It’s no secret that working for a transportation company takes commitment, hard work, determination, and a positive attitude to succeed. However, many new drivers can have all these qualities and still sabotage their careers before they even begin—unless they keep in mind these five tips for rookie truck drivers that are guaranteed to help them make the most of their learning experiences on the road and during their CDL training.
1: Prepare for the Challenge Ahead.
There are many physical and emotional obstacles that a rookie trucker will face when they first start their transportation careers. Such physical obstacles can include learning how to drive on dangerous roads and often during hazardous conditions. There will be mechanical issues with your truck. You may even have to drive vehicles you’ve had no experience with driving before. The emotional obstacles are just as stressful as well. During your first month, and even year, with a transportation company, you will have to adjust to many different aspects of life like your new work schedule, the culture of the company, long hours on the road, and time away from friends and family.
During these times, it’s important to remember that mentally preparing for these challenges will help make these obstacles less daunting. Before every drive, take a moment to clear your mind, focus on the task ahead, and soon you’ll find that even the most challenging situations are only temporary moments of stress in your bright, new career. CDL training will certainly push you to your limits as a driver, but it will never break you.
2: Have the Right Expectations.
Chances are you are going to make mistakes when you’re in training, and a lot of them at that. It would be unwise not to expect these moments to occur. Thankfully, mistakes—and even failures—can be valuable lessons to rookie truckers. You will gain far more knowledge from these unexpected mishaps since experiences like these teach you how to handle certain situations outside of a training course. They can also provide you with other, necessary life skills that make truckers’ jobs far easier like time management, communication, and flexibility.
With that being said, as a rookie truck driver you also should always be expecting the unexpected. The world of trucking is a very dynamic environment, and you will certainly have to be flexible if you want to keep up. You may have to delay a shipment due to a mechanical problem in your truck or there might be a traffic problem on the road. One of your shipments might get cancelled, and you’ll only find out when you have arrived at the loading dock to deliver it. You could be 1000 miles down the road just to find that another receiver has asked you to deliver their shipment as soon as possible, and you get re-routed. As unfortunate as these moments are, they will happen to you and they will most likely not be because of anything that is in your control. When you find yourself here, get in the habit of letting go. Expecting the unexpected and staying flexible will be much more helpful to you in the ever-changing environment of a transportation company than trying to make new situations adapt to old plans and stubborn habits.
3: Don’t Let Your Ego Get in the Way.
While there are some new drivers who have stubborn tendencies, there are also some rookie truckers who tend to overestimate themselves as well as some who are considered perfectionists. These two traits can harm your learning experience just as much as stubbornness can. In fact, it is often the case that overconfident drivers will make far more mistakes than they ever expected that they would, while perfectionist drivers will be petrified by any mistake whatsoever when it comes to learning to drive commercially.
4: Keep an Open Mind.
As we mentioned earlier, truck driving is very demanding work in most aspects of life. You may not have the time you hoped you would to explore your interests and hobbies outside of work during your first year on the job. You also may not get the exact hours, pay, or schedule that you wanted when you first start out, either, but with an open mind you can look at these situations in a better light.
You may not get that dream pay and schedule, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t ever. Once you gain more experience under your current schedule, you can begin to raise your worth as a driver. So, while it may not be your ideal situation, you should still keep an open mind and see where your current circumstances take you.
And while it is true that you may not have as much time as you were hoping for to explore your other hobbies and interests, you will find that your new career in transportation may lead you to developing new interests you never thought to explore before. Just like you should try to be a flexible driver on the road in your job, you should also be flexible with the road in your personal life, too. You may be at “Point A” and know that you want to get to “Point B,” but you don’t know what the road has in store along the way. Keep an open mind, and you may find your routes to your destination are endless and exciting.
5: Take Every Opportunity to Learn.
If you have to take your truck into the shop, take some time to walk around, look at the various parts, and see what your mechanic is doing. Don’t be afraid to ask them a lot of questions about your rig, either. Chat with your dispatcher, too. See how they do their job and ask them about any of the ridiculous things other truck drivers have done. Not only are these stories wildly entertaining, but they can also give you some helpful hints on how to avoid the mistakes they might have made. Who knows, perhaps these conversations can help you find another interest in the transportation industry you may not have thought about before.
Regardless, this is great advice for any trucker, no matter how much or how little experience they have. We all have to work together under the same transportation company, so we only help each other by learning from each other and passing down the information we wish we had had when we were rookie truckers ourselves.
Bonus: Choose the Right Trucking Company.
Whether your niche is in overhaul, flatbed trucking, or warehousing, Roane Transportation has a job for you and wants to help you take your next step in your career. Our local, regional, and national flatbed fleets have excellent safety records so you can trust that we will offer you unmatched dedication, so you can trust that you will successfully get to where you need to go and complete your hauls on time. This is further backed by our company promise of weekly home time and industry leading pay, because we know our drivers cannot do their best if they aren’t at their best. If you’re ready to grow in your career as a new truck driver, visit our new drivers page on our website and fill out an application to be a part of one of our local, regional, or national flatbed fleets today.