CDL training will teach you the basics of truck driving, but there are many things that are much easier to pick up on through real world experience. During your first year in the truck driving industry, you'll learn many lessons that will be vital to your success as a driver. We asked our Driver Solutions Facebook fans to share some of the most important lessons they've learned during their travels and experiences as truck drivers. Here are some of their words of wisdom!
1. Plan Ahead
The importance of planning ahead is a lesson you’ll learn quickly as a truck driver. Failure to plan will most likely result in a short-lived experience with the truck driving industry. You must plan everything accordingly – from when you’ll arrive at shippers and receivers to what you’ll bring along with you for dinner. Planning is a must. “What other types of things should I plan for,” you ask?
- Plan when you’ll leave home to pick up your load
- Plan when you’ll arrive at the shipper
- Plan what you’re going to bring along with you on your trip
- Plan your driving route
- Plan where you’re going to stop during your trip
- Plan your hours and when you’ll need to stop for breaks
- Plan when you’ll arrive at the receiver
- Plan when you’ll pick up your next load
- Plan when you’ll get home again
- Plan how you’ll spend your time at home
As you can probably tell, it will not bode well for you to “just wing it” in this career. Ask any driver out there how much planning goes into one trip. The answer is, "a lot."
2. Time is Everything
When asked, most truck drivers will tell you that the most important aspects of the job are safety and time management. Time is everything in this career. DO. NOT. BE. LATE. Remember the lesson above and make a plan to ensure that you arrive on time. In fact, make a plan to be early. Being on time makes you (and your company) look good, and increases your chances of earning promotions, pay raises, and better company jobs. Having good time management skills means not only arriving to your destination on schedule, but also making the most of your down time. Take advantage of your home time and utilize your down time at truck stops wisely.
3. Trucking is Crucial to the Economy
You've probably heard it said before that truckers are crucial to the economy. This could not be more true, as most everything moves by truck. In fact, did you know 10 billion tons of commodities are delivered by truck every single year? Semi trucks transport the highest amount of goods in the nation, at 70 percent. Can you imagine what would happen to society if there were no trucks to deliver these goods?
All goods must be transported in order for businesses and the economy to run efficiently. This makes truck driving a very high-demand job and as you can imagine, makes truck drivers a necessity in order to keep society and the economy running smoothly.
4. Patience is Key
Truck driving is not a job for the impatient. It's a career that involves a lot of waiting. Waiting to pick up your load, waiting to deliver that load, waiting for a new assignment, waiting for a shower... all that waiting can get tiresome! But you should be prepared for this when you enter the industry. If you allow yourself to become frustrated every time you have to wait on something or someone, truck driving is going to be a difficult job and probably will not be very rewarding for you. Patience is a virtue, you know.
What lessons have you learned during your travels as a truck driver? Share them with us in the comments below!