So, you decided to become a truck driver. After earning your CDL certification, you’re ready. Of course, like any new job, there are going to be some essential considerations to make. It’s okay to be nervous as long as you understand the expectations of the role. Still, it also helps to learn some of the most important first-year tips for new truck drivers to ensure you’re ready for the road.
As required for your job, it’s important to gain as much driving experience as you can. The more experience gained from short or long-haul driving, the more confidence and comfort you feel on the job. As you can imagine, driving a semi or long-haul trailer is a big effort. While you’ve practiced and earned your CDL, which certifies you’re legally capability to maneuver these vehicles, you’re still new to on-road travel. All told, the more driving you do, the better you’ll become.
Adjust To the Schedule
Of course, truck driving is not your typical 9 to 5 job. For many new drivers, adjusting to the schedule is the hardest change. Truck driving is a lifestyle as much as it is a profession. Over-the-road hauling (OTR) specifically requires traveling long distances while hauling heavy machinery, vehicles, construction materials, or other large freight. You’re easily looking at more than 40-hour workweeks. Talk with your family if you need to set new schedules and make the appropriate adjustments. Otherwise, prepare yourself mentally and physically for the duties before you.
Hire Legal Representation
Truck driving is a profession at the end of the day. Therefore, one of the most important first-year tips for new truck drivers is to have legal representation. There are many reasons to hire a traffic ticket attorney, but ultimately, having some type of legal representative protects your CDL record and career. These attorneys provide further legal advice, help prevent speeding, logbook, lane-change, weight, and traffic violations, and ensure overall protection against improper driving. Since you’re new to the job, incidents may happen. After all, there’s a learning curve to any new job, especially for truck drivers. Protect your record by having legal representation at the ready, just in case.
Take Care of Yourself
At the end of the day, the most you can do is effectively carry out your expected job tasks. That doesn’t mean you should neglect your mental health, though. Remember to breathe. Take your appropriate breaks when needed and eat well. One of the biggest mistakes new truck drivers make on the job is creating unhealthy patterns in their diet and rest. Though fast food is a quick and easy way to feed yourself on the road, you should be cautious and limit your intake. The last thing you want is to feel sluggish, lethargic, and unequipped for the drive.