Are you a new truck driver? Follow these tips for a successful start to your trucking career.
Being a new driver amongst thousands of experienced drivers on the road can be intimidating. Plus, there’s so much information to absorb and trucker lingo and 10-codes to learn. We want you to step into the truck feeling confident and ready for whatever the job may bring so we have several tips for you from experienced truckers to make things run smoothly while you’re starting out.
Get a GPS for truck routes – Getting to the right destinations on time is essential and what better way to do that than to get a GPS for your route? Gone are the days of maps and MapQuest printouts. Luckily, now you have the option of using the GPS on your smartphone or purchasing a GPS for your truck. Some GPS’ will track your miles in every state, has big buttons for truck use, customized trucker business tools, and truck-specific navigation with up-to-date information.
Talk to teammates about safe places to eat, sleep, etc. – Nobody knows the trucker life better than you and your experienced trucker teammates. If you are always running the same routes, you will quickly become acquainted with the areas you run and where to go to sleep and eat, but it never hurts to confide in the people who work for your company about where they prefer to go.
Make your own food – Not only does eating out while you’re on the road get costly, but most of the options aren’t considered healthy. Sure, you may just want something fast and easy, but making your own food is beneficial in several ways. A crockpot is perfect for making meals while driving. By simply putting your meal in an oven-roasting bag, you can make a healthy meal as easily as you would at home, save money, and make little to no mess.
Exercise/diet – It is just as important for truckers to maintain a healthy exercise and diet routine as anyone else. Even exercising for 15 minutes twice a day and keeping a diet low of carbs can tremendously help you. It may not always be easy to find time to eat healthy and exercise regularly, but living a sedentary lifestyle on the road affects your physical appearance and your overall health.
Get acquainted with your dispatcher – Dispatchers are your lifelines. Get to know them and what they are like. Pay them compliments. Getting along with your dispatcher will make your job and their job much easier.
Never refuse a load – Refusing loads make you and your company look bad. Your image and work ethic reflects directly on the company you work for, and if you refuse a load, it will reflect negatively on you. Show the company you are valuable and dedicated by accepting every load that comes your way.
Safety first – Safety always comes first. No matter what you’re doing, double check it. If you’re changing lanes, double check your mirrors and windows. If you’re backing up, if possible, get out and look before backing up. Your safety and the safety of others on the road or dock is important.
Know your company – Every company has different divisions to help you improve in the industry. Although some divisions may require you to acquire certain skills, by gaining the necessary experience in your company, you are showing value and dedication to your employer which will allow you to stay with your current company, maintain seniority, and gain experience valuable to your future. It is also important to know each division in your company, who is in charge of each, and what to do when problems arise. Know the ins and outs of your company, including your co-workers so you know what’s going on.
Having confidence in yourself and using your resources will give you a better chance of having a positive and successful career in the trucking industry.