These days, just about every adult in the UK has a driver’s licence, but driving for a living is very different from driving for personal commuting or pleasure.
Basically, it’ll be work and you will need to approach it as such if you want to be a success at it. With that in mind, here are some tips about what it takes to be a successful commercial driver.
All forms of commercial driving require some form of education/training. For example, taxi drivers have to learn the geography of their local area (even with sat nav, it’s not 100% reliable).
While HGV drivers need to know relevant safety procedures (which may include manual handling to help with loading and unloading their vehicle) and at least basic mechanics (to be able to take care of minor repairs themselves and reduce delays to their journey).
When it comes to commercial driving, time-management isn’t just about turning up to work on time (although this is obviously important), it’s about managing your time effectively, so that you remain on schedule throughout the entire period of your working day, which, in some areas of commercial driving can be very long.
For example, HGV drivers may work 12-14 hours a day while they are making deliveries and then have an extended spell of leave to recuperate.
Most commercial driving jobs involve some element of working with people. If you’re working as a taxi or bus driver (or as a private chauffeur) then you will have passengers.
If you are driving goods vehicles, such as HGVs, then you will be dealing with your control staff and also with the people who help to load and unload your vehicle (and possibly maintenance staff as well).
That said some commercial drivers also need the ability to be able to cope with long periods alone. This is particularly true of HGV drivers.
The ability to keep calm under pressure
Even on the best days, things can go wrong, and sometimes we all have “those days” when nothing seems to go right. This is particularly true of people who drive for a living since the UK’s roads are very crowded (as are the roads in many other European countries), which means that, quite bluntly, there is a lot of scope for becoming a victim of someone else’s incompetence, albeit usually only in a fairly minor way.
If you are the type of person who suffers from “road rage” then you will need to look for an alternative career, but if, by contrast, you are the type of person who can keep your cool in just about any situation and then you could become a highly-valued commercial driver.
The ability to keep your focus over long periods
Picking up from the above points, while some issues are unavoidable, many potential hazards/difficulties can be avoided (or at least minimized) if you keep your focus on the road at all times so as to give yourself the best chance of anticipating them.
Even if it doesn’t, keeping your situational awareness will vastly reduce the risk of you becoming a hazard to other road users.
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