Some people think that driving a truck across Australia is a very simple job that anybody could do. They think it only takes a minimum amount of training and after that it's simply a case of sitting behind the wheel and watching those miles tick by. Yet this is very wide of the mark. In order to become a professional truck driver, you will need a variety of different physical and mental strengths and skills.
Not everybody is cut out for this type of profession and you really need to be dedicated, if you're going to make it through. While training is essential, you need to assess whether you have the right traits before you embark. What are some of the key skills that you need, if you're going to make it?
Firstly, you need to have an independent personality. You must be not only able, but perfectly happy to work by yourself and make various decisions on your own. Certainly, you will receive instructions from management with regard to your load and your destination, but when you're out there, you're often on your own. If you come across issues, perhaps a deflated tyre or an unexpected road closure, you've got to know what to do and be able to do it promptly.
Certified in Safety
You've got to be very cognisant about safety. The truck that you're driving is a very large and heavy vehicle and you have to make sure that it is ready for the trip before you leave. Pre-and post-trip inspections are crucial and you have to be proactive in suggesting any issues to the maintenance people, as soon as you come across them.
Diligent with Paperwork
You don't have to be a bookworm, but you have to be able to keep detailed records. These will include invoices, receipts, transactions and the all-important logbooks. Driving time is heavily regulated and you must never fall foul of this particular area.
Driving a heavy vehicle is not only mentally, but physically demanding. You have to be a very fit person and don't forget that you may also have to carry heavy products, when loading or unloading the vehicle.
Good Communication Skills
You have to be a good communicator. Not only will you have to deal with clients, but you will have to convey different pieces of information to dispatchers, management, officials or police officers. You have to have a good phone manner and be perfectly at ease in dealing with people in all situations.
Finally, sooner or later you're going to come across a breakdown and will need to have a reasonable amount of mechanical aptitude in order to fix things.
Are You Ready to Apply?
So, before you enrol in training to complete your medium or heavy rigid truck training, ensure that you have all of these skills and strengths on your side.