Is the kind of truck you drive an important factor as a driver in your trucking career? The answer to this question will be different for everyone and the importance will range from super important to those that really don’t care. With all the talk about autonomous vehicles you wonder if the driver cares at all?
Depending on where you are in your career and the length of time you have been driving will determine the importance of a truck to you. A truck to many drivers especially those operating in the long haul category will be more important than someone operating in a city delivery operation. A truck to many of us is a home, one that we spend many days, months, and years in doing everything from driving to sleeping and more. It is a home and many of us want it as comfortable as possible.
Then there is the “good looks” machine category. With an industry that is still very much male dominated, cars, trucks, and machines in general are all about looking good. Fancy trucks have been part of the industry from day one and a good looking truck still turns heads and offers a feeling glamour while on the road to this day. Go to any truck show or roll down any highway and you will see trucks that shine and are decked out attracting looks from anyone in the area.
Trucks have been even part of the promotions landscape at many companies and some still operate this way today. The truck you drove with a fleet was a status symbol in the old days. When you started with a fleet you normally would get the older unit in the yard. As the company gained confidence in you they would offer you a nicer truck as drivers moved on or the carrier bought new equipment. After a few years you would be getting new trucks on a regular basis and may even have a say as to what type of options were included. This is when you knew you were at the top of your game. The truck was your promotion as many times increase in pay couldn’t happen. Getting a nicer truck than your colleagues meant that the company valued your performance and recognized you as a professional driver in the fleet.
So the truck has been a very important part of a driver’s career for many reasons. You may be thinking to yourself that those are nice reasons for caring about a truck but they are not a requirement for safety. You may be correct but let me introduce to you another component, your body! A properly sized comfortable truck can make a huge difference in how your body handles life on the road and how safe you are on the roads.
Many drivers had back problems before they improved the seats over the years making them more comfortable and able to remove the shock from the road through your body. Some drivers have even had leg problems from not being able to adjust the seat properly in smaller cab styles. Comfort plays a huge part in how long someone can drive and how productive they are on the road. Obviously the comfort of a truck is still very important to the driver as Volvo has just announced their VNL series with many new comfort features based on information received from drivers.
So when going to work for carriers take into account the truck. It will be your home, your income generator, and your status in the company. You want it to be safe, comfortable, and look good. It will surprise you how it changes the way you feel and the way you drive when you have a nice looking comfortable truck. Over a 25 year career it can have a factor in lifestyle and health so do take into account the type of equipment of a carrier. The truck is a major factor in your career as a professional driver, take it seriously.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com