5 Tips for New Drivers
Truck driving can be an extremely rewarding career but as a new driver, it may seem intimidating. Learning new skills and adjusting to a different lifestyle can seem overwhelming and daunting. If you just started truck driving, here are five tips that will help you be successful as you start your new career.
It Takes Time
Even as much as we would like it to, becoming a highly-skilled, experienced driver won’t happen overnight. While you will have gained many great skills during CDL training, you will still need time to feel more comfortable behind the wheel. You will be placed with a trainer and given plenty of time to build your confidence. Don’t worry if you aren’t feeling totally comfortable on your first run, after a few weeks with a trainer by your side, you will start feeling more like an experienced driver. If you find yourself feeling uncertain about your skill levels, don’t be too hard on yourself. Learning something new takes time!
Maintaining your workflow and making sure you are on time for each load is a very important aspect of your new career. Being punctual is a necessary quality to have when working in the trucking industry. Shippers and receivers work on tight schedules and if one part of the distribution chain is late, it often creates a domino effect, impacting the entire rest of the chain.
Completing your loads on time will also help you maintain a better score in Elite Awards and help you earn free prizes. If making a good impression on customers or your manager is not very motivating for you, let the possibility of earning free prizes in Elite Awards be your motivation. The better your On-Time score, the more status points you will receive, helping you reach another status level and more prizes!
Communication is Key
Drivers that are unable to communicate and get along with their manager or dispatcher tend to get frustrated easily. It is important that you work on building a relationship and a mutual respect with your manager. When you can get along well and communicate clearly with your manager, you will feel less stressed.
Not only do you need to communicate with your manager, but you should also practice good communication skills with shippers, customers, and fellow drivers. Overall good communication is an important skill to have in any career. Being able to check in, address your concerns, or relay important information is vital in having a successful truck driving career.
Build a Safety Mentality Now
When you first begin driving, make an effort to practice safe driving techniques now, so that they soon can become a habit. If you can get in the mindset of never compromising your safety early on in your career, then you will better your chances of working safe and returning home safe. We of course understand that there are incidences and factors that are out of your control, but it is important that you learn to always be safe in the things you can control. Starting your career off with a safety mindset will serve you well for the rest of your career.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
If you feel like you don’t quite understand the method of backing, turning, or any other area in driving, inform an instructor, trainer, or fellow driver. There will always be someone who can go through a technique again, give you some pointers, and help boost your confidence. If you don’t ask for help, we can’t help you. You will avoid a lot of potential unfavorable situations if you practice and ask for help, and you will be far more successful. Sometimes all it takes is having someone explain a technique to you in a different way or practicing it a few more times for it to make sense. There is nothing wrong with asking for help and you should feel comfortable reaching out when you have a question.
Finally, being a successful driver doesn’t just happen behind the wheel. Being reliable, self-dependent, staying alert, courteous, and having a good attitude will help you be successful in your career and beyond.