Tips For New Truck Drivers: How To Survive Your First Year
As veterans in the commercial truck driving industry, we know better than anyone that first-year truck drivers almost always get nervous before their first day on the job. All of us want to do well at our jobs and that’s actually a great way to start off. But still, your dear old friends at Truck Driver Academy have your back. Here are our top tips for new drivers!
Mentally Prepare Yourself
One of the main challenges during your first year as a truck driver will be getting used to the long hours. If you’re unable to avoid extreme boredom, highway hypnosis, drowsiness, restlessness, and time away from home, you won’t last long in the industry. The best thing to do is to make sure you are getting enough exercise and giving yourself enough breaks. Having a good selection of music, podcasts, and audiobooks will help too.
Drinking enough water is a key part of being a successful truck driver. Sure, you don’t want to have to take a ton of bathroom breaks, but dehydration can quickly become your worst nightmare. If you’re not paying attention, you may forget to drink your recommended daily eight cups of water. This could cause attention problems and drowsiness, so drink up!
Watch Your Blind Spot
Nearly every vehicle has a blind spot, and semi-trucks are no exception. At your truck driving school, you’ll learn how to identify these in any vehicle. Once you are on the road, you’ll have to turn around to check your blind spot, rather than just glancing at the rearview mirror. It becomes a habit after a while too!
Do Not Drink And Drive
This is a given but our list of tips for new drivers would not be complete without it. Do not drink and drive. When you drive a semi-truck, the stakes are a lot higher. Some people are okay to have one drink and then drive their car two hours later, but this should never be the case when you are driving a commercial semi-truck. Don’t forget, buzzed driving is also drunk driving. It is not worth it.
Set First-Year Goals
Having clear goals for your first year as a truck driver will help you keep your eye on the prize. You can customize them to your own personal career goals, but a few of them should always be on your list. These include:
- No accidents
- Only taking big jobs (quicker jobs are great too!)
- Don’t wear yourself out
- Keep a positive attitude
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
If you’re unsure about some aspect of the job, such as details for the route or the unloading procedure, don’t be afraid to reach out to a coworker or manager. Your team wants you to succeed and it’s better to risk looking a little silly than to make a mistake. Most people won’t think twice about helping you out either.
Remember Your Training
One of the most important pieces of advice for new truck drivers is actually rather simple: remember your training. You have spent months, perhaps even a year, preparing for this. By now, you should already know it by heart. Some people tend to become forgetful when they are nervous, so just stay calm and you should be fine.