect your vehicle before driving and make sure loads are sufficiently tied down. Plan the route ahead of time to avoid any possible road hazards. Accidents or incidents can happen, though, so it’s important to have a proper CDL traffic attorney to aide you through a speeding ticket or another potential issue.
Relatedly, as previously mentioned, be aware of your surroundings. Critical awareness prepares you for every possible driving scenario, from condensed traffic to travel details. Your company may require you to keep a detailed record of your drive, so log accordingly. These logs hold you accountable while showing your company your safe driving practices. Be patient on routes, too. Traffic changes happen all the time, so be aware of yourself and others on the road.