Being the newbie trucker can sometimes be hard, from learning how to acquire your CDL license to actually getting behind the wheel and delivering your first load. Are there any unspoken rules you need to know? Any tips for being more efficient in getting to and fro your destination? Yes and yes. Read on for the best advice we can jam into one blog post on how to adjust to the trucker's lifestyle.
One of your biggest concerns as you try to survive the first few weeks of life as a trucker is safety. Practicality goes a long way here. Maneuver slowly through work zones. Beware of other drivers in your blind spots. Above all, drive defensively.
Before you hit the road for the first time, you might also want to make sure your cab is stocked with all of the trucker essentials, including a trucker's map, a truck stop guide (or just search online), and, of course, a CB radio. Also consider investing in a GPS unit, if one doesn’t come with your rig. Other tools you might find handy are just the regular items you might carry in your personal truck, like jumper cables, scissors, a calculator, a wrench and screwdrivers. You never know when you might need them, or for what reason.
Novice drivers should do their best to stay on top of the latest rules, regulations, and issues affecting the trucking industry, so consider joining the American Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, or another trucking organization for news and support.
But all of what has been mentioned so far is just for starters. Beyond that, perhaps the best advice we can offer is to find an experienced mentor who give you real-world, day-to-day insight into the trucking lifestyle. There are many such “day-in-the-life” stories, as one veteran trucker from Louisiana offers. Over the years, he can pretty well estimate how long it will take him to get to where he needs to go, where the truck stops will be along the way, and the obstacles he might experience in his trip. There is a lot to learn, so don’t hesitate to save yourself some newbie errors and hassle by picking the brain of someone who‘s been there and done that. Another Wisconsin-based trucker who’s an old hand offers a practical but all-important tip, which new trucking professionals should take heed: make sure you get a good night’s rest.