Becoming a truck driver can be an exciting and rewarding career decision. However, like any change, it can take some getting used to at first. A commitment to improving can help you enter the industry with a strong foundation. The first year on the road is usually the toughest and as you gain more experience, you’ll continue to grow into your role. Staying focused and keeping a positive attitude will make it easier for you to succeed as a new trucker.
Here are some tips for your first year in the trucking industry:
Focus on Safety
Safety is essential for truck drivers. Operating such a big vehicle comes with correspondingly big responsibilities, and it can take some time to get used to driving a semi-truck. During your first year, make safe driving a priority. Do not drive distracted, stay under the speed limit, and take the time to build your defensive driving skills. Any accidents will go on your driving record, and this can affect your future job prospects, not to mention the potential damage and injuries that can occur.
Be Realistic About Your Goals
It can be tempting to compare yourself and your miles to more experienced drivers. However, it’s important to keep in mind that becoming a more efficient trucker takes time and effort. Setting unrealistic goals can affect your confidence and can be dangerous if you compromise on safety to try to complete hauls more quickly. Instead, it’s a good idea to talk to experienced truckers that you trust and to see what goals they set or wish they set for their first year. This helps you stay motivated without overextending yourself.
Establish Healthy Habits
Staying healthy can be difficult for anyone, but over-the-road (OTR) drivers face some unique challenges. It’s easier to build good habits as a new trucker than it is to completely change your lifestyle after you’ve already been driving for a while. Many of the same actions that keep you healthy are also, naturally, beneficial for safe driving. For example, getting enough rest reduces your risk of health problems while also helping you stay alert.
Build a Strong Support Network
Everyone can benefit from help and support. The challenges you may face during your first year may be easier to tackle if you know you have people you can count on for advice and encouragement. Your support network should include individuals who aren’t in the industry, such as your family and friends. Making time to stay in touch with your loved ones while you are on the road is important. In addition to these individuals, it can be helpful to find mentors in the trucking industry. More experienced drivers can give you helpful advice and will understand the challenges that are common for new truckers.
Get Started on the Road to a Trucking Career
If you are interested in becoming a truck driver, our program can help give you the skills you need to succeed. We can help you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and start earning in as little as four weeks.