In Europe, the transport sector employs over 11 million people, equal to the population of Greece! Among the many categories of professional drivers, the most well-known is the truck driver. While driving trucks is their main activity, drivers are not simply chauffeurs. From often complex administrative tasks to trade missions, truck drivers must have good interpersonal and organizational skills. So, employers in the sector rank the activities of their drivers according to a ranking in which people skills are the majority:
- Driving skills
- Respect for the equipment
- Guaranteeing customer satisfaction
- Establishing a positive relationship with customers
- Listening to the customer
- Informing the customer in a professional and detailed manner
On a daily basis, it is important to be able to juggle often contradictory constraints to reconcile speed, profitability and security in a changing legal environment. To summaries, it’s a complete career, often done with passion where you need to be multi-skilled and also able to adapt, especially to the digital tools that are playing an increasingly important role.
The five main qualities of a good truck driver
Know the field and its constraints
Drivers who want to become more professional must be aware of the full commitment required by the profession.
Working long hours on the road can prove exhausting. In theory, European law dictates that drivers should take a 45-minute break after driving 4 and a half hours. Driving time cannot exceed 56 hours a week, and 90 hours across two weeks. In reality, this regulation is adhered to for the most part, yet exceptions can lead to working longer hours, such as the weather and difficulty finding a place to rest. What is more, the driving conditions due to traffic or the weather can increase levels of fatigue. Even following legal requirements, the job is therefore physically demanding.
This is why a good driver must have a healthy lifestyle. Physical exercise, rest and a healthy diet are crucial to short and long-term health.
Have the required qualifications and licenses
Several training routes exist to become a truck driver – they are mandatory, and the path chosen to get there should be the one best suited to each person’s career plan.
So, after obtaining their HGV license, the driver must choose one of the following:
- Initial obligatory minimal training (FIMO): obligatory for vehicles with a load over 3.5 tons.
- CAP qualification for freight truck drivers,
- Professional baccalaureate for freight truck drivers,
- Professional title of All-Vehicle Road Freight Driver (CTRMV)
- Professional title of Transporter Freight Driver (CTRMP),
- Professional title of Light Utility Vehicle Delivery Driver (CLVUL),
- Special training in transportation of dangerous goods.
Be organized, disciplined and independent
Drivers are the main ambassadors for their company.
Because they are the intermediary between the sender and the receiver, they have to meet many expectations regarding deadlines and quality of service. On the road, they are responsible for their driving and their goods in a contract of trust between their employer and their customers. Rigorously adhering to delivery deadlines, the drivers who comply with proper rules of conduct give a positive image of their company and help promote it within the zone it covers, whether local, national or international.
Be vigilant, careful and responsible
Working long hours on the road with deadlines to meet can become tiring and decrease alertness and even lead to risky behavior. Driving heavy loads with freight weighing several tons poses both a risk to others and to oneself if care is not taken. This is why it is always better to be a prudent driver rather than a hasty driver. The application of safety rules is a skill regularly expected in job offers in the sector.
Adapt to tools and situations
Drivers must stand out by being multi-skilled. They must be capable of adapting to very different types of road, from country roads to cross-border motorways in constantly changing weather conditions.
They must also be able to deal with digital tools – telematics in particular – which are used on a daily basis and will become increasingly common in years to come.