7 Things Every First Year Truck Driver Should Know About
Oct 28, 2020 12:55
Try to avoid accidents in your first year, adjust to the new lifestyle, realize you will be away from home for long periods, and maintain a budget.
Driving a truck can be difficult especially if you are a new trucker. Those who have passed their CDL training or are in the middle of the program know that there is a lot of information to remember.
Obviously, this is not to discourage any new trucker; rather, the information and knowledge allow you to be more skilled on the road and better prepared against uncertainties.
In this article, we would like to go through 7 things you should know about truck driving in your first year.
1. Get More Experience
The first year is definitely the hardest. You have to get used to the truck, the terrain, and your time schedules.
But having more experience as the driver is the most important thing you need. The more experience you have, the more comfortable you will feel while driving.
Experienced drivers also get paid more. So, try to make as much time as possible for driving to learn new things about the terrain.
2. Try To Have An Accident-Free Year
This one is obvious but still needs to be stated. Truck accidents can be very expensive, and a big accident can even cost you your job.
If you do not want to say goodbye to your trucking career so soon, then be as careful as you can.
Try to aim for an accident-free first year. This boosts confidence and comes in handy when you want to get better-paying jobs. Also, your accidents are all recorded in the DAC reports if you are in the USA and CVOR if you are in Canada.
If you have frequent crashes, it will leave a permanent scar on your career records. This is why it is important to know your local truck accident lawyer.
Common beginner accidents happen when you are parking your truck in an unknown or narrow spot.
Even if you have a spotter, it is best to go out and take a look for yourself to get a proper idea and analyze all the angles.
3. Get Used To New Adjustments
Since you are a new driver, you will be paired up with another driver. This might be both good and bad.
The good part is that you can learn first-hand from an experienced driver. You can get answers to any queries on the road and will feel more confident and safe having an experienced trucker right beside you.
The bad part is making adjustments with this new person. If you tend to have arguments or misunderstandings with the other driver, then the long hours on the job are going to get extremely uncomfortable for both of you.
The rig is also pretty small to fit two people, and it is possible that you will have to share your sleeper bunk.
These new adjustments can be hard for some people but remember, he is not going to be around forever. It would be best to utilize this time to learn from him and try to keep a friendly relationship.
4. First Year Pay Is Not That Great
It is a bit hard to accept, but it is the truth. You will not be making a lot of money in your first year. It usually takes at least two years of experience to get well-paying jobs.
Like we said earlier, experience makes all the difference.
The sooner you accept this, the better. You may get long trips which will end up paying more since there are more miles, but you will not be able to manage time as efficiently as experienced drivers.
It is all part of the learning curve. So be a bit patient for the first few years. It gets better from then on.
5. Get Used To Thin Living
It is not that easy living on the road especially when you have to maintain your budget when you are a new trucker.
But if you want to be in the trucking industry, you will need to be thrifty in the beginning. It pays off eventually. With more years in experience, you will be able to apply for better companies and get good driving wages.
Everyone needs to maintain a thin living for the first few years. This includes buying a cooler, not eating at roadside truck stops, and bringing your own food whenever you can.
These things can save you a lot of money over the years, and bringing your own food is also a healthier option. Start maintaining a budget and try to adjust to the new lifestyle as quickly as possible. If you have a private utility truck, you can customize it once you have enough money.
6. Realize That You Will Be Away From Home
This one is hard for the new truckers. A lot of jobs will require you to stay away from home for more than a week. You have to get used to it and find ways to entertain yourself in the journey.
Truckers sometimes get depressed on the job. This is why it is advised to get out of the truck as often as you can and do some physical exercise. Driving a large truck can be both physically and mentally draining.
Whenever you catch some off time, read a book, listen to music, and take care of your mental health.
Finally, when you reach home, try to spend as much time as you can with your family. Sure, you would want to catch up on lost sleep, but family time is also important.
7. Look For A Nearby Employer
This also refers to our previous point. If you have an employer close to your home, then you can quickly finish your job and get back to your family.
You can spend more time with them in between your work. To make it even more convenient, keep your vehicle parked in your workspace. This makes it easier to visit your family.
Trucking can sometimes be tedious, but it pays off in the long run. The first few years are the hardest. Once you overcome all the things we talked about here, it steadily gets better. In a few years with enough experience, you will also be able to apply for a much higher paying job with ease.
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