So you’ve just passed your driving test and obtained your commercial driver’s license (CDL). You’re excited about the achievement and looking forward to a life on the road. As you prepare for your career as a truck driver, there are some things you must know about that crucial first year.
Why Your First Year as a Truck Driver Is Important
Why is your first year as a truck driver so important? Sure, it signals the beginning of your trucking career, but there’s more to that first year. First of all, it signals you are entering your second driving school. You may have obtained your CDL with flying colors, but the first year as a licensed truck driver provides a significant learning curve.
There’s a huge difference between the curriculum you cover in your CDL training and the lessons you learn in life as a working trucker. So, take your first year as a truck driver to be your college of trucking and learn as much as you can.
Your First Year as a Truck Driver – 5 Things to Know
As you start your first year as a truck driver, there are certain things you must know. These are things experienced truck drivers wished they had known at the beginning of their careers. Let’s quickly dive into the top five things you must know in your first year as a truck driver, shall we?
1. Get All the Driving Experience You Can
Your first year as a rookie driver will be challenging. You’ll be getting used to the way things work in the trucking world. Or you may be assigned challenging routes that no-one else wants. Whatever difficulties or challenges you may face, don’t quit. Instead, make sure to get as much driving experience as you can. Gaining this experience will help you:
- Get more work.
- Make more money.
- Become more confident behind the wheel.
If you’re fortunate enough to own your rig, make sure to fit it with comfortable seats to make those long trips easier. Otherwise, invest in making your rig more comfortable by getting yourself some cushions and other accessories. This is important, as a comfortable seat will help prevent back injuries.
2. Avoid Job Hopping
Thanks to the surge in online shopping, the demand for truck drivers has skyrocketed. Retailers and trucking companies are scrambling for experienced drivers. It may be tempting for you to switch employers as you search for greener pastures as a first-year truck driver. There’s nothing wrong with this. However, job-hopping will do you more harm than good. That’s because employers don’t feel comfortable hiring a driver who they can’t trust to stick with them for a long time.
So, in your first year of trucking, avoid job-hopping. Focus more on gaining experience than making money. In the long run, your good track record will help you get better-paying trucking jobs.
3. You May Have to Share Your Rig with a Driver Trainer
It’s your first year as a trucker. You’ll be responsible for an expensive vehicle plus clients’ precious cargo. That’s why many employers try to mitigate the risks associated with first-year truck drivers by assigning a trainer to go with them on the first few trips.
What this means for you is that in those first few weeks or months, you’ll be sharing your rig with a stranger. It may be awkward at first, but know that it’s just a temporary situation. Use this time to learn as much as you possibly can from the experienced driver.
4. Set an Impressive Record
Just like any other career, setting a good record is vital in the trucking world. That’s especially true for you as a first-year truck driver. A good record involves:
- No accidents. You must be extra careful on the road in your first year to show you’re a good driver.
- Time in the seat. Log as many hours as possible in your first year. This reflects on your experience.
- Deliver on time. This will show that you’re a responsible and reliable driver. Employers are always on the lookout for drivers they can depend on to meet deadlines.
A good record will help you become an in-demand driver and give you more leverage when negotiating your salary.
5. Find an Employer Close to Home
One of the most important things you must do in your first year as a truck driver is to try as much as possible to find an employer close to home. This is very important, as it will help you ease into the trucking world without feeling homesick. Working for a trucking company with a terminal close to home allows you to visit your family between loads.
Your First Year as a Truck Driver – Preparing for Life and a Career as a Trucker
Your first year as a truck driver is an essential milestone in your life and career. Because of that, you must treat it with the gravity it deserves. Prepare for it well by knowing what to expect. Prepare for it by getting yourself the right accessories to make life on the road more pleasant. Make sure to browse our catalog for seats, cushions, and other accessories. Or, if you need to talk to someone about what you really need, get in touch, and we’ll be more than happy to help.