The secret rules truck drivers have taken years to figure out and master, especially as a new trucker who has only had a few hauls. Although a lot of unwritten rules of the road take experience and time to figure out, here’s a brief rundown on what you should be doing as a trucker in the freight industry.
Not from DOT: The Rules from Veteran Truckers
Don’t take up all the fuel space
As you know, every minute counts when you’re trying to get a delivery or trip completed on a deadline, which makes this unwritten rule for truckers one of the most important. You might think your five-minute trip to get a drink and snack is quick, but for the other people waiting for it can seem like an eternity. Fill up, pull away from the pump and park in a designated spot before you make your trip to the bathroom or into the store. With that being said, make sure you park in the center of the parking spot. Taking up two spots is inconsiderate and won’t gain you any respect from the other truckers. Time is money, so be quick at the pump, but consider using a fuel card program to save you even more.
Don’t discuss the specifics of your haul
It may seem like you’re establishing some friendship by talking about your load with other truckers, but it’s important to practice some common sense because you never know what other people are actually like. Your cargo might not seem valuable to you, but it could present an opportunity for someone you’re conversing with, or even overhearing your conversation.
Acknowledge other truckers
Showing courtesy for others on the road is important for all drivers, but especially truckers because they spend a lot of time driving. Making it a positive experience along your route for other truck drivers because it’s the small things, like a simple wave, that goes a long way when you spend hours driving the U.S. roads. Act like a professional and other truckers will acknowledge you as one.
Follow parking lot protocol
Move your truck slowly through truck stops and parking lots. It’s easy to get in an accident in these areas, so make sure you’re following the actual speed limit. Watch your headlights when you’re driving through a truck stop at night. Whether you’re going to be sleeping or not, respect those who are trying to get some shut-eye. Everyone knows sleep health is a concern in the trucking industry, so try to help out your fellow drivers. In addition to minding other truckers who are sleeping, headlights are really bright and can cause headaches, as well as easily blind other drivers coming in or trying to leave, so keep them as dim as possible.
Help your fellow truckers
You remember what it was like to be a rookie driver. Any bit of help you can offer, whether they are a newbie or not, will go a long way. For example, if you’re driving in rush hour, help another driver safely pass a car if they need to. Flash your lights or contact through CB radio to let another driver know that they’ve passed a vehicle and are safe to go back into a lane. Try to inform other truckers of what might affect their route or ride. Weather delays or road closures are helpful information that can be relayed through CB radio to help other drivers re-route.
Invoice Factoring for Truckers
One final tip: Low on cash to take new loads? You don’t have to sit home and let work pass you by. Lots of trucking companies use factoring to bridge the cash flow gap and keep their trucks on the road.