CDL training is relatively short. Truck drivers can be on the road and earning good money in a short period of time. However, sometimes new drivers may be unprepared for some of the challenges they will encounter on the road.
Starting a career as a truck driver can be a big change. This is a profession with a number of hidden challenges in addition to some nice surprises. Often people who don’t live on the road just don’t understand them. Take a look at our list of tips for people in their first year as a truck driver.
Surviving Your First Year As A Truck Driver
Try to maintain good habits. The road is full of temptations: fast food, smoking and other distractions. If you don’t take precautions, some of these can cause your health to decline. Take simple steps, like choosing healthy options when ordering food. Most convenience stores and truck stops now stock fruit including bananas, oranges and apples. Make these a part of your daily routine.
Be aware of blind spots. Often drivers of smaller vehicles are totally unaware of what truck drivers can and cannot see from the cab. They may attempt to pass in an unsafe way or tailgate.
Be prepared to be out on the road. You’re likely not going to get all the home time you had hoped for this first year. This will mean more days away from home, likely including some weekends. As the newest hire, you can’t expect to get the optimal schedule starting out. You’ve got to pay your dues.
Avoid switching jobs your first year. Your goal is to get a good year of experience under your belt. You’re laying the groundwork for your future. It may get difficult at times, but hang in there and stick it out with one company for at least one year. Switching trucking companies too often can hurt future job prospects.
Avoid accidents and tickets. You don’t want to start off your career with too many unavoidable accidents and traffic violations. Companies are looking for drivers with good records.
Make use of your contacts. Don’t be afraid to communicate with other drivers. Most GPS systems are designed for cars, not trucks. Sometimes you may receive incomplete information. If you have a CB, ask other drivers for assistance. Also, if you get lost, don’t be afraid to call the shipper for directions. Often they will be able to give better details.
Get enough sleep. Being well-rested will make your job much easier. You will be more alert and better able to respond to challenges. A poor night’s sleep will make the next day more difficult, and truck driving is unlike an office job where you can safely zone out. You need to remain focused as you haul a heavy load.
ABCO provides refrigerated trucking services. We are currently hiring new drivers for Midwest Regional and Over the Road (or long-haul) routes. We offer medical, dental, 401k and vacation benefits. We are always looking for qualified drivers and we offer our drivers additional career development opportunities.
If you want to build a career in logistics and transportation, we want to hear from you. Apply online today.