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. Quite often you will walk, talk and act differently than before getting used to driving that truck half-way 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, there are nay-sayers who 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. Keep in mind that how you conduct yourself is up to you but you ought to consider the following rules if you want 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 a convoy. That is why quite often, truckers will 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 for you. Whenever the road is clear, turn on the headlights for 2 seconds before switching it off. At night, just 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 is one of those that come with automatic lights but no manual adjustment, then it is better to not do it than blind another driver and risk causing an accident.
- Dim/Turn off your headlights when parking at truck stop at night- Most of the 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 who are asleep. In fact, most truck stops have flood lights making it possible to park your truck without the headlights. However, if you find a truck stop that is 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 your garbage inappropriately- It is common and quite acceptable for a truck driver to urinate in a bottle once in a while due to the nature of the job but disposing the urine bottle aimlessly is intolerable. Matter fact, throwing off 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 on the parking lot especially on the pavement. If you are held up somewhere where there is 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 you run out of fuel only to find 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, just relocate to the parking lot and eat lunch or dinner as long as you want. In relation to parking space, ensure to park your truck in a straight line not just for ease but to prevent the hood getting ripped off.
- Maintain a personal hygiene- The life on the road is not always smooth and it is understandable if you don’t take a 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 a clean personal hygiene. Whenever you take a compulsory break, always take a shower in one of those truck stop facilities or motels. Make sure you carry sufficient clothes to last you at least 2 weeks if you keep on changing on daily basis. That way you will have the convenience to wash your clothes once every week whenever you take a long break. Of course, don’t forget to thoroughly brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Drive in the right lane- For the sake of avoiding a massive congestion and not wasting 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 travelling at full speed but still it would be out of place travelling at 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, if you are in a big city such as New York, you can safely use the center lane.
- Help out new recruits or other truckers- If you have already gained experience, then 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, just offer assistance if you can and continue with your job. It is that kind of fellowship among truckers that makes life easier on the road.