Whether you are just starting a career as an over-the-road truck driver or are a seasoned hauler looking to advance your career, setting goals can help you improve your skills and stand out from your peers. Combining your personal desires with industry standards can help you create objectives that are both valuable and attainable.
Mileage goals can be an effective incentive that also helps you earn more. Your personal objective depends largely on the type of job you have and the number of miles already under your belt. For instance, if you are a new long-haul trucker, you might aim for 2,000 miles a week. If you run local routes, your goal will probably be considerably less, though you should still have an industry benchmark to aim for or exceed. Veteran drivers might set larger long-term goals, such as 150,000 logged by the end of the year.
One goal you should always strive for is a superior safety record. Work toward this goal before you get behind the wheel by performing thorough pre-trip inspections to ensure your truck is in good working order. Keep accurate logs to avoid driving longer than you should. This can help ensure that you don't spend too much time driving while tired and also help you avoid costly penalties for hours of service violations. In addition, your commitment to safety can result in company-provided bonuses and better job offers. Make it a point to obey traffic laws and employ best driving practices on every route to improve your safety and accountability scores.
Whether you are a team driver or solo driver, your goals should include improving your communication skills, learning to compromise and developing better teamwork practices. Learning to express yourself more effectively, and learning to become an active listener, can help you avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication with your driver manager, other drivers and customers.
Learning and employing better time management skills is an objective that can help truckers reach some of their other goals. Drivers who learn to make the most of both on- and off-duty time will be better prepared to meet deadlines and appointments, get adequate rest and improve their work/life balance. They should also see an improvement in key industry metrics such as on-time pickups and deliveries. This in turn can help them get the miles they want, stay safe on the job and respond more effectively to the people in their work and home lives.