Many experienced truck drivers will tell you it’s the best job they have had. However, it’s a challenging one that involves determination, hard work, a positive approach, and commitment to succeed. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for many rookie truck drivers to make mistakes that lead to their downfall well before their career takes off. Here are some common mistakes that new truck drivers should avoid.
1. Not Being Prepared For the Challenge That Lies Before Them
Many new truck drivers aren’t fully prepared for the challenges of the job. Not only is the task physically challenging, but emotionally and mentally too. There will be times when novice truck drivers can’t handle the strain and consider quitting. But all the pain and challenges are temporary; perseverance and a great attitude go a long way in helping you overcome these hurdles.
If you persist, you will learn time management skills, become more familiar with roadways and learn how to find the perfect parking spot in the busiest spaces while handling your 80,000 pounds, 70-foot long truck correctly. As you build experience and confidence, the stress will ultimately subside.
2. Having a Romanticized Expectation of Trucking
Many new truck divers paint a pretty picture in their head about what heavy-haul trucking is all about. But if you want to get through your rookie year in this space, you need to have a clear idea of what trucking is all about. You will have to deal with extreme weather and road conditions and be uncomfortable in a blizzard or thunderstorm because you can’t find a restroom and more.
You would have to deal with many big and small frustrations, and the path to being a heavy-truck driver isn’t lined with roses. It’s essential to get rid of the romanticized expectation you have of being a heavy-haul truck driver. The trucking environment is highly dynamic, and you can survive it only if you are tough, willing to learn, adapt, and evolve.
3. Worrying About Things You Have No Control Over
There will be several situations that crop up, which you will have absolutely no control over. If you lose sleep and stress over them, then this job isn’t for you. Learn how to handle demanding situations and stresses without breaking. The only way you can survive this job and make a successful career from being a truck driver is to keep a handle on your anger. Push frustration away, think clearly, and learn to resolve challenges as they come along, without stressing over them too much.
4. Being Over-Confident
A truck driver must be confident, but if you are arrogant, that will lead to grief. If you are overconfident, you will struggle and may also end up having more accidents. Just because you fared very well in CDL school and had no accidents while in training doesn’t mean you have to don a cloak of arrogance and expect a sky-high starting pay.
Most rookie drivers will have some accidents in the first 100,000 miles they are on the road. The truck company they work for ends up paying for the damages their drivers cause. If, as a rookie, you are expecting a higher pay, it’s a big mistake you would be making.
5. Not Conducting Regular Truck Maintenance
Another common mistake is not paying enough attention to truck maintenance and just believing that it’s the company’s job. As the truck driver you need to conduct basic maintenance checks on your truck and ensure that you get the vehicle serviced regularly at a certified truck service center like TMS Truckmaster.
These are just some of the mistakes that rookie drivers make and should be avoided. Becoming a skilled and intuitive truck driver takes time, and you need to go through the learning phase positively, confidently, yet humbly to succeed in your career.