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6 Tips For Driving Trucks From Experienced Truckers

Zoey Fawell
Learning how to drive an 18-wheeler involves a lot more than knowing how to make a left turn. It involves a lifetime of skills that many of the expert drivers have managed to refine into a type of art form.
My initial lessons involved good habits and practices to ensure your day would go more smoothly. These lessons came from trainers that were qualified rather than from training books.
These experts helped me to develop better habits and to think about what step next to take, which would ultimately assist me with my work. For driving careers with Travis Perkis read more here. Here are 6 tips you can use for driving trucks, that I feel are important and provide credit to all the trainers that helped me along the way.

1. Look Back At The Truck After You Have Parked

After I park my truck, I always get out and walk to the operating center. I have been told countless times what I should be doing when walking away from my truck, and I am sure I know this off by heart now. My trainer will always ask me “Are you done”, and I respond with a “Yes!”.
As we walk and talk, he would tell me that I need to look at the truck, and that is when I notice that the left blinker is still ticking. I most probably bumped into it when exiting the truck. I smile sheepishly and head back to my truck in order to turn it off.
It is important to take one last look at your truck before leaving it. I have often noticed blinkers and flashing lights left on in parking lots. I thank David Dandeneau for this important lesson when it comes to truck driving.

2. Be Constantly Aware Of Your Trailer

If your trailer goes outside or over the line to it is leaving the road, you are not driving safely. Your trailer can become a weapon that can get others or you killed or seriously injured.
Yet an expression that I quickly learned when backing up close to a trailer that was on the other side of me was “Drive that trailer or you sure to fail” I never ever forgot that. I thank Ken Booker for this.

3. Conduct A Thorough Pre-Trip Inspection

You may be asked randomly when you did a pre-trip. If it is a DOT officer, he will want to ensure you have looked over the lights, tires, pins, the fifth wheel, valve-stem covers, and last inspection date. I am very selective of these and have back-ups in the side-pocket door.
One of the stories from the first year of my trucking days drove this point home. I bumped into a friend who had just collected a load whereby he needed valve stem covers for all 8 trailer tires. Once again I thank David Dandeneau, for this important reminder and his wisdom.
I will not forget this, and maintenance is always happy to accommodate truck drivers with extra lights and valve-stem covers for free.

4. When You See A Spot You Want, Pay Extra Attention To The Tire Path

In most cases, the truck which has recently pulled out would have created a path for you to back your truck into. Make sure you aim your tires along this path.
It is surprising how close one can get along with how easily you can improve your overall accuracy when you pay careful attention when it comes to the path that your wheels need to take.
Never forget to G.O.A.L which means Get Out and Look. This perhaps the most important tip for all truckers. I have heard this from just about every trainer, but the most frequently from Joe Ward, who is now retired and my husband, Joe Nader. Thank you to all of you.

5. Always Be Alert

When taking an exit to the next truck stop, make sure you have seen the signs and the exit, and also ensure you know the right way to go back onto the highway.
There are different types of exits, along with different ways in which to exit, yet only specific ones are going to take you in the correct direction. With the out-of-route miles which are so important, you need to keep everything to the minimum. You could also get very lost if you take a wrong turn.
I am aware of where I-40 is, yet I do not know much about the community around and behind it. I thank my husband Joe Nader for this, and avoiding getting lost is one of the big advantages.

6. Never Swerve Out to Miss an Animal

I do love animals, yet it is never worth taking the risk of your own life or another motorist to swerve an 80,000-pound vehicle in order to prevent hitting an animal in the road.
It is very sad that some animals are left to run amok, and I really hated that I drove over a stunning Boxer dog at Big Cabin, and a deer in Wyoming, and even an alligator in Alabama. I did try my best to slow down, but unfortunately, it was not enough. You can try to slow down, but never try to swerve out.