Driver of a truck: Professionalism

Uh, oops. Wrong ending there. I can’t believe that I almost missed one of the most critical qualities that you need to be a good truck driver: integrity.

A big part is getting on schedule to be a professional. The economy of America largely operates on a JIT system, which stands for Just In Time.” Before they need it, JIT businesses don’t order anything. What it means is that truck drivers need to pick up their loads on schedule and transport them. Uh sorry. I know you were hoping to visit and show off your Texas Hold’em ability at the casino, but you’ve got crap to do, driver!

You’d better get them there on time if a Chrysler plant wants the dashboards that you’re bringing. If you are late and their manufacturing line has shut down because of you, how pleased do you think Chrysler will be? And how excited do you think the business would be to give them an earful as Chrysler phones them up? And those sessions of butt-chewing appear to come straight down the line.

Only one more explanation why I prefer big carriers is the need to deliver on time. Typically, they allow you plenty of time to pick up and transport your loads, while Truck-a-Billy Trucking Business will drive you into a time line that you can’t comfortably and/or lawfully reach. That at least, is what the Truck-a-Billy drivers are asking me. However I’m sure not every tiny carrier is like that.

And let me make it clear, before my inbox starts filling up with outraged drivers, that I’m not suggesting that major carriers would never try to force you to drive illegally. I’m sure any of them can. I’ve read those stories. I’m not suggesting that it’s not happening. I’m just going to remind you about my experience with major carriers. Perhaps I was so fortunate that the ones I selected treated me with dignity. Well if that’s the case, I’m not complaining.

But anyway, if you want to be a reliable trucker on the list of your manager and the go-to man, make sure you have a decent record on time. Would my boss hose me, every now and then, if I deliver late? Probably not. With the territory, it goes. But since you can’t be relied on as much as Mr. Go-To, you may get passed up on hot loads.

You need to learn to control your time and schedule your trips well in order to be a good driver.

You should schedule it out in advance before you even begin a journey. You should be able to plan your driving route and find out where you may need fuel and where you can rest to get a shower and some sleep with the aid of a map, a truck stop guide (available at most truck stops), a list of the fuel positions of your business, and the directions to the shipper and receiver.

With the lack of truck parking available (especially on the East Coast), you have to prepare in advance. Your driving school will show you the principle of trip preparation, but you will hear how it actually works from your driver’s teacher. Driving schools and on-the-job instruction are dedicated to Chapters 17 and 19.

When you get a load from your business and you know that you can’t make the appointments, tell them before taking the load. Did you prepare ahead of time, didn’t you?

Instead of doing your hardest and coming up short, it’s easier to say them in advance to maintain your good name. They could also order you to take the load and send it ASAP (as soon as possible) anyway, even though you told them it was going to be late. When they tell you that you’re off the hook. All you have to do is try to get them to give you a satellite message so that you can CYA (cover your… back).

What if I’m making a really nice ride, but I’m still not going to be on time? Ok it depends. Are you sure you had your trip well planned? There were moments when I felt I was organizing it to a tee, only to find that I had failed to work out the time differential between Illinois and Indiana. And don’t chuckle. It’s simpler than you would imagine to do that. Especially when you are new to several time zones being crossed. Here is just one case of a screwed-up thing about the time zone:

Look at the map. See how Indianapolis, Indiana, north of Nashville, Tennessee, is almost due? They’d be in the same time zone, you would imagine, but they aren’t. Nashville is in Central Time, while in the Eastern Time Zone, Indianapolis is.

Some times, in a big city, I failed to figure in more travel time for rush hour. It’s the little stuff that gets you each time. Forgetting something like that is very quick if you’re in a rush.

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