There’s no getting around it – trucking is a challenging profession. For newbie drivers, that challenge can feel even more overwhelming. There is so much to learn and know about the role of a professional driver that it can almost be overwhelming for someone who has never driven anything larger than a compact car before. Fortunately, getting your start in the industry doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. As one of the most in-demand careers right now, there are many resources out there to help you get started as a professional truck driver
Get the right education before you start driving
One of the first things you should do when preparing to become a truck driver is to get the right training. While there are many CDL training programs out there, not all of them are created equally! For example, some programs are better suited for specialties like commercial driving or long-haul driving, while others are specifically designed for short haul driving. Getting the right education can make a huge difference in terms of your career path and long-term earning potential. It can also help to make the learning process a little easier! When considering which training program is right for you, make sure to ask yourself a few questions. What type of driving do you want to specialize in? How much experience do you have with driving? What is your educational background? All these factors will help determine which training program is the best fit for you and your goals.
Know your trucking company and its culture
Before you even start driving, it’s important to make sure you know your company and its culture. Truck drivers work for all types of companies, from small mom-and-pop operations to large, multinational corporations. Some of these companies may be completely new to you, while others you may be very familiar with. Regardless, getting to know your company and its culture will help you in many ways. For example, it will help you to determine if this is the right job for you. It will also help you to prepare for the hiring process ahead. After all, trucking companies have their own standards and requirements for drivers just like any other employer. Getting to know your company and its culture will help you to prepare for those requirements.
Set measurable performance expectations with your boss
One of the most important things you can do as a new driver is set expectations with your boss. This is important for a couple of reasons. First, it helps to make sure you don’t get stuck driving too many hours. Driving for too many hours can be dangerous for both you and your passengers. It can also lead to serious health conditions like sleep apnoea and diabetes. Second, it helps to make sure you are getting paid what you deserve. However, this doesn’t just apply to driving hours and pay. It can also apply to how many miles you drive per day, how many loads you transport in each period and more! Setting these types of expectations can be a great way to help streamline your career and keep you focused on the right path. It can also help to ensure that you do not get stuck as a company driver – a job that is often more challenging and less lucrative than becoming a solo driver.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Nobody is perfect and no one expects you to be! While driving a truck is a challenging job, it is not impossible. You simply need to be prepared for the challenge and be willing to ask for help when you need it. If you are new to the industry and feeling a little overwhelmed by the learning curve, don’t be afraid to reach out to other drivers for help. Truck stops are often filled with experienced drivers who are happy to give you tips, tricks and even tutoring sessions if you’re struggling. If you’re not near a truck stop, don’t worry! There are plenty of online resources that can help you learn the skills and knowledge you need to become a successful truck driver. Blogs, forums, textbooks, and more are all great resources that can help you prepare for the challenges ahead. So don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it! It’s the only way to truly succeed.
Stay physically fit and constantly aware
As a truck driver, you are constantly on the move. This means you will be stopping at multiple locations within a single day and covering long distances between destinations. This can put you at risk of injury and exhaustion if you are not physically fit and aware of your surroundings. To avoid injury while driving, make sure to stretch your legs and ankles regularly to avoid cramps and spasms. Avoid becoming distracted by avoiding activities that take your eyes off the road. Keep your vehicle clean to reduce your risk of infection. And make sure to take rest breaks every two hours to avoid exhaustion. If you are sleeping in your truck, make sure to be always aware of your surroundings and avoid sleeping at dangerous locations. If you are transporting a load, make sure to stay alert and avoid distractions such as phones, trash talking with other drivers, etc.
Don’t forget to keep learning, no matter how long you’ve been driving
As you progress in your career, you will come across new challenges and hurdles that you will need to overcome. You will also constantly be learning new skills and techniques that will help you improve your on-the-road performance. It is important to not forget these skills once you have gained them. Instead, you should constantly be trying to improve your skills and stay up to date on the latest trends in the trucking industry. There are many ways you can do this. You can read publications, magazines and books related to the trucking industry. You can also join online forums and groups where you can interact with other drivers and industry experts. By staying on top of the latest trends and developments, you can ensure that you are always improving your skills and prepared for whatever comes your way!