On every highway in the United States, big rig drivers transport goods great distances to waiting warehouses, manufacturers and retail stores. As you pull up alongside one of these behemoths, it might seem like being a professional driver involves little more than knowing how to drive a big vehicle.
But that’s not the case. It takes skill and experience to be a commercial driver. Truckers learn a lot from their time on the road, and a lot of what they learn applies to living life in general.
Here are five life lessons learned from truckers.
Know your Blind Spots
Big rigs have huge blind spots, and although the back of most commercial trailers display signs warning other drivers of them, those warnings aren’t always heeded. Truckers have to know where their blind spots are and how to work around them when they’re on the road or pulling up to a loading bay.
We all have blind spots — from our children’s misdeeds to the quality of our own work. Knowing your blind spots can help you work around them and become the person you want to be.
Don’t Idle — it’s Wasteful
Idling in a big rig wastes about a gallon of fuel per hour. Though that might seem like a piddling amount for a single truck, 1.1 billion gallons of diesel fuel are wasted by idling trucks each year in the United States.
At home, staying idle is so much easier than staying active, but in the end, you’ll look back on that time and feel it was wasted. Feel better about yourself by getting up and getting things done. Remember: Relaxation time doesn’t mean do-nothing time; there are plenty of relaxing yet productive activities you can engage in, from book reading (or writing!) to woodworking.
When truckers set off for a 1,000-mile trek across country, they don’t just hop into the cab and go. Instead, they stock up with (hopefully healthy) food, audio tapes or CDs, maps (even paper ones), extra clothes and all the other things they’ll need to make it through the days ahead. They also pack flares, a first aid kit and other emergency items in case something goes awry.
Being prepared isn’t just for Boy Scouts and truckers. Whether you’re preparing for the SAT, gearing up for a job interview or getting ready to pilot a 747, remember that success doesn’t happen by accident. Keep looking forward, anticipating your needs and planning for emergencies.