Truck Driver Self-evaluation

Trucker driving competency do’s and don’ts

For many veteran truck drivers and experienced owner-operators who have been around trucking all their lives, this may seem second nature to them. For others who are just starting out, truck driving is not as easy as it looks. Here are some do’s and don’ts for truck drivers.


Drivers who show competency will do the following:

1. Road awareness (Scans roads regularly)
Scans the roadway and traffic conditions in front, beside and behind on a regular basis of about 5 to 10 seconds

2. Anticipates & reacts to conditions
Notices conditions that may require a change in speed or lane position and adjusts smoothly

3. Track vehicles, check blind spots
Checks blind spots regularly and tracks vehicles entering and leaving blind spots

4. Monitor vehicle
Scans the instrument panel at regular intervals of about 10 to 30 seconds

5. Drives courteously
Recognizes their responsibilities for sharing a workplace with the public

6. Manage speed and distance
Manages speed and following distance to allow adequate time to observe, react and maneuver vehicle if necessary

7. Road and lane position
Selects the correct lane and stays near the center of the lane
Drives in the right-most unless there is an obstruction or other need to move over

8.  Obeys signs and markings
Pays attention to road signs and pavement markings

9. Integrate with traffic
Avoids blocking other vehicles and operates at an appropriate speed

10. Smooth operation
Operates vehicle controls smoothly. Operates clutch, selects gears correctly and shifts smoothly


Drivers who DO NOT show competency will do the following:

1. Fails to observe and monitor
Doesn’t conduct adequate checks of conditions in front, beside or behind. Fails to notice conditions or hazards

2. Does not react to conditions
Reacts too late to changing conditions or over-reacts to changing conditions.

3. Does not monitor blind spots
Is not aware of or fails to check blind spots regularly. Fails to adequately track vehicles in blind spots.

4. Fails to check vehicle & controls
Doesn’t conduct adequate checks of vehicle conditions. Takes eyes off road too long to check instrument panel.

5. Selfish, risky driving
Refuses to give space or be courteous toward other motorists. Intimidates other motorists or fails to notice action that may be risky for others

6. Drives too close, too fast
Follows too closely, drives with excessive speed or fails to leave enough space when stopping behind another vehicle.

7. Improper road and lane position
Drives in the wrong lane or fails to stay right as much as possible. Fails to drive near the center of the lane. Drives in a prohibited lane.

8. Signs and pavement markings
Fails to notice road signs or pavement markings

9. Blocks vehicles, entering traffic flow
Impedes other vehicles unnecessarily

10. Smooth operation
Operates vehicle in a rough or erratic manner. Over-speeds engine, lugs engine, misses gears or selects wrong gear, clashes gears.

On top of these trucking basics, to be an owner-operator you must be adept at running your business – money management, budgeting cash flow, taxes, truck maintenance and more.

What practical advice do you veteran drivers have for new drivers regarding how to be successful as a truck driver.