With the trucking industry growing, beginner truck drivers need to be prepared for their new careers as professional truck drivers. Many new drivers do not take the time to research and prepare for life on the open road. As a result, they can make common mistakes that easily can be avoided by using these great tips!
Tip #1: Remain with the same employer your first year or longer.
The first year is going to be a time of learning as you develop your truck-driving skills. It is essential to establish yourself as a reliable and dependable truck driver. One of the best ways to do this is to remain with the same employer during your first year.
Doing so can open up opportunities down the road for better pay and competitive offers from other trucking companies. The longer you stick with the same employer, the more reliable and responsible you are considered to be.
Tip #2: Upgrade to a comfortable truck seat.
You will be sitting for most of the day driving. You want a comfortable truck seat so your back and bottom do not get sore. Take the time to find a seat with the features and options you want.
If you are driving for a major carrier, get their permission to upgrade. Most are accommodating and may even reimburse you for the new truck seat.
Tip #3: Develop a relationship with your dispatcher.
It is essential to develop a relationship with your dispatcher. After all, they are the one person who ensures you get loads. Take the time to ask how their day is going when you call or message them.
Don’t be afraid to inquire about their weekend plans or ask how their kids are doing. The more you get to know your dispatcher and build rapport with them, it can go a long way later on by leading to better, choice loads.
Tip #4: Keep your truck organized.
You will be living in your truck while you are on the road. Keeping the cab cleaned, picked up, and clutter-free makes it easier to relax and unwind after driving all day. Plus, you will not have to worry about funky odors or foul smells from dirty clothes, uneaten food, etc.
Tip #5: Keep your paperwork organized.
Invest in a portable file folder system to help keep track of receipts. There are also mobile apps you may want to use where you can snap pictures and digitally store receipts, file driving logs, and other job-related information.
Tip #6: Openly and professionally communicate.
You will have days when things do not go as planned, such as getting delayed in traffic, blowing a tire, or having to wait to pick up a load. Be prepared to make phone calls to your dispatcher, customer, shipper, etc., and keep them informed when there are problems. They will appreciate the your professionalism in letting them know what is going on.
Tip #7: Accept all loads.
Unless there is a valid reason, like you are sick, you should never refuse loads when starting your truck-driving career. Being willing to accept all loads shows your dispatcher and trucking company that you are reliable and willing to put in the time to advance your career.
Tip #8: Take care of yourself to stay healthy.
You need to make sure to get plenty of rest, eat well-balanced meals, and get in some exercise. Adjusting to life on the open road can seem different from sleeping and eating at home or in a hotel while you completed truck-driving school and CDL training.
Invest in a quality truck mattress and pillows for restful sleep. Purchase various appliances for your truck like a mini-fridge, microwave, cooking plate, or InstaPot, so you can prepare some healthy meals in your cab. Spend about 30 minutes each day exercising, even if it is walking or jogging around your truck.
Tip #9: Always follow safety protocols.
Your safety, the safety of your truck and load, and that of other motorists should always come first. Always be a defensive truck driver, obey speed limits, and keep extra space between you and the vehicles in front of you. If road conditions deteriorate or there are problems with your truck, find a safe location to pull over and stop.
While we’ve touched on nine of the more common tips for new and beginner drivers, there are others like using a map to learn the best routes, instead of your GPS, or asking for help when you require it. Just remember to be prepared, take your time, get plenty of rest, always accept loads, and rack up some experience during your first year as a new truck driver.
To find new truck seats, truck accessories, and other items for your truck to make life on the open road easier, please feel free to explore our online store or contact Suburban Seating & Safety at 844-727-7328 today!