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Trucker Etiquette: Unwritten Rules Of the Road

Without the right attitude and manners, you won’t get far as a driver. Follow our tips so you can have good trucker etiquette.

By

Jacob Lee
May 25, 2022
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Having good trucker etiquette is very important for any driver. When you’re on the road, you’re always going to be sharing it with the drivers around you. Being courteous to those around you is not only the right thing to do, but it will keep you and other people on the road safe. 

Some good trucker etiquette that you should follow when you’re making your way down the road are:

  1. Maintain safe passing distance between you and other vehicles
  2. Use the far left lane sparingly
  3. Give drivers merging onto the highway space
  4. Complete routine inspection of your vehicle before you take off
  5. Stay calm at the loading dock

These rules along with a few others will ensure your trucker etiquette is always on point. 

1. Maintain Safe Passing Distance Between You and Other Vehicles

As any truck driver knows, your vehicle and the freight you’re hauling is heavy and takes up a lot of space. Therefore, when you’re passing another trucker or vehicle, you need to make sure you have a safe amount of distance between you and them. 

The best thing you can do to ensure that you have space between you and the vehicles your passing is to keep 200 feet of space between the rear of you’re truck or trailer and the front of the vehicle you're passing. Clearly, you can’t get out of your truck and measure the distance between yourself and the vehicle you want to pass. 

Fortunately, as a driver you’ve more than likely gained a feel for how long your truck is. You can use that, along with your mirrors, to create enough distance between you and the vehicle you’re passing. When you do make the pass, don’t forget to put your turn signal on. 

2. Know Passing Lane Laws By State

The passing lane on three-lane highways is on the far left side. Some states allow semi-trucks to utilize this lane to pass, while other states forbid the use of the lane altogether. To avoid any trouble with a state’s DOT, it’s best to know the traffic laws of the state you’re traveling through. 

If you usually drive to destinations within one state, then you’re probably familiar with these laws. However, if you’re driving across multiple states, do some homework before your journey so you know what the laws are regarding the passing lane. 

3. Give Merging Drivers the Room They Need

On ramps in the U.S. tend to be pretty short. This leaves only so much time for drivers to accelerate onto the highway. One courteous thing that you can do to help these drivers out is to give them some room to merge onto the highway. Something as simple as this will help the driver out and may even prevent a car accident. 

4. Inspect Your Vehicle Every Time Before You Take Off Again

A driver showing good trucker etiquette by inspecting their vehicle

Something that is often overlooked about truck driving is the amount of care you have to give your vehicle. To make sure your truck is in working order, you should always complete a routine inspection of it whenever you find a place to stop. 

Some truckers complete inspections at fuel islands while they’re filling their truck with gas. You can do the same, but only if you know it’s going to take a few minutes before your truck is filled up all the way. 

5. Stay Calm At the Loading Dock

One of the worst experiences truck drivers can have is when they’re waiting for their truck to be loaded. This process can take a long time, which will only add to whatever frustrations you already have from the day's events.

Something like this will happen to you at some point in your truck driving career. The best course of action you can take in a situation like this is to stay calm and quiet. Unless the freight is being loaded onto your trailer at an extremely low rate, take whatever complaints you have with the shipper to your boss.

Our article on ways to manage truck driver stress will help you stay calm at the loading dock and while you’re on the road. 

6. Have Paperwork Ready

Whether you're picking up a load or dropping one-off, always make sure that you have your paperwork ready. Getting yourself back on the open road is almost always a truck driver’s number one priority when they stop. Having your paperwork ready when you pull up to a loading dock will allow dock workers to start loading or unloading you more quickly. 

Check out our article on truck driver paperwork organizer tricks that will keep your papers together when you get to a loading dock.

7. Take Care Of Your Pallet Jack

Palletized freight on top of a pallet jack

If you’re a driver that has to load and unload their freight when they make a delivery, chances are you have a pallet jack. This vital piece of equipment makes moving and unloading pallets much easier than it would be to do it yourself.  

The last thing you need is for your pallet jack to malfunction or not work. That’s why you need to maintain your pallet jack's health. A few ways to keep your pallet jack in working order are to: 

  • Oil it
  • Clean and replace wheels as needed
  • Use the pallet correctly
  • Check and maintain the health of the chain

8. Pay Attention While On the Road

One of the most important parts of trucker etiquette is paying attention while you’re out on the road. Unfortunately, there are quite a few careless drivers out on the road.

Therefore, you have to constantly drive defensively and never assume people are doing their part to pay attention to what's around them. Staying aware of the vehicles around you is also essential. One wrong move could cause an accident that could injure yourself and others. 

9. Don’t Abuse the CB Radio

Sometimes, certain truck drivers will take advantage of the CB radio by rambling on about unnecessary topics that have nothing to do with truck driving. This is an annoyance for every other driver that has to listen to them. Instead of being like one of these drivers, only use your radio when you have something important to communicate. 

Start Your ABCO Application Today

If you’re ready to start working for a trucking company that cares about its drivers, then look no further than ABCO. Truckers who drive for us have access to numerous perks. For one, ABCO drivers have an extremely flexible schedule. 

Our drivers can make ample amounts of money on the road, while also being able to maintain a personal life when they come home. In addition to flexibility, the starting salary for our drivers is $67,000 a year and can be higher depending on how much experience you have. 

Continue your truck driving career with ABCO by filling out your application today. 

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