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Truck Driving: Same Way—Every Time

The Key to Safety and More

I keep my keys in my left front pants pocket. That is the only thing that goes in my left front pants pocket. My keyring has a double-ended snap clip—so if I have more than one set of keys, all my keys clip together. When I get off the tractor, all I need to do is tap my left front pocket. If there is anything in that pocket, I have my keys. Since I started this system, I have never again locked myself out of my tractor or personal car.

double ended snap clip with my personal keys

double-ended snap clip with my personal keys and work keys
Images by Michael Williams


When your job is driving a truck, do everything in the same sequence every time. You are much less likely to forget something. You are much less likely to overlook some important details. Especially when it is late or dark—or you are in a rush to leave—or you are stressed—or you are short of rest.

This extends to all aspects of driving, including:

  • sliding under the trailer/tug test/checking the fifth-wheel
  • connecting all the cables/doing the walk around/locking and sealing the trailer doors
  • airbrake test
  • paperwork

I do it all, the same way every time. This is how I make certain that everything is done. I have figured out the easiest way to do everything with a single walk-around of the truck. I do it that same, easy way—every time. This makes my job much easier, much faster, and much, much safer.


All the things that make driving possible (tools, equipment, paperwork, etc.) have a proper place.

For example, I keep my flashlight in the pouch on the driver’s door. When I am in the cab, I know exactly where it is. When I am outside the tractor, I know where to find it.

  • flashlight—the pouch on the driver’s door
  • bills of lading (BOLs)—in the pouch on the driver’s door
  • trip’s paperwork—inside the trip envelope, on top of the dash
  • pen—shirt pocket

Do It Safely

Do everything the same way, each time. That way, you won’t forget something, which could be embarrassing, expensive, and/or dangerous.

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