Good Trucking Habits
Like it or not, people are creatures of habit. Both good habits and bad habits. We develop habits in both our professional life and personal life. But the line between professional and personal life gets blurred. It’s easier for truck drivers to pick up some bad habits and those bad habits can cause problems and even add risk to our daily lives.
Usually, our bad are seemingly small actions taken or not taken. These are little compromises we make, usually when we are on a tight schedule or behind schedule. But small compromises on the following five things can cause plenty of trouble down the road.
Don’t Cut Corners Trip-Planning
Trip planning makes life on the road more organized. Knowing where you’re going and how long it takes to get there allows you to be in full control of your schedule. But trip planning doesn’t stop once you leave the yard. You should re-evaluate every day of your run.
We run into delays every day, from weather to traffic, to construction; it doesn’t take much to disrupt our schedules. By re-evaluating your trip every night, you can plan your stops, where you fuel, and contact any customer that delays might affect.
It’s easy to skip trip planning on loads and lanes you’ve run before. But there are always variables that we can’t control. Always check the weather and traffic conditions even when you’ve ran the lane plenty of times before. The last thing you want is to get caught out without parking!
Check out some trip planning articles:
- Don’t Wing It. It’s Time to Start Trip Planning
- Understanding Your Trip – Trip Planning is More Than Just Knowing the Mileage
- Proper Trip Planning is More Important than Ever
Don’t Race the Clock
Your ELD doesn’t dictate how you conduct your trip. Don’t take risks such as speeding to beat the clock.
This comes back to trip planning. You should have several options to park for your required rest through proper planning. Get to your safe haven and park instead of pushing to get a little further down the road.
On the same note, we keep hearing from drivers that they witness increased dangerous driving in truckstop parking lots. It looks like drivers running their clock to within a few minutes and are driving too fast in the parking lot in order to park before their clock runs out. There’s no reason to drive recklessly and increase the risk of an accident.
Don’t Drive When Fatigued
Just because you have available hours doesn’t mean you need to drive them when you’re tired. Fatigue is a form of impairment and driving fatigued puts you, and others, in danger. Your reflexes aren’t nearly as sharp when you’re tired and it takes longer to react to the things happening around you.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to push a little more to get further down the road. It seems like a small compromise to push a little but that can quickly turn into a habit.
Use your downtime wisely and get the rest you need. In cases where you are fatigued and can’t proceed safely – shut it down. Message dispatch and contacting affected clients if you’re behind schedule.
Remember that no load is worth jeopardizing anyone’s safety by driving when you’re too tired.
Don’t Cut Corners During Your Pre & Post-Trip
Unfortunately, some drivers do not do proper pre-trips and post-trips. It’s another one of those things that you need to be vigilant about because it’s easily overlooked when your truck appears to be running fine.
It’s easy to skip when you arrive a little late when departing on your run. You can always check it a little down the road, right? Wrong!
Get into the habit of proper pre-trips and post-trips – every day. The sooner you find a problem, the sooner you can take care of it. If you don’t notice that marking lamp is burned out, the officer at the scale will or another driver has to deal with it if you didn’t do a proper post-trip when you got back to the terminal.
Proper inspections are necessary in order to operate safely. Not only that, finding a problem early can save your schedule and wallet. Fines are expensive. Road-side repairs are expensive. Leaving a problem for another driver is unprofessional and can cause your fellow drivers delays.
Check out these articles:
- Post Trip Inspections – Trucking 101
- Pre-Trip Inspection: Cab Check
- Pre-Trip Inspection: The Walk Around
- Pre-Trip Inspection: Under the Hood
Don’t Use Hand-Held Devices While Driving
By now everyone knows that texting and driving are dangerous and illegal. Distracted driving is a serious problem on our roads. It seems every week there are several stories in the industry news about truck crashes caused by drivers texting, watching videos, and reading while driving. The penalties are steep, and the results of a crash can be tragic and lethal.
When your phone chimes as a new text comes in, it’s easy to take a quick look. What’s the harm? Your eyes are off the road and you’re concentrating on something else. It’s only a second or two but that’s plenty of time for things to go bad when you’re at highway speeds.
Get into the habit of checking your phone once you’re stopped.
Developing good habits and paying attention to detail will help you operate safely. Spending a little bit of time on proper inspections and trip planning will make your trip run smoother and ultimately save you time and headaches. Racing the clock and using handheld devices are a couple of safety issues that the industry continues to struggle with every day.
Safety is all of our responsibility.
Earn a Good Living with Len Dubois
We are able to ensure good miles and home time with regular Winnipeg-based clients, regular lanes, and long-term clients. Our experienced team of dispatchers works hard to ensure that your time off and resets are taken at home, not on the road. For drivers, this equals above-average pay and the ability to enjoy a life outside of the truck.
Ask John About the $1000 Sign-On Bonus for Company Drivers and $2000 Sign-On Bonus for Owner Operator’s
- Must have 2 years OTR experience
- Must be able to cross the U.S border
- 80% U.S miles
- Must have a positive attitude about safety & compliance
Let’s have a conversation and see if we’re a good fit for you! Call John, Safety Manager/Driver Recruiter 1-888-590-2760 Ext 309 today.
If you’d prefer, John can contact you. Fill out the form below