Are you thinking about becoming a truck driver? Many people are quitting their regular jobs and turning to truck driver work right now, and it’s easy to see why when you look at the benefits of this type of work. Currently, there is a lot of work available for truck drivers, and you can become your own boss and enjoy being out and about each day instead of being cooped up at work (or at home). While there are many perks to truck driver work, you will also find that it can be challenging—particularly when you first get started. With this in mind, here are a few tips that should help.
Develop Your Driving Abilities And Confidence
First, you need to take steps to become a better driver. The bulk of the job is spending time behind the wheel, and driving a truck is a lot different to driving a car. This is why you should work on your truck-driving abilities, including taking a defensive driving course that will help you to become a safer and better driver. This should also help to improve your confidence behind the wheel, which is a quality that every truck driver must possess if they are to find success and enjoy the work.
Know Basic Truck Maintenance
It is also important to know basic truck maintenance that will allow you to keep your vehicle in the best condition. There are many basic tasks that you can do yourself, but you also need to have a reliable garage that you can take the vehicle to if it needs work. Basic truck maintenance should also include a pre-trip and post-trip inspection, which should help you to identify if there are any problems with the vehicle that need addressing before you get behind the wheel again.
Don’t Take On More Than You Can Handle
One of the biggest mistakes that new truck drivers make when getting started is taking on too much work. As you are earning for the amount of work that you put in, the temptation is to take on as much work as possible. This is not a good idea, though, as you might struggle to make deadlines and end up driving unsafely—as well as exhausting yourself. Instead, start off with a manageable workload so that you can meet each deadline comfortably, build experience, and develop a positive reputation.
Take Regular Breaks
Leading on from this, you must also make sure that you are taking regular breaks while driving. Truck driving can require a lot of time behind the wheel, so it is important to break the driving up and make sure that you are getting out and stretching your legs from time to time. In addition to this, you also need to stay hydrated and have food in the truck that can tide you over (it is also a good idea to stop off for hot meals when you can). You must also make sure that you are getting enough sleep and never driving when drowsy—this is one of the main reasons why truck drivers get into accidents, and it can be incredibly dangerous for you and other road users.
Prioritize Customer Service
While most of the job involves spending time behind the wheel, you will find that the human contact at the start and end of the job is just as important as the driving (if not more). You need to make sure that you are providing excellent customer service beyond simply making deliveries on time, as this is how you develop a positive reputation and find ongoing work. This means that you need to be friendly yet professional when engaging with others and making sure that you are making a positive impression.
Use Load Boards To Find Work
When you are just getting started as a truck driver, it can be hard to find work. Although there is a lot of delivery work out there, you will find that those with more experience and a positive reputation will secure a lot of this work. Fortunately, there is an excellent solution to this in the form of load boards at companies such as Truckstop.com. You can browse and bid on a huge selection of jobs available, which can make it much easier to find continuous work and routes suited to you. For a beginner, this can be a great way to build experience and ensure that you are always able to earn.
Use Route Planning Software
You must also make sure that you are using advanced route planning software that will give you the best route to your destination, taking account of important factors such as the weather and traffic. As a truck driver, you do not want to have to worry about finding the best route, and route planning software can take the stress out of this so that you can focus entirely on driving and on the road ahead of you. Additionally, when you are making multiple deliveries, you will find that route planning can become complex so the software will make it much easier.
Make Safety A Priority
As with any kind of driving job, your priority must be safety. Truck driving can be dangerous if you are not careful, so you need to make sure that you can protect yourself and other road users. In addition to being a safe driver, this will include factors such as never rushing, avoiding distractions, taking regular breaks, truck maintenance, and using a vehicle that has safety tech installed.
This post should come in handy for any new truck driver who is looking to excel in their new role. There are many perks to being a truck driver, and it can be an enjoyable way to make a living for anyone who enjoys driving; but it is also a challenging role and it can be hard when you are just getting started. These tips should help you to hit the ground running, build your skills, and find the experience that will help you to succeed.