Truck Drivers Code of Conduct
Truck driving is not just a job but a way of life. True enough, once a CDL graduate gets entangled in the trucking industry for a lengthy period, their demeanor changes in due time. You will often walk, talk and act differently than before getting used to driving that truck halfway across the country. It is, therefore, easier to get carried along by the groove of the party once you join the truckers’ club. Of course, like any other profession, some nay-sayers are likely to be caught dead than showing courtesy. Fortunately, the well-mannered truckers disciplined enough to set an example are the majority. In retrospect, there is a certain code of ethics that truck drivers are expected to follow to maintain a solid reputation. Remember that how you conduct yourself is up to you, but you should consider the following rules to maintain respect among your driving colleagues.
Signal other drivers when it is clear to overtake
Unlike other four-wheelers, overtaking trailers can be a headache, especially in convoy. Truckers often indicate to whoever is behind that it is safe to overtake through specific signals. Furthermore, it keeps the traffic flowing, and you would want another trucker to do the same. Whenever the road is clear, turn on the headlights for 2 seconds before switching them off. At night, turn off your headlights for one or 2 seconds before switching the lights on again. However, you should never use high beams to signal other drivers to overtake because you might just end up blinding the next driver. If your truck comes with automatic lights but no manual adjustment, it is better not to do it than blind another driver and risk causing an accident.
Dim/Turn off your headlights when parking at a truck stop at night
Most popular roadside truck stops are usually filled with other truckers, especially at night. You don’t want to turn on your full headlights and cause a nuisance to those asleep. Most truck stops have floodlights, making it possible to park your truck without the headlights. However, if you find a truck stop too dark to navigate, it is better to piss off those tired and sleepy truckers than to risk colliding with an unseen object.
Do not dispose of your garbage inappropriately
It is common and quite acceptable for a truck driver to urinate in a bottle occasionally due to the nature of the job. However, disposing of the urine bottle aimlessly is intolerable. Throwing urine bottles and garbage out of your window can get you arrested and fined for a misdemeanor in most states. Additionally, you should avoid urinating wherever in the parking lot, especially on the pavement. If you are held up somewhere with no bathroom or an empty bottle nearby, at least find a secluded ground with earth to absorb your disposal.
Do not delay other truckers at the fuel line
It is painfully annoying when you are behind schedule and run out of fuel, only to find that a fellow trucker has shut down the fuel island. Upon further investigations, you discover the truck driver holding up the fuel line went out for a brief shower, lunch, dinner, or shopping spree. Do not be that person. Although it is tempting to overstay on breaks, the general rule is that you should not take more than 10 minutes. Please consider whoever is behind you because you could be putting his/her job on the line. If you know, it will take more than 10 minutes, relocate to the parking lot and eat lunch or dinner as long as you want. About parking space, ensure to park your truck in a straight line not just for ease but to prevent the hood from getting ripped off.
Maintain a personal hygiene
Life on the road is not always smooth, and it is understandable if you don’t shower every day. However, that is not an excuse to stink and get in sticky situations. Nobody will take you seriously if you don’t maintain clean personal hygiene. Shower in one of those truck stops facilities or motels whenever you take a compulsory break. Ensure you carry sufficient clothes for at least two weeks if you keep changing daily. That way, you can wash your clothes once every week whenever you take a long break. Of course, don’t forget to brush your teeth at least twice daily thoroughly.
Drive in the right lane
To avoid massive congestion and not waste time for other drivers, do not drive your slow truck in the fast lane. The center lane is usually reserved for the fastest vehicles on the road. Your truck could be traveling at full speed but still out of place in the center lane. If you find yourself in such a position, just put on your right blinker and move on to the right side of the highway. However, you can safely use the center lane in a big city such as New York.
Help out recruits or other truckers
If you have already gained experience, you can recall when you were stuck somewhere, and another truck driver came to your rescue. It could be a new trucker backing up in a tight spot or another stranded driver asking for directions on the CB radio; offer assistance if you can and continue your job. That kind of fellowship among truckers makes life easier on the road.