5 Heavy Haulage Tips for New Truck Drivers
Most people have a pretty stereotypical image of the average “truck driver.” They likely picture an older guy with a rough and rugged demeanor who eats on the go and can often be found snoozing in his cab after a long night on the road. While this may be a fairly accurate assessment of some truckers you know or have met in the past, the industry has become a lot broader and a lot more diverse over the last ten years. In Australia especially, heavy haulage drivers come from all kinds of backgrounds and walks of life.
What they all share is a set of clear and unshakable values. To be a successful haulage driver, you need to respect the rules of the road, have superb focus, and be able to respond instantly to the actions of those around you. It is not always an easy job and the hours are often very long, but it comes with the chance to earn a great salary and travel around this expansive, beautiful country.
If you are thinking about training to be a haulage truck driver or you are just starting out after completing training, read these handy hints and tips.
1. Height Restrictions Aren’t Just for Fun
This might sound like an obvious piece of advice, but heavy haulage companies are constantly dealing with drivers who seem to think that height restrictions are precautionary. It is a common problem and a real frustration because it’s all down to a lack of vigilance. If you want to stay safe and stay in the good books, never ignore height restrictions, especially on low bridges. Every single month, the notorious bridge in South Melbourne leaves a truck driver with a very red face indeed; don’t let it be yours.
2. Respect Your Safety Department
Unfortunately, lots of truck drivers seem to view safety officers in the same way as they do police. If they’ve got a problem, they’re full of gratitude and good manners. If they’re in trouble, however, suddenly those same safety experts are being unfair and overly harsh. The truth is that your safety department is invested in nothing but your personal wellbeing. It always has your best interests at heart, so try to be understanding and mindful of the rules.
3. Take All of Your Rest Breaks
It can be tempting sometimes to keep on trucking and ignore scheduled rest breaks if it means that you’ll finish a job faster. Nevertheless, all truck drivers must adhere to strict rest periods because it is the only way to guarantee safety on the road. Skipping out on them is a real blow to fatigue management plans and it can get you in a lot of trouble. So, don’t overwork yourself and take all of the personal time that is afforded to you.
4. Buy Yourself a Hands Free Headset
You shouldn’t need to be reminded that handling a phone while driving is against the law. There are no such rules against hands-free headsets and loudspeaker devices though and they can really perk long haul drivers up during intense shifts. It can get lonely out on the road and you shouldn’t underestimate the value of personal calls to friends, family members, and workmates. They give you a break from the radio and add a little variety to your routine.
5. Stay Healthy and Eat a Balanced Diet
One of the biggest problems for the haulage truck driver is a poor diet. When you’re away from home and can’t cook fresh ingredients, it can seem like the only option is junk food. This is why many drivers are overweight and have persistent health problems. To stay in tip top shape and be ready for anything, use some of your time away from work to go to the gym or start a jogging or cycling routine. Also, pre-prepared lunches are an easy way to avoid fatty junk food options.
Why You Might Make a Great Haulage Driver
The best haulage drivers are those who understand that the rules aren’t there to slow them down or hold them up. They are patient, respectful, and focused on safety, both for themselves and for the other cars on the road. An easy going personality and a good concentration span are essential, but the rest is up to you. As long as you qualify and pass the necessary training regimen, you have a shot at an exciting career behind the wheel.