Advice for New Truckers
Becoming a truck driver is one of the most rewarding career paths in the country. Whether you’re a new truck driving school graduate or about to finish, or even if you’re just considering a career as a truck driver, some helpful OTR truck driving tips from the experts can go a long way. Read on to get our best advice for new truckers and find out what it’s like to become a trucker in 2021.
As with many things in life, having the right attitude will get you quite far. The same is true for truck driving. This career path can be quite rewarding, especially being able to see the country, but like anything, it also has its challenges. Over-the-road (OTR) truckers can be away from family for long periods of time, the distance between yourself and loved ones can seem too far, and it can be easy to lose sight of your overall goals. Keeping a positive attitude is something many truckers take years to learn. Not only does a positive attitude keep your brain and body happy, but it also keeps you hungry for more.
Know Your Goals
More geared toward your overall trucking career, knowing your truck driving goals will help you when researching potential employers and jobs. Are you looking for high income and great benefits? Do you prefer long-haul or short drives? What’s the maximum length of time you’re willing to be away from family? When you’re looking for a future employer, keep Nextran in mind. Remember your goals and let us lead you in the right direction.
The First Year is Tough
Leading up to graduation you’ll be confident in all the skills you’ve learned, from driving the truck to understanding all the regulations and more. Once you get out on the road, you’ll get a chance to use all you’ve learned. Read through these OTR trucking tips to help you with the transition.
Staying alert keeps you safe, and it keeps the drivers around you safe, too. If you don’t already have a hands-free set for your phone and dashboard devices, pick them up pronto. Avoid distractions while on the road so you can focus on what’s ahead.
Planning ahead is one of the most important things you can do. Plan your route before stepping foot in your truck cab so you know where you’re going and how you’ll get there. This includes any overnight stops, food and fuel breaks, and other needs you might have along the way.
Know Your Vehicle
Once you leave the practice truck at school, you’ll get your own truck. Get to know it front to back. The time to figure out what that dashboard light means is not while you’re on the road. Know how long it takes to stop fully loaded, fully unloaded, and at various weight loads. Know how to check your brakes, what low tire pressure looks and feels like, and when the oil needs to be changed. Not only will this keep you and those around you safe, but it’ll help you identify issues before they become a problem.
Set a goal for your first month, your first year, and beyond, and make them bite-sized so that they’re easy to accomplish. A great first-year goal is to learn to manage your time effectively. With all the different things you’ll be doing, keep tabs on how long each takes you and work that into your schedule. Another goal might include how many hours you want to spend driving. Make sure this is realistic and something you can achieve while being fully rested and fueled (body and truck) for the road ahead. Keep your goals realistic so you stay motivated and keep reaching forward.
Truck driving in 2021 and beyond will only become more and more fulfilling. As you start your career, stay optimistic, keep an open mind and build your reputation to be as good as it can be. Keep these pieces of advice in mind as you start your career and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a truck driver your employer – and the country – can depend on.