While driving a massive steel box on wheels is definitely a great feeling, it comes with a set of huge responsibilities you ought to keep in mind at all times. As a truck driver, you are in 99% of cases the biggest, most powerful vehicle on the road, and even a second of losing focus can result in a tragedy.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some tips from experienced drivers that should help you become a bit more familiar with the industry, safety concerns, and overall rules of conduct in certain situations.
Useful Tips for Newcomers
Don’t Rush In
Many drivers who are new and inexperienced will usually go with the first offer that seems relatively acceptable because the sooner you start the sooner you’ll get paid. While this is a legitimate strategy, especially if you’re struggling financially, it’s not always the best course of action. A lot of companies, especially huge carriers, will try to lowball you and hide that under a set of benefits or advantages you’ll seemingly get from them. However, this is usually a well-crafted strategy that will, in most cases, end up being detrimental for you.
Instead, don’t hesitate to take some time and research a couple of companies that offer the best conditions. Read other people’s reviews, check the company’s social media accounts, and even contact their HR/recruiting department for some clarification if needed. Doing your due diligence is one of the most important factors that will help you find a trucking job, so make sure you do it right!
Once You’re Satisfied with a Company – Stay There
This is, of course, not a universal rule. In other words, if you’re being treated poorly or you’re just not satisfied with the conditions, you can quit whenever you want. However, quitting should not be your first option, because it can cause more harm to YOU than the company itself. They will find a new driver fairly easily, but you will have a tarnished job record that shows a tendency to “job hop” which is not a good thing in the eyes of an experienced recruiter.
Rather than instantly quitting your job, try to have a conversation with someone from your company who can help you solve the issues you have. Looking for a solution through civil talk is always a better idea than just quitting on the spot.
A Few Important Safety Tips
- You should ALWAYS drive well-rested. There is never a good reason to drive tired, because the potential consequences are far greater than the rewards. No amount of safety precautions can help if you’re tired and unfocused.
- Similarly, you should always stay alert while on the road. That means frequently checking your mirrors, NOT spacing out, and being aware of what’s happening in your blind spots.
- Stay within the speed limit and obey the rules of traffic. As we’ve mentioned at the beginning, you’re the heaviest and probably the most powerful vehicle on the road which is more than enough reason to be extra vigilant and obey traffic rules. Always leave enough space between you and other vehicles and adjust your speed to weather and road conditions.
Stay Healthy – Stay Fit
We all know that staying in one position for long periods of time isn’t the healthiest thing out there. In order to alleviate the health impact of being in the driver's seat for hours, you should pay special attention to your diet, stay hydrated, and limit your caffeine intake. It’s not easy to change your old habits, but it’s definitely a worthy endeavor if you’re looking to build a serious career in this industry.
While this isn’t a list of some extensive set of rules you’re forced to follow, it is a useful set of tips that will come in handy for anyone who’s just starting in the industry.
The best piece of advice we can give you is to talk to the veterans of the industry and ask them about the rules they’ve followed throughout their careers. There is no better way of learning the ins and outs of a particular industry than asking the already experienced people for some solid advice.
Photo Credit - Jamail Porter