The NUMBER ONE requirement for OTR driving

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by tuckerndfw, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. tuckerndfw

    tuckerndfw Light Load Member

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    I've read various comments about what it takes to be a successful OTR driver and the number one requirement is you better be tough.

    I don't mean physically tough, I mean mentally tough. Physically helps, but it's optional.

    If you have to have mommy, daddy, brother, sister or whomever holding your hand, you have no business even considering being an OTR driver.

    Life on the road is very demanding and it is very hard, both physically and mentally. The mental part is quite often far worse than the physical part.

    And, if you need someone else to hold your hand to make it through life, you have no business being in a truck or on the road. You are going to not only be very miserable, you are probably not going to last very long.

    Despite rumors and myths to the contrary, for the most part, it is a very cut-throat business and the driver sitting next to you is just as likely to steal your truck as he is to help you. And, the last thing he cares about are your problems since he has problems of his own he is dealing with.

    If you ain't mentally tough, you ain't gonna make it.

    It's just that simple.
     
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  3. Ken Worth

    Ken Worth Medium Load Member

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    You're probably one of the old cowboys NDFW. You're probably out there on your own, but it seems like some of these companies tell the driver every move to make. Still, you're right, you better have your wits about you.
     
  4. tuckerndfw

    tuckerndfw Light Load Member

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    Ken,

    An OTR driver spends hours & hours all alone for days, weeks or even months at a time.

    That, all by itself, is more than some people can handle.

    But, then you have to deal with lousy drivers, lousy roads, lousy weather, cops who are little more than tax collectors, equipment that may be on its last legs, and the list could go on for pages.

    If a person cannot handle adversity without relying on someone to help him, then he is not cut out to be an OTR driver. And, it requires mental toughness to handle that kind of life without going completely berserk. Which I've seen drivers do on several occasions, especially at shippers/receivers & truckstops.

    By "help him," I'm referring to having someone to talk to that will empathize with you and give you the chance to vent your frustrations, such as a parent, spouse, or other close relative. Which some drivers use their dispatcher for, but it's usually a poor substitute.

    They just couldn't handle it.

    Many trucking companies keep their office personnel behind locked doors because they don't want some out of control driver who's gone off the deep end coming in and killing everyone (which has been known to happen).

    Mental toughness is an absolute requirement for anyone who intends to be an OTR driver, regardless who he works for.
     
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  5. chompi

    chompi Road Train Member

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    definitely takes a very strong minded disciplined individual.
     
  6. Snowman&Fred

    Snowman&Fred Light Load Member

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    Well 'going postal' isnt unique to the truck driving industry. It happens in every profession. It is because society has deteriorated so much, that everyone blames everyone else for their own personal problems. Compare us as a whole NOW, and in 1970. It is like two totally different worlds.

    If you're impatient in a 4-wheeler, easily have 'road rage', you also have no business behind a 40 ton vehicle.
     
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  7. Socy Grad

    Socy Grad Medium Load Member

    :biggrin_2559:
     
  8. Ducks

    Ducks "Token Four-Wheeler"

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    May I add that the successful OTR drivers that I know are either single or have spouses/significant others that are equally as mentally tough and emotionally strong. Not a weak or needy spouse in the bunch.
     
  9. Truckerjo

    Truckerjo Road Train Member

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    I would say number 1 would be your attitude..... if you have a good attitude then the rest should fall into place...
     
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  10. Snowman&Fred

    Snowman&Fred Light Load Member

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    Cannot say it better myself. As for the 'being single' part, I fit that bill too. Granted I've been seeing the same gal for the last 6 months, and already told me that she cannot do the long distance thing. Which is fine, but atleast we know where we both stand. I have to look out for my bottom line, regardless who might be in my life. It wouldn't be fair to me to say "okay, i'll find a better paying job closer to home", and it wouldn't be fair to her, to go OTR and hope she can cope.

    Having a good additude and BEING HONEST about everything you do, is a good start to OTR driving.
     
  11. tuckerndfw

    tuckerndfw Light Load Member

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    I agree that a good attitude is very helpful but attitude is quite often totally dependent on circumstances. Many of which are beyond our control.

    If you can maintain a good attitude while enduring the stresses of an OTR trucker's life, then I would consider you mentally tough. If takes a strong will (mental toughness) to totally ignore all the adversities an OTR driver routinely encounters.

    The fact is that until a person actually goes out on the road all by himself and does it for himself, he cannot possibly begin to understand how stressful the job really is. It cannot be explained, it can only be experienced.

    And, it is nothing like a vacation or touring by bus, car, pickup or whatever. No similarity whatsoever. (other than riding down the highway)

    I sincerely hope all new drivers do very well and find a job that allows them to be happy, satisfied, professional drivers. The LAST thing I want is for someone to be out on the road full of hostility and anger driving anything, especially a big truck.

    But, if you aren't mentally tough (strong willed, highly self-disciplined, etc.) you aren't going to be a happy, successful OTR driver regardless who you work for.
     
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