It’s time to stop allowing the negative stereotypes that surround lorry drivers to put off those considering a career in haulage. In other words, it’s time to separate fact from fiction. Let’s prove, once and for all, that this profession requires skill, consideration and dedication.
As a first step, we’ve outlined the six most important qualities of a good lorry driver, in the real world, not in fantasy. So, do you have what it takes to be an A-class driver?
A top driver has to have all five senses working to their ultimate ability, always alert to the vehicle’s performance, and also to their own. If you’ve got a keen eye and excellent reaction times, this could well be the job for you.
Do long days alone at the wheel sound appealing to you, or like your worst nightmare? An ability to work by oneself, manage one’s own time, and work through decisions is make or break when it comes to a successful career in haulage. Furthermore, a driver can often be responsible for their own schedule, making it essential they can develop a good work-life balance using their own initiative.
Although commercial driving doesn’t match most people’s idea of an active career, in haulage jobs, physical fitness is a must. Not only does a driver spend extensive time on the road, without the usual routine of a 9-5, they are also often responsible for lifting heavy loads.
If you’re serious about a career in haulage, reliability needs to be written into your DNA. Customers expect punctuality and smooth service at all times, so it is absolutely essential that the driver is able to establish a viable schedule and stick to it. Moreover, a client needs to know they can trust the driver to set a fair price, one that reflects the service offered rather than a desire for a quick profit.
Having said that a driver needs to be comfortable spending time on their own, it’s also vital to stress the importance of people skills. Drivers must be able to interact and communicate, both face-to-face and remotely, with a wide range of individuals: clients, fellow drivers and port officials, to name a few.
Ticks the Boxes
Last, but by no means least, a prospective candidate needs an excellent driving record and a valid Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) Licence, which requires different, more specialised tests than your standard qualification. Drivers also tend to pursue other qualifications and skills once they get started, to give their career trajectory that extra boost.
A career in haulage requires a very particular and very well-honed set of skills, alongside various characteristics and traits. Any long-term industry professional would recommend someone who fits these six criteria to think seriously about this fulfilling, worthwhile career.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange is the leading service for matching haulage jobs with available vehicles. They also provide expert articles on making a career in haulage and other freight industry related topics. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.