Being Helpful Doesn’t Hurt
By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm
Good old fashioned manners, words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ can go a long way in almost every situation. When you drive a truck you are working with dispatchers, shippers, receivers, truck stop employees, and other drivers. A good attitude can go a long way. Getting along with the people you work with and are around every day will make life on the road easier and more enjoyable.
Being a courteous driver doesn’t cost you a thing, but the rewards you can reap are enormous. I was at a dock recently where a driver was struggling to back in next to me, so I got out of my truck and went over to help him. I was more than happy to do this as he was aimed at my hood, but would have, in fact we both have, done this on many other occasions even when my own truck wasn’t in jeopardy. It’s the right thing to do. Don’t just sit there and watch someone back into somebody else when you could get out and help. The hood you save could be your own!
We always appreciate it when someone helps us and are happy to do the same. So many loading dock and parking lot accidents are preventable. G.O.A.L. Get Out And Look!!! If you don’t have someone there to help watch for you, set your brakes and Get Out And Look! If you have a co-driver you can carry a walkie-talkie set to an off channel and communicate with each other without having to be able to see them. This is a useful tool for any team.
Speaking of loading docks, shippers and receivers have quite a bit of power over your immediate life. Going into their office with a bad attitude won’t get you in or out of there any sooner, in fact, more than likely the opposite will occur. Be as pleasant and courteous as possible in order to achieve the results you need. As frustrating as it is, be nice, then, when you get loaded or empty, go out into the quiet privacy of your own truck and holler at the walls.
Flashing bright lights when another big truck passes is a former courtesy that has turned into an annoying and dangerous habit of late. This started by the quick turning off, then on again of headlights during nighttime to let that passing driver know he/she had cleared you and was able to come on back over into the travel lane. This morphed into bright lights partially because of the daytime running lights and partially because of the changed handles for turning headlights on and off. The problem with this practice is that it blinds the driver as they look in their side mirror – – yikes! This is not safe at all, so can we all agree to stop doing this? Thanks!
You know how much you appreciate it when somebody lets you over, or stops a line of traffic to let you pull out, or even waits behind the white line so you can get around the corner? Be THAT driver. The more of us that do this, maybe the more of us WILL DO THIS. Maybe we can start a new movement of driver courtesy, help a new generation develop these positive habits.
It’s been said for years that people are quick to complain and not nearly as quick to thank someone. When you go out of your way to be nice, it really does rub off and people are nicer to you. Share some of your hard learned lessons with younger drivers, you might be able to help them avoid some of the grief you suffered.
Stay safe out there and Keep it Shiny!
Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.