What’s your perception of truck drivers? If you ask that question to the general public, most people would probably reply “not good.”
When you’re on the road, you are not just representing a trucking company — you are representing the trucking industry. You want to make a good impression. Simple, common courtesies can go a long way toward getting you ahead in your career and making your trips more enjoyable.
Focus on Customer Service
Even truck drivers can’t escape dealing with customers. Your customers include more than just the people you deliver goods to. Your customers include everyone you deal with during your workday: the DOT inspector, your dispatcher, loading dock workers or your trucking company boss. Even when your day isn’t going the way you had planned, try to keep a positive outlook.
Maintain a Professional Attitude
Don’t be that irate driver who no one wants to deal with. Upon arrival at your destination, introduce yourself, state why you are there and even engage in some friendly small talk. If you’re remembered as the “good guy or gal” rather than the irate driver with the negative attitude, people will be more likely to return the kindness — by unloading quickly so you can get back on the road.
Backing up your truck has its own set of etiquette. To make your experience safer for you and those around you, follow these five tips:
- Look behind the truck before getting in the cab.
- Roll down your window so you can better hear someone honk or yell at you.
- Turn on your CB radio in case another trucker tries to warn you of an obstacle.
- Allow other cars to pass (unless you’ve already pulled too far back to stop).
- To warn other vehicles that you’re backing up, turn on your four-way flashers.
Help Other Truckers Merge Onto the Freeway
Drivers on the freeway have the right of way. But accelerating quickly is more difficult for a large semi, so allow your fellow trucker to merge by moving over a lane or slowing down.
Double Turn Lane Protocol
Truck drivers are required to turn from the furthest right lane in double, triple or other multi-turn lanes. This applies to both right and left-hand turns. If you end up in the wrong lane, allow other vehicles to pass first to avoid a crash.
Flash to Pass
It can be difficult for drivers to know if they have passed you by looking in their rearview mirror. To alert the driver that he/she is clear, you can quickly flash your lights.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line for truck etiquette is simple: Treat people how you would like them to treat you. Show thanks to everyone — on and off the road — and watch that favour multiply in your own life.
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