Things to day are quite different than they were years ago in the transportation industry. For instance more items are going electronic, you now have to be a smart cookie to handle a big rig and keep up on all the regulations for being in compliance, but some people for whatever reason just don’t seem to get it when they start on with a new company. Nowadays they have a way to test for much of the practical knowledge required for the position of commercial driver, but some companies are still taking your word that you know what you are doing.
You know what I am talking about, the guy who comes in to the job claiming he has done it all under the sun from flatbed to reefer, and steel, but is only 22 years old. Of the guy who feels he is too cool to listen to the trainer and doesn’t listen to the instructions in case something new is required when loading. There are many of these types out there and I have seen many come and go in my time at the wheel. If you watch them closely you will find that they don’t really know what they are doing and usually will screw up with a load in a very short time because they didn’t listen when being told how to do the job. That is why so many companies have started training programs so people won’t get into trouble in there first few weeks of employment. Those are the people that give the industry a bad name and I am not saying that things can’t happen but as a professional driver it is your job to make sure that you have done everything to the best of your abilities in securing your load or operating in a safe manner.
So what is the best course of action to making sure you are working at your best. The first part is to know what you should be doing, know the regulations, and have the proper equipment to get the job done. Be organized, this is a big one with me, you have to keep an eye on your equipment and know what is becoming too worn to do the job and what is ready for replacing. Being organized not only helps you track your equipment but also makes you look much more professional in front of the shippers and receivers. Have you ever seen a driver that looked like he had to unload his truck before beginning to load because he kept it such a mess, I have? If you are required to use a certain amount of straps for your load, but feel it would be safer with an extra one go ahead and use it. I have never seen anyone given a ticket for going beyond the regulations to be safe. The same thing goes for checking your load, if getting that load down the road safely requires that you stop a little bit more to make sure it is safe then do that. It doesn’t matter if you are only required to stop once. Leadership means stepping up to the plate and being a professional can mean the difference between saving lives and staying employed.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a business and leadership consultant for the transportation industry. Information on his courses can be found on his website and blog at www.outridge.ca