A wise trucker once said that the first year on the road isn’t about the money, it’s about survival—And those who have made it past their first year on the road know just how true that statement is. Life on the road is not for the weak of heart, but regrettably, a lot of drivers fail before they get all 18 wheels spinning down the freeway.
So why do so many rookie drivers fail? Perhaps it’s the long hours along with your thoughts, or maybe new drivers simply get lonely. There are plenty of things that could hinder your love for the open road, so we’ve put together some tricks to make your rookie year the first of many memorable years to come.
5 Things First Year Drivers Should Know
Don’t be distant with dispatch: Your dispatcher is like the holy grail of loads, and loads = miles = money. Ask your dispatcher how their day is going, or what they plan to do during the holiday weekend. Above all, work to build a genuine relationship, not solely dishing out compliments for the sake of gaining mileage.
Prepare food on the road: Poor health and minimal exercise are two of biggest challenges faced by on the road truckers. Something as simple as taking a 15-minute walk before a long drive will do wonders for your physical and mental health. Some drivers even recommend taking a crockpot on the road for healthy, homestyle meals.
Never refuse a load: If you’ve come down with pneumonia, that’s one thing, but don’t be quick to turn down driving opportunities. Truck drivers need to be dedicated, and refusing a load can show a serious lack of motivation and work ethic. Stay motivated, and get excited—Hard work pays off, I promise.
Remember that hard work actually pays off: Trucking is an industry where hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. When on the road, you will only get what you give. If you exude minimal effort, you’ll get minimum reward. But put in 110% and you’ll be rewarded and feel valued.
Don’t choose time over safety: Sure, we want to impress the first week on the job, but that can happen without risking anyone’s personal safety. Although it’s great to be early, the safety risk just isn’t worth the rushing. Be safe, watch out for other drivers, and enjoy the ride.
It goes without saying that truck drivers are tough, and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be successful in the industry. Just remember that if you make it though your rookie year with a good work ethic and respect for the industry, you’ll soon understand the affinity of the open road.