So you’ve taken the big leap of faith, and now you’re a truck driver. Congratulations! But just because you have your commercial license doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing from here on out. That being said, don’t worry -we can help mitigate some mistakes that seem commonplace for those just starting their journey in this industry. Starting out as a new trucker does come with its own unique set of challenges: there are regulations to learn, paperwork to understand, and best practices to abide by; all things an experienced driver may find tedious but crucial nonetheless. So rad on to discover the common pitfalls rookie drivers fall victim to – avoid them and you’ll be off to a great start in establishing yourself in this rewarding yet challenging field.
Get to Know Your Truck And Equipment
One of the most important parts of the job is to familiarize yourself with your truck and all its equipment. Your knowledge of your vehicle can help prevent accidents and costly repairs; therefore, getting to know its inner workings is essential for success on the road. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask your supervisor or other experienced drivers for help understanding how the different components work and how to properly inspect the truck before and after your ride. Keep up-to-date with all servicing requirements such as oil changes and tire pressure checks, so that you can ensure that you are always driving in complete safety. Being informed on these basics will make you a smarter truck driver as well as more confident in your abilities!
Know Your Rights And Responsibilities
Before jumping into your new job as a truck driver, you’ll want to make sure that you understand your rights and responsibilities. Knowing exactly what is expected of you will ensure that no one takes advantage of you. Before anything else, familiarize yourself with the rules regarding insurance and any other requirements, so that you can be prepared no matter what situation arises. You can learn more about the best truck insurance coverage for your own personal situation by doing a bit of research, or by speaking to your supervisor. On top of that, it may also be advantageous to read up on different regulations and safety guidelines along the way. Of course, all trucking companies will have varying regulations; make sure to learn more about yours before pressing forward with your career!
Be Vigilant About Safety
Even when you’re tired or the job is taking longer than expected, it’s important to be vigilant about safety – make sure everything is secure, like tying down the cargo in your truck bed before driving away. Even as an experienced truck driver, double-check every time you get back in the cab, making sure nothing has come loose, or worse that someone hasn’t tried to steal something while you were away from your vehicle. At the end of a long journey and especially if the day has been tiring, always take a few moments for a safety review: look around for anything out of place, and don’t forget to be on high alert at all times.
Take Breaks Regularly
As a rookie truck driver, it’s easy to feel like every mile counts and you need to be pushing yourself at all times. However, taking regular breaks is essential to safe driving and performance. Being on the road can be exhausting physically and mentally, so it’s important not to push yourself too hard. Taking breaks to rest and refuel your truck will help keep you focused on the journey ahead so you can stay in control and remain aware of necessary safety precautions. Drive smart, and rest when needed!
Keep Track of Paperwork
Not understanding what needs to be filled out and when can lead to confusion and delays during your journey. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to detail and make sure that you always know where your paperwork is located so that when you need it, you will have the documents at hand. Keep an organized filing system or notebook and add to it in a timely manner throughout your work day so that all required documents are up-to-date, accurate, and ready to go on demand. With this methodical approach, you’ll never miss a deadline or fill out a form incorrectly.
Respect Other Drivers
Being a truck driver can be difficult, especially when sharing the roads with other drivers. It is important to remember that everyone on the road is trying to get somewhere safely and they deserve respect. As a truck driver, it is important to practice courtesy by keeping a nice distance from other vehicles, following traffic regulations and laws, and never driving too recklessly or aggressively. Additionally, make sure to signal your turns and passings as much as possible–this can go a long way in helping prevent an accident with another driver. Showing respect and being courteous sets positive precedence for all other road users and will help make your drives smoother overall.
The life of a truck driver is demanding, yet rewarding. By following these tips and knowing exactly what your duties are as a rookie truck driver, you can ensure that you’re prepared for anything that comes your way. Staying vigilant about safety, taking regular breaks, keeping up with the paperwork, and respecting other drivers will help to ensure smooth sailing as you get started in your new role. Bon voyage, and happy trucking!