Having confidence isn’t a bad thing. In fact, for drivers, you should have a certain level of confidence. Constantly being a nervous-nelly while driving a big rig is a different problem that doesn’t work in the trucking industry (duh!). However, being overconfident is very problematic. Whether it’s thinking you know your route like the back of your hand or that you have mastered it all, that nothing can trip you up is unrealistic and dangerous.
You work in an ever-changing environment, from other vehicles on the highway, a busy delivery destination with workers running about, to construction. No matter how many times you do the same route, go to the same pickup/delivery, your environment and situation are different each time. The best drivers know that no two runs are the same.
Examples of Overconfident Drivers
You have driven the same stretch of highway for years – you let your guard down, becoming overly confident. Traffic ahead has come to a halt because of an accident, and you haven’t given yourself enough stopping distance because you weren’t paying attention as you would have been if you hadn’t already done it 100 times before.
Since mastering the skill of backing, you have the skill and ability to back into any dock, anywhere and in any condition – you let your guard down, becoming overly confident. You don’t notice an obvious obstruction, like an overhang that you have now damaged after backing into it.
Who are Overconfident Drivers?
Overconfident drivers are complacent drivers who, without realizing, disregard caution. Usually, overconfident drivers come from years of driving without accidents. They begin to trust their ability to drive, which isn’t a bad thing, but solely relying on your abilities because they are the “best” is not safe. This develops into a sense and attitude of “it can’t happen to me,” replacing the methodical and careful skill that driving requires.
The reason why this attitude is dangerous is because overconfident drivers think and feel like they are exempt from the risks of the road because they are just that good. This inflated sense of skill tends to lead drivers to disregard the everyday risk involved with the job.
How to be a Confident, yet not Overly Confident Driver
It’s about balance. You should have enough confidence in yourself as a driver to feel comfortable in the driver’s seat and complete the job – the right way, yet not so overly confident that you think you can’t slip up. Never forget that no matter how long you have been behind that wheel, no matter how many accident-free miles you’ve clocked in, that doesn’t mean you’re invisible. Be humble, observe everything, pay attention, and don’t have an inflated ego. These are the steps to be a safe and successful driver.