Going out into the wild road requires certain levels of attention o details, sharp senses and a keen eye for unexpected things that may (and will) happen, so we’ll cover the basic tips now that you have made the decision of becoming a full-time trucker. Bear in mind that these tips are useful for both novice and seasoned truckers.
As for general tips, there are plenty of things to get done before you start your driving, checking that the truck’s papers and yours are in order is a must, like checking for your wallet before leaving home. Having your truck checked by a professional might save you from mechanical problems, better safe than sorry, some say. Getting a couple of good nights’ sleep will improve your sight and sharpen your reflexes, so, no staying up late before going on those long long trips.
Speaking of long trips, be sure not to try that new Thai restaurant the night before you leave, it’s going to be troublesome if that Tom Yum Goong doesn’t go “down” as expected, dehydration and too many stops will harm the goods you’re delivering, your record as a responsible trucker and moreover, will extend your trip’s duration.
Some other basic things to keep in mind are things we give for granted, but it’s never too late to remember; always wear your seatbelt, mind your truck’s load capacity, don’t use the emergency lane, keep your light on when driving through foggy or rainy conditions and keep a prudent distance from the car ahead of you.
So, you got the first part covered, right? Now, with everything checked is time to… nope, not yet, a little bit more planning is needed before leaving, like checking on your map (or better yet, a GPS) the best route to drive your merchandise to its destination (but be careful to plan accordingly to the cargo you’re driving).
Planning your gas, feeding, and resting stops is a good idea. If you don’t know a particular road, don’t worry, there are apps that’ll help you out, and the occasional fellow trucker can give you some heads up, once you’re out, alone on the road, it’s nice to start planning what to do when reaching destination, if destination is inside a city, having a plan on what route to use when delivering is a mighty good idea, streets can be bumpy or too narrow for your truck, so those are numbers to take notice from.
Unless you know the receiver personally, calling them in advance is helpful, they can guide you through their city or give you hints on the less transited streets, so you won’t waste any time around there. Call the cargo sender so he can contact the buyer so further instructions can be given to him (or her). By the way, having the cargo’s papers is a must so that no cop retains you for long.
As for your own safety, remember to always close the truck and keep your keys with you at all moments, and avoid leaving valuables on a place where a passer-by might see them, so you don’t get robbed while making a shortstop. Always park your truck on a spot where you won’t affect traffic, well illuminated and sit on places where you can always keep an eye on it.
Stopping when a stranger is asking for a ride is 99% of the times bad news for the trucker, so don’t stop for hitchhikers, but if you feel warmth on your heart and think it’s not unsafe to do so, make sure to have an insurance with the most coverage offered, the best you can buy, one of those that insurance the cargo, the truck and yourself.
If possible, have a safety and alarm system in place, be discreet about your itinerary, you don’t want everyone to know where, when and how you are going to a place. Remember, if armed robbers jump into your truck, make sure to remain calmed and avoid sudden moves, it doesn’t matter if they robbed the truck or the cargo, those are just things and if you had bought the insurance, there’ll be no problem.