USA Truck driver Michael Thomasson offers up advice on pursuing a trucking career.
We are pleased to share with you the fourth and final part of our interview with USA Truck driver, Michael Thomasson. In the first part of our interview,we got to know more about Michael, in the second part of our interview he discussed the trucking industry & lifestyle, and in the third part of our interview he touched on truck driver training with Driver Solutions. In today's final part, Michael will offer advice for someone pursuing a truck driving career. We hope you've enjoyed this interview series as much as we've enjoyed putting to together!
Q: What advice do you have for someone looking to get into a truck driver career?
A: You have to be able to drive at anytime, day or night, to make your deliveries and pickups on time. Route planning and pickups are extremely important. You need to make sure you pick good highways; plan around rush hours to keep yourself moving. USA Truck now offers a GPS device to help you out with route planning but nothing beats checking the map yourself.
I encourage drivers to try to make all of their deliveries early if possible. This way it makes you and your company look good to the customer. The customer also usually appreciates getting the load on time. It’s all about building rapport with the companies. The better job you do, the more freight your company gets which means more miles and money in your pocket. You also have to make sure all your permits are up to date; all it takes for me is one phone call to Robin in permits department. She keeps me rolling.
You have to learn that without you the freight doesn’t get moved but without your dispatchers, you don't get the freight. Treat everyone you deal with in the utmost respect and that’s what you will get in return. Try to get to know the people you work with, your dispatcher can be your friend or enemy- it's whatever you make it. I remember when Brandon started working nights and now he's my boss.
You have to be able to take the good with the bad while you are out on the road. Never turn down a load because you don't want to go there. Pick it up, do your best with it, and be sure to keep dispatch advised of any delays. During that first year, you are going to need to adjust to life on the road and it’s not always going to be easy.
I tell everyone that safety is the number one concern out there. You need to be aware of what’s going on around you. If you don’t think you should do something because of the weather or you will unsafe – don’t do it…shut it down. It’s not worth the risk. With the new CSA regulations there is a big focus back to safety. Even it if takes time to get something fixed, you need to do it. Your CDL may depend on it. USA Truck tries to focus on safety, but it all depends on you.
Read part 1 of our interview with USA Truck Driver, Michael Thomasson
Read part 2 of our interview with USA Truck Driver, Michael Thomasson
Read part 3 of our interview with USA Truck Driver, Michael Thomasson
More about Michael:
Michael came through the Driver Solutions truck driver training program almost 7 years ago exactly (he remembers it was right before the 4th of July when he started school) and has been with USA Truck ever since. He is currently training new drivers for USA Truck and has been doing that for over 5 years. He prides himself on the low accident rate his students have after they get off his truck and next year he, himself, will hit his 1 million safe miles mark all with USA Truck!