Over the past few weeks, we've been talking with Tim about how he got started in trucking and what his journey has been like so far. Today, Tim's going to give some advice on three things that are very important to those starting truck driving jobs. These 3 things are often overlooked, paying attention to them, managining them, and making the most of them can make a huge difference in your success.
1. Lifestyle Adjustment
Q: What tips do you have for adjusting to the new lifestyle that truck driving presents?
A: The easiest way to make the adjustment is just to jump right in, because if you’re hesitant towards leaving home or being inside of a truck 24/7 for days and weeks at a time, it might not ever be enjoyable for you. But if you jump right in, hit the open road going at 8, 9, 10 hours a day, stopping some place at night at a little rest stop, and maybe going to some little event they’ve got going on or something, it will be pleasant.
My first run I did, I left Van Buren, Arkansas and I went to Charlotte, North Carolina and I stopped at a little bitty town in Tennessee on the way. They were having their little town fair, and it gave me a hometown feel that made me feel not so far from home. I was talking to my wife on the phone telling her what I was doing, and at the same time, they were doing the same type thing in my hometown so it made my wife and I feel a lot more connected.
There are tons of things to do; you just have to be able to find them. There’s not a lot of places you can take a big truck, BUT, there’s always something going on. Like yesterday, my trainee and I were in New York, and they were having their big county fair right outside of Syracuse. If we had time, we could’ve stopped and done everything there was to do at the county fair because it was right off the interstate with enough room to park a truck.
2. Truck Driver Health
Q: What tips do you have for staying healthy on the road?
A: As far as health and wellness, watch what you eat! If you’re constantly going and getting a big huge burger, it’s not ever going to be healthy for ya. As far as that goes, truck stops have Subway, Arby’s, and all sorts of fast food, but if you change it up now and then, it helps regulate your diet.
Or you can bring your own food with you. Bring fruits and veggies. I have veggies on my truck and I’ll bring apples and bananas sometimes.
Get out and walk! The easiest thing is to park at the back of a truck stop when you park so it’s further to walk. I’ll park at rest areas, and a lot of them have a 1 to 2 mile walking trail, so I’ll go for a one mile walk every day. That helps keep me healthy too.
Q: Are you seeing many truck stops with exercise equipment?
A: Some places have a fitness area in the truck stop, and that helps out a lot too. The biggest thing is to climb in and out of the truck and do some walking. Don’t stay shut up in the truck – at least get out and do a little walk, even if it’s just from the back of the parking lot, to the front, and back again.
3. Setting Goals
Q: Overall, what would you tell someone wanting to get into truck driving or someone looking at USA Truck and wanting to follow in your path?
A: I’d say that if you’ve got someone looking to get into the industry, as far as training companies go (Warner, Swift, Prime, Schneider, etc), the best place to get your training and get started is USA Truck.
They’ve redone their training program so it’s more student oriented. It’s more focused on getting them to learn as much as possible with a trainer so that they don’t worry as much when they get on their own because they’ve already had an experienced driver train them. On a scale of 1-10, I’d give USA a 9.5 as far as a company to start out with.
Q: What are your future truck driving goals?
A: As long as USA Truck stays a great company like it is now, I’ll stay as long as I can. Or at least until my wife tells me to come home and be a stay-at-home dad. Until one of those two happens, I’m sold.
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