As a long-haul trucker, most of your time on the job will be spent driving. However, this is not the only responsibility you will have. When you reach your final destination, you will likely be dropping the freight off at a loading dock. Even if you are not the person who actually loads/unloads the truck, it is important to know how to stay safe and be efficient at each stop.
Some tips truckers should keep in mind for loading dock safety and efficiency:
Be Prepared Before You Stop
In most cases you have either a set appointment time or a drop-off window at the loading dock. Be sure to arrive during this time and if you are going to be late, let your dispatcher and the receiver know. You should also call ahead if you think you will arrive more than 15 minutes early to determine whether they can fit you in ahead of time. Another aspect of preparation is having all necessary paperwork easily accessible ready to go. No one likes to wait around at a loading dock and taking these steps before you arrive can help make the process more efficient.
Practice Good Communication
Although trucking is often a more independent job, communication is essential to set yourself up for success. Throughout your career, you will need to know how to effectively communicate with a variety of individuals and this includes workers at loading docks. Each drop-off will be different and it’s important not to make assumptions based on what other receivers have done in the past. If you have any questions, it’s better to take the time to ask rather than potentially putting your safety and that of others at risk.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Staying alert and aware of what is around you is a good tip to follow in general, but it can be especially important at a loading dock. There should be signs giving you instructions or marking off areas you can and cannot enter with your semi-truck. Loading docks often have multiple individuals and vehicles moving around, so you keep an eye out and drive carefully.
Know What Your Responsibilities Are
It is important to be aware of what responsibilities you will have at the loading dock. Every individual involved in the drop-off has a unique role in maintaining a safe environment and getting the job done. You should always make sure you are doing everything that is expected of you, rather than assuming someone else is taking care of it. On the other hand, taking on responsibilities that you are not trained for can be dangerous. For example, you should never use equipment that you need special certification to handle and which you were not taught how to use ahead of time. When in doubt, check with someone and do not do anything you are not comfortable with.
A Supportive Truck Driving Company
If you want to work for a motor carrier that supports you, DSW is hiring for over-the-road and regional routes. We are a family-focused company, and it is our goal to help you get miles, get paid, and get home regularly.