T&P Trucking, Ltd.

Complacency in Flatbed Trucking, Can it be Cured?

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Some say that the more you perform a task, the better you become at it. So if it’s your first time doing something and you want to strengthen your abilities, it is only logical to repeat it over and over until you get better. That sounds pretty normal, but is there a danger of becoming too good at something?

Perfecting a skill or becoming used to a routine are just a normal part of any job. For instance, a long haul flatbed truck driver may drive the same route over and over on a weekly basis, repeatedly seeing the same landmarks and the same road signs. Yet despite the regularity of an action or even a person’s confidence, there is a serious danger lying in wait. Complacency.

Origin Story


Complacency is defined as “a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.” So it is actually a person’s confidence that can be the start of a dangerous situation. Be it fast lane changes, speeding, or backing up without looking, all of these things are dangerous habits that have a foundation in complacency.

For some well-experienced flatbed truck drivers, their numerous years of driving have not affected the care and attention they give to each load or to their safe driving ability. In most cases, they have even greatly improved and expanded their skills throughout the years.

In contrast, there are some well-experienced drivers who may have developed the tendency to focus more on production and getting to destinations faster, instead of upholding a high level of safety. If they feel too confident in their driving ability, they could also become bored while driving, causing their mind and attention to become preoccupied with menial things. This can cause them to suffer from delayed reactions to emergency situations on the road. Aside from this, they could also show a lack of safety when it comes to securing various flatbed loads. They may start thinking that since it has been a while since anything bad has happened to them, they can use fewer straps since it seems as though the odds are low for an incident to happen.

From these two examples, it is clear that complacency is a more of a state of mind than a result from actual ability or years of experience. Despite the fact that complacency has the ability to contaminate ANY driver regardless of their experience or ability, there is a ‘cure’ is available. (Though it isn’t as easy as taking two pills and calling your doctor in the morning)

The Remedy


While there is no master antidote that will automatically heal complacency in every driver, successful treatment can be attained through determination and persistent effort. Speaking as a flatbed trucking company, it is imperative that we not only remain vigilant to identifying when there is a possible complacency issue but also to readily adjust our tactics for each truck driver’s unique circumstance.

There are several ways we can accomplish this. Some practical procedures are:

  • Supporting regular safety meetings to inform and uphold a realistic view of the many dangers related to the consequences of unsafe work habits
  • Helping our drivers to maintain and enhance their abilities
  • Rewarding drivers for safe working history
  • Establish and require a high standard for professional performance from all current and new drivers

Remaining Healthy


Like any good routine, it is vital that it’s maintained in order to not fall back into old habits. This is definitely the case for any flatbed truck driver who has beaten his inclination of complacency. He or she must work hard to keep in mind the dangers and be on the continual lookout for any signs that they are again becoming complacent.

Complacency in a flatbed truck driver does not mean they are forever contaminated and are no longer useful in the trucking industry. As long as they are willing to accept that their past violations may be a result of becoming complacent, and then accept any disciplinary actions and help a company offers, they will still have many more opportunities in the industry as a skilled driver.

Do you think you may be showing signs of complacency at your flatbed trucking job? Remember that you can always ask your employer or even a friend for help in order to keep a watch on your work and driving tendencies.

Let us know in the comments below what has worked for you to keep focused while on the road.




Rob Morris