Truck driving is a fulfilling job with lots of benefits and perks. But, like every job, there are unwritten rules and certain etiquettes that truck drivers should follow. Even though they’re not specifically mentioned in their contract.
Here we break down 7 rules that every truck driver should follow when they’re on the road. They may not improve the quality of your work, but they create a better environment for you and those around you when on your jobs.
In no particular order, we start with:
It’s the elephant in the room (or in this situation, truck stop) that people don’t want to address.
Being on the road for days at a time may not require you to break a sweat on a regular basis. Because of this, it’s easy to get into the habit of skipping thorough cleaning routines. But, over time, this can build up. And soon enough, you’ll be driving your truck, nose-blind to the stench you’re kicking up.
No, we don’t mean wear a suit when you’re driving across Europe.
It’s important to remember that, even if you’re an independent driver, at times you will represent different companies. Most importantly, when you’re picking up or dropping off a shipment. Because of this, it’s important to make sure you don’t look like Stig of the Dump.
Now, no business is expecting Brad Pitt to arrive at the depot. But, it’s polite to make some kind of effort. Carry a comb in your cab and perhaps some mints. And, no matter what, do not wear your shirt with the Pot Noodle stain on for a pickup/drop off.
If you’re lucky, your company may even provide you with a company shirt. If they do, we suggest you put this on when arriving at your destinations.
It’s not a rule, but it’s nice to make the effort.
Yes, we know it can be frustrating when you’ve been stuck behind the world’s slowest driver for one hundred miles.
But, as we said previously, you may only be a driver, but you’re an extension of whoever you’re delivering goods for. Even if it’s not officially said to you. So, when dropping off or picking up, try to be polite. We know the road can be frustrating, but that’s no reason to spread a negative Nora mood to others. At the end of the day, the people you encounter at depots are just doing their job, the same as you.
Of course, there are no rules about frowning. But try being courteous to other workers when you can. A smile goes a long way.
4. Pump Parking.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a new style of parking that you’ve not heard of.
Pump parking is when you hog a spot at a pumping or petrol station whilst you go about your business. Of course, there are times when you’ll need to fuel up your truck and you’ll pop into the shop for supplies. This is fine. Pump parking is when you park at a pump to go and shower, take care of paperwork, or do some other long-winded task.
The appropriate etiquette is to find the appropriate parking spot for your HGV before going about your business. This helps keep the pumps open to those who need them and keeps your truck out of the way. If you’re going to be more than a few minutes, park up properly and free up the pumps.
5. Help the New Guys.
We highly doubt you got your HGV licence by entering a competition.
Because of this, we believe it’s safe to assume that anyone who reads this started as a new professional driver. At some point, you were the new guys, perhaps seeking help or advice from the pros.
Of course, there’s no rule of the road that says you need to help other drivers. But, think back to when you were new and were in a pickle. Wouldn’t it have been nice if another driver had shared some knowledge or helped you out?
If you see a driver in need or doing something wrong, consider helping them out. If they’re parked at the roadside, make sure you park in a safe and suitable spot before helping another driver.
Generosity goes a long way. And, who knows, maybe they’ll have a spare pack of beef jerky to say thanks.
6. Respect Other Drivers.
An important part of road etiquette for any driver, but especially for truck drivers.
When you’re on the road it’s important to remember that, when driving a truck, your vehicle is large. Very large. And heavy. Because of this, many drivers will be wary or cautious around you. This can sometimes lead to mistakes or silly decisions on their behalf.
It’s important to remember to keep your head. As long as you follow the rules of the road, you’ll never be at fault.
But, be cautious and respect other drivers on the road.
7. Be Road Prepared.
The last rule that isn’t a rule of the road is to be road prepared.
This means many things. It means making sure you drive within your permitted hours and know which routes to follow. It also means that you have everything you need in your cab to do your job successfully. For a full list of essentials every truck driver needs, click here. For a list of the top 9 accessories for your truck in 2019, click here.
Also, if it’s safe to do so and a child makes the ‘honk the horn’ gesture from the next vehicle over, consider doing it. Of course, to do this, you must ensure it is 100% safe to do so before engaging. But, if it is safe, you can often make their day by doing so.
And there you have it, 7 truck driving polite practices and rules of the road.
As we previously mentioned, these are rules that are not laid down by the law. They are, however, often wanted and expected by other drivers. Following these will make your day-to-day job as a professional truck driver a much more enjoyable experience.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the road!