Hot shot trucking is somewhat unique.
You can see and appreciate new sights, sounds, and situations. Not to mention the sense of freedom you get when you see the open road.
While these things are alluring and may even lead you to consider hotshotting, it is not that easy. Here are five best practices any professional hot shot trucker should know and follow. These practices can help keep you safe while you’re on the road. It might even save other people’s lives.
1. Do a systems check before embarking on your deliveries
Before transporting a load from point A to point B, good hotshot truckers make it a habit to do a systems check. This check helps them see if they have everything they need.
Before traveling, a good hotshot trucker does these:
- Check the brakes.
- Check the wheels and tires (both the pickup truck’s and the trailer’s).
- Check the vehicle’s liquids (e.g., coolant, transmission, engine oil, etc.).
- Check the seatbelts, reflectors, and the truck’s electricals
Do these checks before delivering the load or heading back to base.
Also, don’t forget the essential papers too. Bring with you documents like your permit papers, vehicle registration, and trailer ownership documents. Make sure they are all valid and up-to-date.
Professional hotshot truckers also bring their “hotshot trucking kit.” Some of the things inside it are:
- Basic toolbox
- Hazard triangle/s
- Tire sealer/inflater
- Windshield washer
- Jumper cables and battery booster
- Driver’s first aid kit
Being ready can make the difference between having a safe trip and a deadly one.
2. Move slowly and pick a low gear when descending a steep incline.
One of the most costly mistakes a truck driver can make is traveling too fast when on a steep grade. Hotshot truckers also make this mistake.
Traveling at high speeds on a downhill, steep incline — with or without a heavy load — can be fatal.
Since you are moving downhill, gravity speeds up your truck, making it harder to slow down. The fast speed can overheat your truck’s brake systems or even damage it. It may even lead to brake fade, a partial or total loss of braking power. When brake fade happens, it can produce disastrous effects or even loss of life.
So, when going downhill, brake early and set your speed right. Use a lower gear to boost the effectiveness of your engine’s braking power and reduce the risk of brake fade.
3. Drive with caution, especially when road conditions are poor.
There is a rise in vehicular accidents during the winter months. A big chunk of these accidents is caused by driving at high speed on slippery roads. Any vehicle cannot stop as quickly on icy or wet roads as opposed to dry ones.
Professional hotshot truckers remember to keep themselves safe. Travel at a safe speed, especially when road conditions are not favorable.
4. Keep your eyes (and hands) on the road
Today, smartphones are a friend, especially to a hotshot trucker. It can help in navigating, checking the weather, tracking mileage, and more. But sometimes, they can be a distraction — especially texting while driving.
As a smart and professional hotshot trucker, texting while driving should never be done. Have the discipline to keep all your attention on the road with a heart that regards the safety of all. If you really need to answer a message, pull over for a while and answer the message.
5. Drive alert, awake, and enthusiastic
Giving the best of what you’ve got makes you do your job a little bit better. Hotshot trucking is not an exception to that rule.
When you’re feeling your 100% best, hotshotting becomes easier. But of course, being human, our bodies tend to get tired and we need rest.
If your body is feeling tired and you still push forward with your driving, many things can go wrong. Here are some of those:
- Reaction/response time is slower
- Attention span is weakened
- You’re slower to absorb important information or scenarios
Good hotshot truckers make sure they get adequate rest so their bodies can function at their very best. Whenever tiredness hits, sleep when necessary.
The Bottom Line
Hotshot trucking is a great business to be in. But discipline is the key, and being responsible for keeping ourselves and others safe should be at the top of your mind. Be sure to always follow these good practices so that you’ll be able to enjoy hotshotting for a very long time.