There are many advantages to being a safe driver for a trucking or transportation company. As a driver employed by a trucking company, drivers can leave work at the workplace, and there is little commitment to the start-up costs associated with being an own owner/operator. You get all the access to the open road you could desire, while avoiding the expenses associated with running a business.
Company drivers should expect to upgrade and maintain their level of corporate driver training, and should always be seeking to better their standing and skill sets. In this post, we’ll touch on a few of the most impactful ways to become a safe and valuable company driver.
Defensive Driving should always go beyond the basic driving skills and behaviours of everyday motorists. This means adopting a proactive attitude towards the rules of the road to anticipate potential hazards.
Company drivers need to have a comprehensive understanding of defensive driving to anticipate the actions of others, know your surroundings and keep your options open. These skill sets keep company drivers and other road users safe by observing and identifying hazards, and avoiding accidents. Embracing defensive driving means taking responsibility for the vehicle you’re operating while ensuring that your driving behaviours are in-line with the expectations of your company.
Safe and valuable company drivers possess a sense of responsibility - to themselves, others using the roads, to their vehicles, and to their clients. Being a part of a company workforce and a fleet of drivers is all about having respect for clients, deliveries and cargo, and adhering to all safety requirements.
Responsibility as a company driver also includes completing all safety checks, vehicle inspections, general maintenance, and keeping a solid documented paper trail. Tracking expenses, logs, paperwork, permits, and licensing is needed to complete a trip safely and efficiently. Responsibility falls on company drivers by way of possessing strong organizational skills.
Working Knowledge of Truck Mechanics
Safe and valuable company drivers have a solid working knowledge of trucking mechanics. Drivers should be able to competently and confidently perform standard repairs and maintenance tasks on their vehicles. Drivers should be able to:
- Conduct pre and post trip inspections
- Assess for damage
- Check vehicle fluids
- Conduct basic truck maintenance
- Identify potential repairs proactively to reduce vehicle downtime
Possessing these skills can help a driver in an emergency situation and can also improve their worth to a company. Trucking companies respect and appreciate independent thinkers who can take care of themselves and their company resources.
Being a company driver means being on the road for long periods of time - sometimes with deadlines and kilometers to cover to get the job done. Being a company driver means long hours away from your friends and family, requiring physical and mental stamina.
Many drivers will overcome aspects of loneliness, sleeplessness, and boredom with years of experience and creating a routine that works for them and their families. Other drivers may require downtime or a change of scenery to combat the perceived pitfalls of the company driver lifestyle. One of the biggest ways to help yourself become a better company driver is having the courage and foresight to speak up about your mental state. Asking for help or discussing issues of mental and physical stamina is part one to building a positive network of supportive colleagues and superiors.
Physical requirements may involve sitting for long periods of time, operating a truck at odd hours of the night, or being able to lift a specific amount of weight to move cargo. Company drivers who take time for themselves to stop and stretch periodically, eat a balanced and healthy meal, get the proper amount of rest between shifts, and stay active will be able to better accommodate the demands of their positions.
Safe Driving Record
Maintaining a safe and violation free driving record is a surefire way to demonstrate dedication as a company driver. Safe and violation free drivers are less expensive to insure and driving records can play a major part in who gets the prime jobs and with many companies, who receives safety bonuses.
Keeping a safe driving record falls on the driver and having the patience, knowledge, and discipline to adhere to changing road conditions, rules and regulations, and ever-changing surroundings. Reducing the potential to be pulled over for regulatory infractions is one way to lower the cost of company vehicle operations and improve the quality of your services as a driver.
Being a responsible member of a fleet is important for you and your company’s safety record, reputation and bottom line. Becoming a safe and valuable company driver is all about keeping an open mind and taking in updated rules, regulations and practices to implement into your driving style. Safe and valuable professional drivers also take care of their own well-being and ensure that they’re prepared for each and every day behind the wheel.