Category: truck mistakes

What to do if your truck breaks down in traffic.

Breakdowns throw a wrench in the plans of truck drivers on their transportation journeys. Breakdowns cause delays in the strict schedules many drivers keep, and this time delay can mean late transportation of goods and less family time for the drivers as breakdowns increase the time that drivers must spend away from their family. 

The good news is that there are many ways to effectively manage breakdowns that will help save yourself time and effort. From effective stress management techniques to knowing who to call, it is possible to experience a breakdown without it being the end of the world. Meaning you can return to transporting goods quickly. 

Stay Calm 

The most important thing to remember when your truck is starting to break down is to breathe and stay calm. If you can pull off on a wide area, that would be the best, and if you can catch the breakdown early, finding an exit or stop along the way with a semi repair shop nearby would be the best decision. The main thing you want to avoid when you feel a breakdown coming is to be stranded in the middle of the highway. 

After you pull off, allow yourself to gather your bearings and call the correct people. This will likely vary by company, but the best decision if you are somewhere remote or unknown, is to contact your boss or someone in charge at the company you work for and they will be able to provide some guidance. Also, prop your hood up to signal you are broken down and then set out the triangles or flares behind your truck in 50-foot increments. 

Driver Help 

Some drivers may have experience working on trucks or have been trained to fix issues, but it is a good idea to leave the repairs to the experts. If you are an owner operator who is responsible for your own semi, make sure you have a resource that you can refer to when locating repair facilities and searching for safe stopping spots. 

If you are a driver for a company, your dispatcher or manager should be able to inform you on how to handle the breakdown. They can tell you information such as who to call for a tow truck and what facility your truck should be taken to. 

It is very important to remember that your safety is of utmost importance. With that in mind, please remember the safest place to remain until help arrives is in the cab of your truck with the

doors locked. Standing on the side of the road can make you a target for speeding, inattentive drivers. Stay alert and be aware of the dangers around you. 

Final Thoughts 

Breakdowns can be scary, especially if it is your first one, but there are people who can help you. The most important thing is to stay calm and call assistance if you cannot repair the truck on your own. As a final safety tip, pulling off to a wide, well-lit area will pay off in safety and allow help to find you easily. Being a driver will mean that you will likely see at least one breakdown in your life, but they are manageable as long as you remain calm, everything will be okay soon!

Rookie Mistakes

trucker-rookie-mistakes
Getting a CDL and landing that first driving job is a great accomplishment.  Driving a truck can be a rewarding and lucrative career.  As with any job, it’s a learning experience at the start, the time spent in CDL training is only the beginning of your education.  You will make mistakes.  Everyone does.  Here are some of the more common ones that you should try to avoid:

Being Too Confident

Just like with driving a car, you may understand it and know all the rules but you haven’t mastered it until you have faced nearly every situation on the road.  You must always respect the fact that you’re in control of up to 80,000 lbs. because the second you forget that, you’re in trouble.   Being too confident will cause accidents.

You Don’t Speak Up

Other drivers will be more than happy to answer your questions.  Use their knowledge.  Listen to their stories.  Learn from their mistakes so you can avoid making the same ones.

You Have High Expectations

When you first start out driving, you’re at the bottom.  You don’t get the good gigs and your pay may be less than what you’d hoped it would be.  If you hang in there and do your time, you’ll work your way up.  Being a good employee helps too.  Being polite and friendly with the dispatcher, who has your back when you break down, gives you the information you need for your current loads, and may give you a heads up on future opportunities.

Disobeying the Rules

Skipping truck inspections or not frequently checking your load to make sure it’s secure because you’re in a hurry will only cost you in the long run.  It’s potentially dangerous to you and to others who share the road and there are reasons for the rules.  The same goes for the rules of the road.  Speeding and not following other basic rules of the road, will put you and others in danger.  You have no control over the speed demon in a sports car who cuts you off and causes you to slam on your brakes.  When you’re in control of 40 tons, you have to be the grown-up on the road.

Not Controlling Your Health

Driving a truck can be an unhealthy occupation.  All that fast food and sedentary time behind the wheel contribute to the prevalence of obesity in the industry.  Both exercising and eating right on the road are challenges that take determination and usually means bringing your own food and exercise equipment on the road.

Having an Unrealistic Expectation of Road Life

Many imagine that life on the open highway is the ultimate freedom.  No boss looking over your shoulder, beautiful scenery, and nights filled with fun times with other drivers.  The reality is  strict delivery schedules, company rules, traffic, and a hefty amount of customer service obligations can put a damper on that feeling of freedom.

Sitting in the driver’s seat every day, all day, driving down the highway can be monotonous and exhausting.  Driving a truck is a great career but you have to have the right mindset.

The most important thing you can do to avoid making rookie mistakes is to remember that you are a rookie and still have more to learn if you want a successful career behind the wheel.

Trucker Search is a tool you need if you’re looking for employment opportunities in the trucking industry.  On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé as well as search the large database of companies looking for drivers and job postings.  It’s a great resource for any driver starting in the trucking industry.