7 Qualities of Great Truck Drivers

7 Qualities of a Successful Truck Driver - Woman driving an eighteen wheeler
Truck driver leaning out the driver’s side window.

There’s a reason the demand for truck drivers is at an all-time high. To be successful today, a trucker needs the right combination of driving skills, experience, and personality traits. The expectations of the transportation industry are reaching new levels. So too, are the expectations of what carriers are looking for in truck drivers. Here are the 7 qualities of great truck drivers today:

1. Safety First

Safety is the ultimate priority of every truck driver, regardless of which carrier employs them. The job demands a watchful eye on preventing potentially dangerous situations. Successful truck drivers know how to keep themselves, the truck, loads, and other vehicles safe.

Safety all starts with the truck driver and how he or she takes care of themselves. The road demands truckers get the required amount of rest combined with a healthy diet. Obeying speed limits, wearing a seat belt, and maintaining proper distance between vehicles are actions successful truck drivers do every run. Because road conditions are major safety factors, staying on top of changing weather conditions with weather apps is paramount. Successful truckers know where the rig’s blind spots are and avoid cell phone use.

2. Committed to Communication

Like most jobs, communication is the key to success. A truck driver’s ability to keep the team members up to date on what’s happening on the road separates the professionals from the rest. If a load is not picked up or delivered on time, a professional truck driver communicates immediately. Keeping dispatchers in the loop is vital to a successful career in the transportation industry. Truck drivers also interact with customers, clients, lot security officers, and a host of people when delivering loads. Great drivers understand how a driver who communicates with those around them reflects on the carrier.

Good truck drivers also realize it’s important to communicate with family and friends. Life on the road is a wonderful career choice. Staying in touch with loved ones is an important factor in a truck driver’s quality of life.

3. Does the Right Thing

One of the big draws to life on the road, is truckers are often left alone to do the job. Professional truck drivers do the right thing when no one is looking. Honesty is a key component to a successful truck driving career. Always be truthful.  It’s easy to say you’re safe on the road. It’s another thing to make sure safety checks are complete before the truck is moving again. Doing the right thing also includes displaying courtesy. Great truck drivers help other drivers or motorists in need, even if that means a delay in load delivery time.

4. Comfortable with Change

The one thing constant in the transportation industry is change. All aspects of the job change regularly. The area changing the most is technology and equipment. From smartphone apps for traffic, weather, and rest areas – to the introduction of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), truckers are being asked to roll with the changes faster than ever before. Add new laws and DOT regulations, new company procedures, the successful professional truck drivers, accept and adapt to the transportation industry changes.

5. Respectful

Truck drivers operating on the highest level, respect the industry that pays them. Pros understanding everyone in transportation has a job to do to keep the machine turning. Established truckers have a desire to work together to complete on-time and safe deliveries. Respecting the industry includes treating everyone in the system with kindness and appreciation. Although truckers are often alone, it takes a team for them to receive a paycheck. Dispatchers, Maintenance Techs, HR/Payroll, Lumpers, Receivers, and Terminal Managers play important roles in becoming a great truck driver.

6. Positive Attitude

Driving a truck for a living is often challenging. Every day isn’t the greatest day to be a trucker. Bad weather, equipment issues, a slow off-load, or something happening at home can all affect a truck driver’s mood. The best truck drivers spread positivity, even when it’s easier to be grumpy, mean, or mean-spirited. Maintain optimism about situations and interactions on the road for long-term success.

7. Details Focused

In many ways, a truck driving career is part art and part science. One of the most sought-after traits of today’s truckers is understanding job requirements and procedures at a high level. Being a truck driver is a lot like being an air traffic controller. A million little things need to go right to deliver a load on time and safely.

Among other things, great truck drivers must navigate DOT Hours of service, satellite communications from load acceptance to delivery, accident reporting and procedures, on-time pick-up or delivery delay communication, equipment knowledge, and troubleshooting – not to mention dealing with traffic situations on America’s busiest roads. Truckers who have mastered the details are operating at the highest level.


Truck drivers looking for a career in the transportation industry know the wheel time delivers the skills and experience. It’s the intangible qualities and emotional intelligence that are the keys to long-term success as a trucker. If you have the 7 qualities of a great truck driver, Barr-Nunn Transportation is interested in talking to you about open driver positions.

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