Learning to drive an 18-wheeler isn’t as easy as you might think – it’s much more than simply learning how to stop or make a turn. Trucking is truly a lifetime skill that many long time drivers have refined over the years.
The foundation for good trucking skills is largely laid by your trainer – which means having a good trainer is vital to starting off on the right foot. We polled FinditParts fans to see what was the most important thing their trainer taught them, and here’s what they had to say:
Top 5 Tips Trainers Give Truck Drivers
Look for the big picture
Being aware of your surroundings is so much more than just focusing on what is in front of you. A good driver will be aware of what’s happening up ahead, as well as behind and to the sides. Always scan your mirrors and be aware of your trailer – it will tell you how you’re driving. Going off the road or over the lines? It may be time to take a break, as you aren’t driving safely.
Take it slow
Slow and steady wins the race. That may be an old adage, but it’s true – driving too fast, especially in unsafe conditions can cause you to make mistakes that could prove deadly. Traveling too fast downhill? A jake brake may not save you. Speeding and come across an animal in the road? You could cause a major pileup by swerving or hitting the animal at a high rate of speed. So, no matter what, err on the side of caution and stay in the slow lane.
Take care of yourself
Healthy eating, getting good sleep and regular exercise are essentials to a successful long haul. These three things will help you stay alert, drive better and are an investment in your overall health, which is the key to a long career on the road. Stay away from fast food and convenience stores as your main source of meals, and instead invest in a slow cooker that you can use to create healthy, hearty meals while you drive.
Get out and look
During backing situations, never be afraid to G.O.A.L. – get out and look! Backing up a truck is one of the most dangerous maneuvers a trucker can do, so it’s very important that you get our and check your surroundings when needed. Smart truckers will recognize, it’s better to get out and look and take your time than it is to act hastily and potentially play bumper cars with your trailer.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Seasoned truckers always have great knowledge to share, so if you’re just starting out don’t be afraid to ask for advice or help. It’s always best to seek out the advice of others, rather than assume and make a mistake – especially when those mistakes could be deadly.
These tips are just a handful of awesome information shared by our fans – what would you add to the list?