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Truck Driving Tips for Beginners

Every year thousands of truckers sabotage their driving careers before they ever actually begin. When it comes to entry level truck driving jobs, no experience may be needed, however, there are some tips that will come in handy when you start your career on the road.

Don’t panic when you get lost

Every driver gets lost once in a while, and when you do, it’s important to keep these tips in mind:

  • Relax and don’t panic. Getting in a panic will likely get you even more lost and increase your chances of getting in an accident. Accidents cause drivers to rush and either turn around in a space too small or fail to see an obstacle. When you get lost, find a safe place to pull over before looking at your directions. Find out where you are and where you need to get to, and how you are going to get there.
  • Unless you are positive you are taking truck routes, don’t rely on Google Maps or any other car-based GPS system for navigation. A car-based system can put you in places that will likely not be able to accommodate your truck. Your best friend in this situation is your Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas.
  • Additional tips include:
    • There is a chance your company directions may be wrong. If this happens, call the shipper or the consignee, they may be able to point you in the right direction.
    • If you have a CB radio, you can call out to a local driver and ask for help.
    • Before you head out on your trip, familiarize yourself with your route as much as possible.

Rest is your best ally

When it comes to truck driving jobs, no experience is needed to know that rest is your best ally. The more exhausted you get, the less efficient and more dangerous you become to yourself and others on the road.

  • If you get to a shipper, only to realize the load is going to take a few hours, take a nap! Even ten minutes rest is better than no rest at all.
  • When you are over-tired, pull the truck over in a safe place and get out for a few minutes. Do jumping jacks, splash some water on your face, get the blood flowing and your eyes open!
  • Don’t abuse caffeine or any other substance. Caffeine may keep you awake but it will not keep you alert and it will only last so long before making you crash.
  • Never drive if you are too tired. Pull over and go to sleep. Anything is better than falling asleep at the wheel!

Don’t forget to communicate

For new truck drivers, only experience can prepare you for things that may go wrong. You are going to have days when you need help, or days when you’re simply getting lonely. When this happens:

  • If you have an issue with a load or any other difficult circumstance, tell your company right away and be honest what is happening. Speak in a calm and professional tone, and work with your manager to find a solution. You are more likely to get help, develop good relationships within your company and find out what to do the next time you are faced with the same problem.
  • Communicate with your loved ones and do so on a regular basis. Everyone needs human contact. Make sure to never go too long without talking to someone, even if it’s an old trucking buddy.

You’re working hard when you’re out there, so give yourself a break when you need it and treat yourself every once in awhile. After six months in the trucking industry, you will realize you are in control of your own success. Until then, these tips will help you adapt to a difficult yet rewarding lifestyle. Search CDL Job Now to find entry level CDL jobs.