So there are times when you will be blocking traffic and causing a small scene simply because those trucks are huge and streets aren't built to a size that easy for trucks to negotiate. They build streets just big enough for trucks, so we never have much room to work with. So be prepared to just relax, be patient, and realize that you are doing an incredible service for people by transporting their goods close to where they live so that they can quickly and easily get everything they need.
If we didn't do that for them, their lives would be much more difficult...so they'll just have to wait a few minutes for you to do what you need to do sometimes. Who cares if they get impatient? It's worth it to them, whether they realize it and appreciate it or not.
It takes a lot of patience and discipline at times also. People can't stand driving behind a big, slow truck so they will be pulling out in front of you, cutting you off, and flying around you on all sides pretty much every day. You have to have the discipline and patience to deal with this stuff on a regular basis.
You can't be getting mad, tail-gating people, and getting your nerves all worked up every time another driver does something you don't like. If you do, you're going to get in accidents. Not maybe – definitely. You're also going to age an extra year for every day you're on the road!
You also have to know where and when to draw the line with people. There will be times when people will try to push you into doing things you either shouldn't be doing, or aren't comfortable with. People like your dispatcher and the shippers and receivers will try to get you to run harder than you would like or push through bad weather sometimes.
The shippers may overload you sometimes, or try loading your truck in a way that's easier for them, but either dangerous or illegally unbalanced for you. Receivers will sometimes let you sit in the parking lot for hours until they feel like unloading you or until a shift change happens so the next shift can do it instead.
You will be pushed to your limits at times and you have to be able to stand up and and say, “look, I'm responsible for this truck if something goes wrong and this is how we're going to handle this situation.” You should learn to be firm when you need to, but humble and easy-going. DON'T turn every decision into a power struggle between you and them.
Relax, be calm, and work through whatever situation you are dealing with. Maybe the customers or your dispatcher won't be too pleased with the decision you've made, but believe me – if you let someone talk you into something and something goes wrong – you and you alone will be 100% responsible for it.
Everyone else will either deny talking you into it or claim ignorance to the situation at hand. No matter what, you make the final decision about handling your rig and remember that there is your career, your life, and the lives of others on the road at stake. Keep the big picture in mind and don't make a big mistake because you let yourself believe that the load you have is more important than your life and your career.