What it Takes to be a Truck Driver
8 Oct 2015

What it Takes to be a Truck Driver

Do you wonder what it takes to be a trucker? Are you cut out for it, here are a few things you may want to think about.

What it takes to be a Truck Driver, the basics

There are some questions you must answer for yourself, the following are just some of the things to help you decide if you have what it takes to be a truck driver.

Why do you want to be a truck driver?

Driving a truck is NOT for everyone. There are a few common characteristics that bode well for success in the trucking industry.


You’ve got to like to drive.

While this may sound pretty basic, it really is an essential requirement.   If you get bored driving to the store, or need to stop every 30 minutes, then you might want to look at other careers.


You need a lot of patience.

There’s a lot of sitting around and waiting involved — in loading docks, traffic, truck stops, etc. Lack of patience can cause serious problems.


You need to be *extremely* safety oriented.

Trucks are NOT just oversized cars.  They’re heavy equipment, and can quite easily kill you or someone else.  Even small things can turn around and bite you.


You have to be comfortable being alone for long periods.

This may sound simple — but many people just can’t stand being alone. If you need to have someone to talk to team driving may work for a while but knowing your tolerance for isolation will be key to whether a life on the road is right for you.


You have to be a self-starter with a good work ethic.

Out on the road, there’s no boss standing over you with a stick.  You’ve got to get up and move the freight down the road under your own power. You also have to be ready to think you way out of unusual situations-you are out there on your own. Hours can be very long — 12 to 14 hour workdays are common.


You need to be in reasonable physical condition.

You don’t need to be a bodybuilder, weightlifter, or any kind of jock.  Average physical ability is enough.  You’ll be climbing around the equipment, moving freight, coupling and uncoupling trailers. Keeping in shape is also challenging but if you have what it takes to be a truck driver you will find a way.


You need to be drug and alcohol free.

You’ll be taking pre-employment, and thereafter random drug and alcohol tests.  If you’re involved in a crash (even if it’s not your fault) you’ll also be tested.  A positive test, or refusal to test, is the absolute kiss of death in the industry.


You need a clean driving record.

Any crash involving a truck is *really* expensive. Trucking companies want to reduce their liability exposure as much as possible.  If you have a lot of tickets, you’re going to have a tough time getting a job.  Certain offenses are the absolute kiss of death — any dui, evasion, or felony, and you can forget it.  Other moving violations, it depends on the type and number, and how recent they are, and the insurance provider for the company you’re applying to.


If you don’t meet *all* of the criteria above, then do yourself a favor and look elsewhere for employment.  You may be able to get someone to hire and train you, but it’s a waste of time, since you won’t last.  You’ll either quit, or get fired. So hopefully this will help you decide if you’ve got what it takes to be a truck driver.