Rules of the Road for California Truck Drivers
If you are new to trucking, then you need to know that you have signed up for a different kind of lifestyle, and not a normal job. You will often have to deliver a load, and you will not know the next destination until you are given new information by your employer. It could be Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York, or the other side of your state. With trucking, you are somewhat your own boss since you will rely on your life skills and intuition to safely perform the job that you have been tasked with, and make good money in the process.
- Have a strong personality
- Be determined
- Love spontaneity and adventure
- Have discipline and a good work ethic
- Able to be independent
- You should have patience
- Develop quickly
You will be paid based on the amount of work that you do, therefore the more miles you cover and the more loads you deliver, the more money you will earn. Below are some of the do’s and don’ts for California truck drivers:
Do’s for Truck Drivers
Always make sure that safety is a priority for you. This means that you should take time to do things like getting out of the vehicle to look before backing up; you would rather explain why you were late instead of having to explain why you wrecked the vehicle. The Safety Department has nothing against you. They gain nothing from your failure or loss. They are only concerned with your compliance so that every delivery that you make is a success.
Befriend Your Dispatcher
The dispatcher is the source of loads, miles, and also payment. Therefore, get to know what he/she likes and compliment them. Please make sure that they have good things to say about you.
Food and Exercise
Make your own food while on the road, whether it is in an electric grill, griddle, or in a crockpot, cooking your own food will save you a lot of money and keep you healthy. Along with diet, sitting in the truck for long periods of time is not good for your joints, heart, waistline, or any part of your body. Make a point of exercising at least 15 minutes twice daily. It can be a walk or an intense workout with weights that you can bring along. Find something that you can do to stay fit and healthy.
Getting over the road experience is very important especially if you want to grow quickly in your career. Making deliveries on time will set the tone of how your employer will perceive you. You should call in advance of your pickup with the customer and the receiver. This means that you will get your next load sooner, deliver it on time and make more deliveries per month.
Pay close attention when you take the exit to a truck stop. Look at the exit and the signs, and make sure that you know how you will get back to the highway. There are numerous types of exits and several ways to exit, but only the right ones will lead you in the correct direction. And with the out-of-route miles being very important, you should keep them to a minimum.
Carry Out An Extensive Pre-Trip Inspection
You never know when a DOT officer will stop you. Therefore, make sure that you check the tires, the lights, the valve stem covers, the pins, and all the necessary documents before you start your trip.
Don’ts For Truck Drivers
Don’t Refuse A Load
If you refuse a load, it leaves a bad image of you and your work ethic. Show your employer that you are dedicated and valuable to the company. Taking more loads will result in more mileage, and thus more money for you. Your success will be measured by how good you do your job. In case you give it half, you will get just half. Terminal managers, dispatchers, and fleet managers all go the extra mile for drivers who they know they can depend on to give their 110 percent.
Do Not Be Hasty
You may have a family to feed or bills to pay, and recruiters know exactly what to promise you so that you take their offer immediately. They will say that you will be home all the time, make a lot of money, and have the best benefits. Some companies spend more time and money getting new drivers than the amount that it spends on paying their current drivers. You should ask around and read the reports on trucking companies and find out what drivers say about these companies.
Be Mindful of Other Road Users
Be a mindful driver while on the road. The courteous thing that you should do when passing is to get over on your line, and the other driver moves to his line. This will help in stopping turbulence. Do not let your pride get you killed on the road because another driver misbehaves or is rude to you.
Do Not Flash Your Lights
Some drivers flash their lights too brightly instead of turning their lights off and back on. The other driver can be blinded by the bright lights, and he/she may run off the road.
Do Not Swerve to Miss An Animal
I love animals just as much as anyone else, however, it is not worth risking your life and even the lives of other motorists. Swerving an 80,000 pound truck around the road just to avoid an animal is extremely dangerous. It is very sad that some people let their pets run amok, and nobody likes to run over a cute dog, an alligator in Alabama, or a deer on the run in Wyoming. When the animal appears in front of your truck suddenly, there isn’t much that you can do other than just slow down, grip the wheel tightly and keep the truck straight, and hope that it will jump to safety.