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Skills and Qualities that Make a Great Over the Road Truck Driver

front seat of a truck

Over the road truck driving can be a demanding, but deeply rewarding career track for professionals looking for new experiences, challenges, and opportunities.

Over the road truck drivers live a unique lifestyle, and as such, tend to possess specific skills and qualities that help them succeed on the open road. Here are some of the critical skills an OTR truck driver should have:

Training and Experience

Before you get behind the wheel of a truck, you’re going to need to have the proper training and experience. While the truck driving qualifications are relatively accessible, you’re still going to need to go through some training to prepare yourself for the situations you’ll undoubtedly encounter behind the wheel.

Just as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says, “Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) requires a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities than that required to drive a non-commercial vehicle.” As such, the first step toward an OTR truck driving career will always be the same: attain your commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Upon completing all of the CDL-certifications and tests, you’ll be suitably equipped with the information and experience you’ll need to transition into a formal trucking role for one of the many companies eager to work with you.

Excellent Teamwork

Whether you’re driving solo or as part of an OTR team, you’re going to need to know how to work (and thrive) as a team.  You will have an entire support team working alongside you to help ensure that you get from point A to point B, and as such, strong teamwork skills will be essential to your success.

This will be especially important on an OTR team. Since you’ll be sharing the cockpit with a co-driver for hours a day, the two of you will have to be comfortable working together. A good OTR team is defined by trust, and trust can only come if you’re willing to work alongside your co-driver in every situation you find yourselves in.  

Communication Skills

The trucking and logistics industries require a great deal of coordination, timing, and communication. When you’re on the road for days or even weeks at a time, your ability to communicate with your co-driver, your company dispatchers, and other drivers is paramount to your success.

If you can’t communicate clearly with the world around you, then your ability to navigate the unpredictable nature of over the road driving assignments will be impaired. No matter what, always make communication a priority. The stronger your communication skills are, the more comfortable and enjoyable your OTR experience will be.

Flexible Problem-Solving

OTR driving involves long hours traveling across multiple states, environments, weather conditions, and seasons. While you can (and should) plan ahead for each day of travel, it’s impossible to predict what the open road will throw at you on any given day, which is why flexible problem-solving is a skill all great drivers strive to perfect.

Being able to react both quickly and smartly to unpredictable situations and challenges is a crucial ability that will help truck drivers complete their job and stay safe while doing so.

If you want to learn more about the OTR driver lifestyle, then don’t hesitate to reach out to Lily Transportation today! We currently have over 50 driving teams running coast-to-coast and are always looking to expand that number. If you have any questions or want to apply, then visit our website or give us a call at 800.248.5459.


If you’d like more information about Lily Transportation’s Dedicated Contract Carrier services, click below to submit an inquiry.

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