The start of any new career comes with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. You want to start out on the best foot possible with your new job, and that can sometimes feel like a lot of pressure! If you’re a new trucker, we’re here to help. These top tips for new truck drivers will help you get comfortable on the road in no time.
Top 5 Tips for New Truck Drivers
1. Get a Handle on Parking.
In general, truck driving is an easygoing, low-stress job. Maybe that’s one of the reasons you’re getting into trucking in the first place! Of course, every job has its frustrating moments. In the case of trucking, it’s parking — especially at night. Truck stops fill up fast once the sun goes down, leaving rookie drivers searching for a safe place to park until morning. If you can, stop for the night earlier than sunset. You’ll be able to find parking space much more easily.
2. Don’t Overdo the Caffeine.
You’re going to get tired on the road sometimes. When you do, your best friend is sleep, not caffeine. It’s fine to have a cup of coffee or an energy drink as a quick pick-me-up or a boost for your last hour on the road, but be careful not to rely on this. Instead, pull off the road for a power nap when you’re feeling tired. Better yet, try to stick to a routine for sleep, if possible. You’ll prevent fatigue before it hits. Plus, establishing a solid sleep schedule early on in your trucking career will set you up for a better work-life balance for years to come. This is one of the most important tips for new truck drivers — you can’t underestimate the value of sleep!
3. Take Lots of Jobs.
When you’re first starting out, take as many jobs as you reasonably can. This makes for a great start to your new career for a few different reasons. First, it shows your dispatcher you have a strong work ethic. You’ll be able to develop a rapport with him or her, which will help you down the line. Plus, by accepting more jobs, you will learn your routine routes as quickly as possible. And of course, since you will be working more, you’ll make more money. Although we recommend taking numerous jobs if possible, there is one caveat . . .
4. Don’t Let Yourself Burn Out.
Many new truck drivers take that last piece of advice too seriously. It’s easy to become overeager and accept every single job available, but that can easily lead to exhaustion. You’re doing yourself (and your work) a disservice when you overcommit. Learn to say “no” when you’re feeling burnt out — you truly do need sleep and relaxation in order to be productive at work.
5. Ditch Google Maps.
If you’re trying to find your way, looking up your destination on Google Maps (or a similar tool) isn’t always wise. These GPS apps don’t account for trucking routes, and you could be getting yourself stuck in a tight spot — maybe even literally. Instead, write down your route before you leave and keep it in the truck with you. And when you’re in a pinch, don’t be afraid to call your dispatcher. It will prevent you from arriving at your destination even later, and it can also help you learn your route faster.
One of the best tips for new truck drivers we can offer is to be patient. Remember that it takes time to learn any new skill, and trucking is no different. Don’t get too frustrated with yourself if you’re not a pro within a couple of weeks. You’ll get there — we promise.
If you’re interested in joining the trucking industry, check out Double “S” Transport, a FedEx Ground contractor based in Springfield, Missouri. We offer team driving, dedicated runs, and extra board runs. All of our runs are drop and hook, and we pay 100% of miles from hub to hub. Our drivers average 50.5 to 52.5 cents per mile (CPM) and can earn as much as $1,650 a week. Plus, we offer tuition reimbursement, health benefits (including dental and vision), vacation days, and 401k plans after 60 days of employment. For more information, call us today at 417-873-9121 or contact us here.