The trucking industry has been going through some changes recently. With a shortage of drivers, comes higher pay and benefits. This will create an uptick in fresh drivers for the road. A rookie mistake can be costly, so try your best to avoid them.
Trucking takes 100% focus 100% of the time. It takes hard work, dedication, and commitment in order to advance your career in the trucking industry. Many new drivers don’t get off the ground before their career ever starts. That is why we decided to help make a list to help new drivers from making these mistakes.
Rookie Mistake #1 – Being Unprepared
Trucking is a challenging endeavor. Even driving across the country in a small car can be difficult. Now, imagine you have a huge vehicle that is carrying a heavy load. That changes things. Now, imagine there is a blizzard happening on your trip. It is going to happen and the best method for tackling these situations is simply thinking ahead and being prepared.
Having the right supplies can be a lifesaver in case of emergencies. Keeping track of current weather patterns, and traffic on your route will also save you time, stress, frustration, and your life as well as others. Get familiar with the roadways and spot out parking even in high-traffic locations. Saying “I’ll just wing it” is the biggest rookie mistake of all.
You worked hard to obtain your CDL license, now you need to work harder. Communicate well with your dispatcher and understand what they expect from you. You have the knowledge to tackle most issues and depending on where you received your license, you may know more than the trucker next to you, but don’t get cocky.
Rookie Mistake #2 – Not Expecting the Unexpected
It’s your first year on the open road. Prior to this moment, you had your initial thoughts and now that you are behind the wheel of your own truck, the view looks a little different. Your area has changed, and you are facing new and different drivers from all over the country.
You are going to face nights where the wind will almost blow your truck off the road, there will be nights where you are sleeping in below-freezing temperatures, and there will be days where the traffic sucks so bad, you’ll want to slap the driver in front of you.
Situations can change in an instant and you need to be on top of it. You will be delayed. You will sometimes even find that upon your arrival, you find out that your load was canceled. Trucking is an exceptionally dynamic work environment, but that can also be what appeals to many prospecting truck drivers.
Flexibility is key. Being aware and alert to make the right decision will help keep your driving career intact. Problem-solving is a must when you are on the road and that is because at times it is just three of you – yourself, your truck and the road.
Running into these issues and finding ways to solve them fast and effectively will help give you insights if they are to arise again. Being able to identify mistakes has helped many a rookie transition into a well-seasoned trucker.
You Don’t Know Everything
As a rookie, there is absolutely no possible way that you know more than someone who has been in the industry for over a decade…or longer. A know-it-all thinks too highly for their place, and although suggestions are helpful, taking it too far by suggesting they know more is more hurtful than helpful. A first-year rookie will make mistakes if they have a hard time listening.
The job itself will leave a trucker exhausted, so the big goal is staying focused on what you need. The trucking industry is a 24-hour work schedule and will constantly ebb-and-flow.
Take every chance you can to learn something new. Become a sponge for everything trucking. Listen to every story, all advice and anything else that can be useful for your foreseeable trucking career.