Logistics Professional Development

The Difference Between Truck Drivers and Professional Truckers

Written by Miranda Pennington

Expert TruckerMike over at the TruckingTruth has some advice for aspiring drivers—step up your game! Anybody who can afford a rig can call themselves a trucker, but there are specialized skills that only the professionals can really boast.

It’s all about the driving. Can you back your truck into a space invisible to the naked eye? Can you handle city driving, highway traffic, and the range of capable and hapless drivers you’ll encounter along the way? They won’t all be polite, and they won’t all be respectful, but you’ll have to hand the stress with aplomb and professionalism.

According to TruckerMike, being a “professional driver” is all about control—the truck is only the vehicle he’s using at the time. So whether you’re behind the wheel of a passenger van or an 18 wheeler, let go of the egotistical idea that you have anything to prove by speeding, cutting someone off, yammering on your radio, or tailgating. Instead, learn how to keep your cool. The right response to someone else’s road aggression is slowing down, letting the neighboring hothead pass, and maintaining a safe driving distance.

Any driver can have a bad day—sure, you might lose your temper or make a reckless driving decision—but a true professional knows not to try to enforce the safe driving of others and not to view himself as the road mayor of the traffic’s flow or density.

About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.