If you are new to driving big rigs, here are tips to help get your career rolling and put it into high gear as quickly as possible.
Logging long hours on the road can make staying healthy a universal challenge for truck drivers. Developing good health habits is necessary for maintaining proper weight, and staying in peak physical condition. Besides the obvious personal benefits of staying fit, good health habits prevent or minimize illnesses and injury that keep you off the road and put the brakes on your career.
A great website to follow on this topic is Healthy Trucker. They have lots of health and lifestyle tips all focused on truck drivers. For instance, eating healthy is tough to do on the road, but this article about making better fast food choices can help you eliminate thousands of calories every week.
By staying fit, you’ll be able to take on harder assignments and longer routes — making you more desirable and opening more high-paying opportunities. Staying healthy is a gift that keeps on giving, too — you’ll be physically able to extend your career over many more years if you choose to do so.
Drive with a Destination in Mind
As you begin your career, think about the type of career you want to develop. Do you want to drive for a company for a long time? Are you interested in being an independent driver, owning your own truck?
If you want to work for a company long term, benefits, pension plans and financial stability are critical factors to consider. If you’re ultimate goal is to own your own truck, the initial salary and learning potential are more important.
For drivers looking to work independently, it’s essential to learn the business side of trucking: accounting, fuel mileage tracking, maintenance tracking, expense tracking, tax reporting, and profit and loss calculation. Knowing about these items will also prove helpful if you work for a company long term.
Every reputable trucking company on earth makes safety its No. 1 priority. If you demonstrate a serious commitment to safe hauling, you will be in high demand as either an independent driver or part of a company team.
Never cut corners with safety. It may be tempting to do so, in order to make a delivery a little quicker or save a little money. However, the risk is never worth the reward.
Instead, be methodical before you hit the road, and while driving. Check your rig carefully to make sure it is running properly, especially brakes, turn signals, lights and other safety-related items. Make sure you have all necessary safety equipment, like spare tires, flares, chains, etc. Keep in mind spare parts and accessories for your truck can be ordered online, so you are never more than an Internet connection away from any safety item you need.
Practice all — not most — good safety habits on the road. They are all important, but perhaps the most crucial are not driving while fatigued, not driving while distracted, and of course not driving while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug.
Congratulations on becoming a driver. It is a great career, giving you a lot of independence and responsibility. The future for truck driving looks great, too, because there never seem to be enough drivers to meet the demand. Follow these tips and you will become a highly sought-after driver. Good luck!
Scott has over 15 years of experience, specifically working for the service center at Raney’s. He has been in the hydraulics industry for about 40 years.