Getting a CDL and landing that first driving job is a great accomplishment. Driving a truck can be a rewarding and lucrative career. As with any job, it’s a learning experience at the start, the time spent in CDL training is only the beginning of your education. You will make mistakes. Everyone does. Here are some of the more common ones that you should try to avoid:
Being Too Confident
Just like with driving a car, you may understand it and know all the rules but you haven’t mastered it until you have faced nearly every situation on the road. You must always respect the fact that you’re in control of up to 80,000 lbs. because the second you forget that, you’re in trouble. Being too confident will cause accidents.
You Don’t Speak Up
Other drivers will be more than happy to answer your questions. Use their knowledge. Listen to their stories. Learn from their mistakes so you can avoid making the same ones.
You Have High Expectations
When you first start out driving, you’re at the bottom. You don’t get the good gigs and your pay may be less than what you’d hoped it would be. If you hang in there and do your time, you’ll work your way up. Being a good employee helps too. Being polite and friendly with the dispatcher, who has your back when you break down, gives you the information you need for your current loads, and may give you a heads up on future opportunities.
Disobeying the Rules
Skipping truck inspections or not frequently checking your load to make sure it’s secure because you’re in a hurry will only cost you in the long run. It’s potentially dangerous to you and to others who share the road and there are reasons for the rules. The same goes for the rules of the road. Speeding and not following other basic rules of the road, will put you and others in danger. You have no control over the speed demon in a sports car who cuts you off and causes you to slam on your brakes. When you’re in control of 40 tons, you have to be the grown-up on the road.
Not Controlling Your Health
Driving a truck can be an unhealthy occupation. All that fast food and sedentary time behind the wheel contribute to the prevalence of obesity in the industry. Both exercising and eating right on the road are challenges that take determination and usually means bringing your own food and exercise equipment on the road.
Having an Unrealistic Expectation of Road Life
Many imagine that life on the open highway is the ultimate freedom. No boss looking over your shoulder, beautiful scenery, and nights filled with fun times with other drivers. The reality is strict delivery schedules, company rules, traffic, and a hefty amount of customer service obligations can put a damper on that feeling of freedom.
Sitting in the driver’s seat every day, all day, driving down the highway can be monotonous and exhausting. Driving a truck is a great career but you have to have the right mindset.
The most important thing you can do to avoid making rookie mistakes is to remember that you are a rookie and still have more to learn if you want a successful career behind the wheel.
Trucker Search is a tool you need if you’re looking for employment opportunities in the trucking industry. On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé as well as search the large database of companies looking for drivers and job postings. It’s a great resource for any driver starting in the trucking industry.