Compared to driving a passenger vehicle, driving an 18-wheeler is a whole new ballgame. You may have spent months learning how to drive a truck, but when you’re out on the road on your own, you don’t have an instructor by your side giving you tips or pointing out your mistakes.
Now that you’ve landed your first trucking job, here are seven mistakes you should avoid:
- Not asking for help.
Just because you have a CDL and a trucking job, doesn’t mean you know all there is to know about trucking. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This will help you avoid making mistakes that will take considerably more time to fix. At your first job, find out who you can turn to with questions.
- Following poor advice.
It can’t hurt to ask for advice, but it’s important to know who to turn to for advice. Whatever advice you get, do your research and use your better judgement to decide if you should take the advice.
- Expecting too much.
Trucking has its own unique challenges. You’re away from home for weeks at a time and driving in all sorts of road and weather conditions. Set expectations that you can attain at your level and don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Not following safety rules.
There’s a reason why your driving instructor was a stickler on safety. Safety practices are designed to protect you and other drivers on the road. Just because you don’t have anyone watching your every move doesn’t mean you should cut corners. Skipping one step in pre- and post-trip inspections could cost you your life.
- Pushing past your limits.
Self-care may sound like a luxury that only Instagram influencers have time for, but if you don’t look after your health, no one else will. Though there are restrictions in place to limit how many hours you can drive per week, you don’t need to hit the max every week.
- Failing to stay organized.
Paperwork is something every truck driver would love to avoid, but if you don’t stay organized then you’ll have to put in extra work to clear up the mess. Don’t procrastinate on paperwork. Make it a habit to fill out paperwork as soon as you can.
- Overspending on food at truck stops.
A snack here and there, or a dinner at a nice restaurant can really add up and cause you to spend more than you earn. Pack food and snacks in advance so you can eat healthy and within budget.