Being a truck driver is though – you need to learn how the company operates on a daily basis, its rules and regulations, as well as the federal laws and regulations which apply to you, and you have to learn the job itself. The same goes for the trucking industry.
Getting your CDL license is only the beginning, so we wanted to go over some of the classic truck driver mistakes we noticed young drivers have a hard time avoiding.
Not taking care of their physical and mental health
While it’s important to build relationships with your colleagues, the most important relationship you need to have is with yourself. Rookies often forget about themselves and focus only on the business aspect of trucking and the needs of the clients and management. But that’s not sustainable in the long run.
You need to put your health above all else. Make it a priority to:
- Exercise regularly while you’re on the road
- Avoid fast food
- Make yourself comfortable by investing in some cushions to support your back
- Keep your mind active with books, podcasts, movies, games, music and the like
- Talk to your family and friends
- Take up a hobby you can do on the road, such as photography
Having high expectations
Before you buy your trucker’s hat, make sure to research the lifestyle first. Like in every job, trucking has its pros and cons – some days you can just sit back and enjoy a nice drive on a calm road surrounded by breathtaking scenery, but other times you can find yourself stuck on the docks for hours because there’s some kind of problem.
One of the things that change when you start working as a professional truck driver is your relationship with your family. You’ll spend less time at home so you’ll have to learn how to carve out time in your schedule for your family. Health is another thing that is often affected. As a truck driver, you will spend a lot of time sitting which can, if you aren’t careful, cause serious health issues.
Another issue young drivers face is not knowing how much money they could and should be making and what benefits they should receive. This is a double-edged sword because rookies can either be underpaid or demand too much too soon and lose their job, so make sure you do your research.
Make sure you check out some trucking forums and blogs to get the inside scoop from more experienced drivers.
Not knowing your route
Operating the truck itself is only part of the job. If you want to have a successful haul, you need to be familiar with the road itself. Make sure to work with dispatch and plan the route with them, but also do some research yourself.
- Take a look at what kind areas you’ll be passing through (are there any notoriously narrow roads, hillsides, is there going to be snow and ice on the road, etc.)
- Check out if there are any overpasses that might be too low for your truck
- See if the truck stops and rest stops along the way have ample parking suited for trucks
Fighting with the management
Rookies have been known to become overly confident and start to argue with their superiors, with dispatch, and colleagues. More often than not, this will only cause you more problems even on the road. Keep in mind that you all have the same goal, you all want to get the goods from point A to point B on time and build a good relationship with your clients. Rookies have to learn to be cooperative and humble, because being polite and patient will go a long way (much more than snarky comments and arguing).
When you work on the relationships you have at work, with fellow drivers as well as management, you are essentially building your own team that has your back whenever you have a problem.
Trying to solve everything by yourself
Even though truck driving is considered to be a lone wolf kind of profession, you aren’t alone. You have a team of dispatchers, management, and other drivers that can and will help you. If you aren’t sure about something, don’t hesitate to ask. Remember, you’re a rookie, no one expects you to know everything on day one. No one will think you are stupid or a bad driver if you ask for help or clarification.
Make sure to try and build good relationships with your colleagues so that you know you always have someone to rely on when you need them.