12 OTR Driver Skills: Definition and Examples

By ResumeCat Editorial Team
Published September 1, 2022

If you're new to the world of over-the-road (OTR) trucking, there are a lot of new terms and concepts to learn. This article will help you understand some of the key skills you need to be a successful OTR truck driver.

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OTR Driver Skills

Time management

Time management is the ability to use your time efficiently and effectively. As an OTR driver, you need to be able to manage your time in order to meet deadlines, avoid traffic congestion, and make the most of your driving time.


Logistics is the coordination and management of the movement of resources, goods, or people. As an OTR driver, you will need to be able to effectively plan and execute the delivery of your load in a timely and efficient manner. This includes being able to track and monitor your progress, as well as troubleshoot any problems that may arise along the way.


Planning is the process of thinking ahead and making decisions about what you are going to do. You need it in order to be successful in any activity, including driving. It allows you to set goals, make choices, and figure out the best way to achieve your objectives.


The ability to communicate effectively is essential for any over-the-road (OTR) driver. This includes being able to communicate with dispatch, other drivers, and customers. OTR drivers need to be able to communicate in order to coordinate pick-ups and drop-offs, relay information about traffic and road conditions, and resolve any problems that may arise. Good communication skills are also important for building relationships with customers and ensuring that their shipments are delivered on time and as expected.

Customer service

Customer service is the ability to provide excellent customer service to passengers. This includes being polite and helpful, as well as being able to resolve any customer service issues that may arise.


Documentation is important for OTR drivers because it helps to keep track of their hours of service, their routes, and any other important information. This information can be used to plan future trips, and it can also be used to troubleshoot any problems that may arise.


The ability to drive safely is an essential skill for any OTR driver. OTR driving can be a challenging and dangerous job, so it is important for drivers to be able to maintain control of their vehicles at all times. This includes being able to avoid accidents, obeying traffic laws, and keeping their vehicles in good repair.


Compliance is the ability to follow rules and regulations. As an OTR driver, you need to be compliant with the hours of service regulations set by the DOT. This means keeping track of your hours, taking breaks when required, and not driving when fatigued.

Problem solving

Problem solving is a skill that every OTR driver needs. This is because problems will inevitably arise during a long trip, and being able to solve them quickly and efficiently is crucial to keeping the trip on track. There are many different types of problems that a driver may encounter, from mechanical issues with the truck to getting lost in unfamiliar territory. Having strong problem solving skills will allow the driver to find solutions to these problems and get back on the road as soon as possible.


Flexibility is the ability to bend and move your body freely. As an OTR driver, you will be sitting for long periods of time, so it is important to be able to move and stretch your body when you have the chance. This will help you stay healthy and avoid injuries.


Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common goal. It is an important skill for OTR drivers because they often have to work with other drivers to complete their deliveries.

Timely delivery

Timely delivery is the ability to deliver goods or services on time. This skill is important for OTR drivers because it helps ensure that their deliveries arrive on time and meet customer expectations. Timely delivery can be a challenge for OTR drivers due to the long distances they travel and the potential for unexpected delays. This skill can be developed by planning ahead, allowing extra time for potential delays, and communicating with customers to keep them updated on the status of their delivery.

How to improve otr driver skills

There are many ways to improve the skills of over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers. Some of these methods may require additional training, while others may be simply a matter of improving one's habits. In any case, becoming a better OTR truck driver can lead to increased safety on the road, as well as improved efficiency and productivity.

One way to improve OTR truck driver skills is by increasing one's knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The FMCSRs are the rules and regulations that govern the trucking industry, and they cover everything from hours of service to vehicle maintenance. Familiarity with the FMCSRs can help drivers avoid violations and improve their overall compliance with regulations. Additionally, knowing the FMCSRs can help drivers troubleshoot problems that they may encounter on the road.

Another way to improve OTR truck driver skills is by honing one's defensive driving skills. Defensive driving is a set of driving techniques that are designed to help drivers avoid accidents. Some defensive driving techniques include always maintaining a safe following distance, being aware of one's surroundings, and avoiding distractions while driving. Practicing defensive driving can help OTR truck drivers become more aware of potential hazards on the road and make safer decisions when faced with dangerous situations.

In addition to increasing knowledge and improving defensive driving skills, there are several other habits that OTR truck drivers can develop to become better at their jobs. For example, developing a good pre-trip inspection routine can help ensure that vehicles are in good working order before hitting the road. Additionally, staying organized and keeping track of paperwork can help prevent problems down the line. Finally, taking care to properly secure loads can help prevent accidents and injuries caused by shifting or falling cargo.

Developing these habits takes time and practice, but doing so can make a big difference in the safety and efficiency of OTR trucking operations. By becoming more knowledgeable about the rules and regulations governing the industry, honing one's defensive driving skills, and staying organized and diligent, OTR truck drivers can greatly improve their abilities behind the wheel.

How to highlight otr driver skills

As an OTR Driver, you should highlight your skills in time management, being able to read a map and plan your route, and having experience driving in different weather conditions. You should also mention your experience with different types of vehicles and your clean driving record.

On a resume

To highlight your skills as an OTR Driver on your resume, you should include your experience driving long distances, as well as your experience with different types of vehicles. You should also highlight any safety training you have received, as well as any awards or recognition you have received for your driving.

In a cover letter

In your cover letter, be sure to highlight your skills as an OTR driver. Include your experience driving long distances, as well as your ability to stay calm and focused while on the road. Mention your excellent safety record, and how you are always careful to follow all traffic laws. Let the employer know that you would be a great asset to their company, and that you are excited to put your skills to use in a new role.

During an interview

When you are interviewed for an OTR Driver position, be sure to highlight your skills and experience. You should discuss your experience driving long distances, as well as your ability to stay calm and focused while behind the wheel. Be sure to mention any safety training you have received, and emphasize your commitment to safety on the job. Finally, be sure to express your interest in the company and your desire to become a part of the team.