After completing trucking school, you’ll be ready to hit the open road in a big rig. But even with the proper training, you may find that adjusting to your new career takes time and dedication. As you embark on your new life as a truck driver, here are a few tips that can help the ride go smoothly.
Essential Tips for New Truck Drivers
1. Establish Work-Life Expectations
The trucking industry is known for its unusual work hours. For example, some drivers may be away from home for days at a time to complete a cross-country trip. Others may specialize solely in overnight hauls. Whatever the circumstances, it’s important that you and your family understand and agree to the terms of the new schedule. While adjusting to a home life routine may be tough, setting expectations early can make the process easier on you and your loved ones.
2. Review Payment Terms
Before you sign a contract, it is critical that you are clear on the terms of payment. Depending on the company you work for, you may end up receiving a specific pay per mile or hourly. Understanding these specifics will allow you to calculate an anticipated salary and ensure enough money for your needs.
3. Solve Problems With Patience
Even with the lessons you learned in trucking school, there will be times when you encounter problems on the road. If you’re inexperienced with the issue, remember to be patient, as rushing through or getting frustrated can make matters worse. Instead, always assess the problem carefully and contact a more experienced driver or dispatcher that can offer advice.
4. Understand Unloading Terms
“Drop and hook” refers to jobs where your cargo is unloaded at the site and replaced with an empty trailer. “Live loads and unloads” are when the warehouse takes out the cargo while the driver waits for the trailer to be emptied. For a faster turnaround, the former is usually ideal for drivers.
5. Take Breaks
According to the Department of Transportation, driver fatigue is one of the top factors contributing to large truck crashes. Never drive unless you are well-rested and alert. While it may seem tempting to work extra to complete a haul or earn additional income, sacrificing sleep can end up costing your job and health.
When you want to hit the road with confidence, getting the right training can make all the difference. That’s why new professionals turn to the trucking school at Professional Driver Institute. Located in Churchville, NY, they are licensed and accredited and offer a variety of beginner and refresher courses to help you become a safe and informed professional. To learn more about their flexible programs, visit the trucking school online. For questions about enrollment, call a representative at (585) 293-1203.