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8-(1).pngMy son is a very good bowler. He is on his High School Team and even as a Freshman has already won several trophies and awards. It is to the point that I won’t bowl with him because he puts me to shame. Granted, that is not hard to do. My bowling game stinks.

As good as he is though, he still needs coaching. Heck, most professional athletes not only train all year, but they also have coaches that help keep them on track. The coaching helps my son not only to improve but to keep him from picking up bad habits and stop any bad habits he may be picking up. A slightly different approach or release can really hurt his game. His mother and I send him to a coach so he can improve his game. The extra work helps.

Bad Habits are Easy to Pick Up, Hard to Break

They say it takes 3 days for something to become a habit. As professional truck drivers, we operate our trucks as safely and as efficiently as possible. It takes constant vigilance and patience to keep bad habits at bay and let’s face it, we are human and can make mistakes. Being a little aggressive in heavy traffic one-time can lead to doing it again.  If we keep doing something long enough it can become a habit. The thing is, we may not even know we have picked up these bad habits. So how do we break bad habits we don’t even recognize we have picked up?

Bad habits can make our day more stressful and possibly more dangerous. They can also be harder on our equipment. So, take a look at how your average day on the road is going. Are you having more hard-braking events or sudden maneuvers?  Are you having more close calls with other vehicles? Do you find yourself drifting in your lane more than usual?  Is your fuel economy dropping? These could be signs you have picked up a bad habit. But don’t worry. You can fix it!

Don’t be afraid to ask and Learn

We’ve all heard the saying “When you think you know it all it’s time to hang up the keys.” There is a lot of truth to that. I always like to take advantage of any extra training or coaching I can. Sometimes another set of eyes is all it takes to show us some things we may have started doing we weren’t even aware of. Maybe we have started following traffic in front of us too closely. Maybe we are being too aggressive in our lane changes or cornering. Maybe we aren’t signaling our turns soon enough. Someone who is an impartial observer can shed some light on these things. Coaching can be a great tool but drivers have to be open to it and not take it as criticism. Stay open-minded and don’t be afraid to admit we have room to change.

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Clark W Reed

Clark Reed of Roscoe, Illinois is an OTR company driver and trainer for Nussbaum Transportation based out of Hudson, Illinois. He has been driving since 2005 and has driven van, reefer, and tanker. He currently hauls dry van to all lower 48 states. Clark is passionate about MPGs and how driver habits influence them. The lifetime average of his 2018 Cascadia is 9.75 mpg, with eyes on 10. Clark, along with Henry Albert, was one of the seven drivers in 2017's "Run on Less" by NACFE, a road show, demonstrating what fuel efficiency can be obtained with existing technologies.

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