Ask Wayne: The Importance Of Your First OTR Trainer

Wayne Cragg was a driver for USA Truck during 2012-2013.  Below are his thoughts and experiences driving for the company during that time.  The views and opinions expressed below are his and not representative of those of Driver Solutions.  

In April of 2015, Driver Solutions and USA Truck mutually agreed to dissolve their partnership.  Driver Solutions remains committed to helping new drivers find the best truck driving job and CDL training opportunities available.  Learn more about our company-sponsored CDL training program here.

Ginger Wynne from Driver Solutions Facebook page asks:  How important do you think your first trainer is to the success of your career as a driver?


Hi Ginger and thank you for your question!

As I have mentioned in more than one post, I got extremely lucky with my first trainer and it was a great experience. I really don't think that a so-so trainer would have derailed my career at all. We focus a lot in overall life on what we should do, the right thing and the proper way -- especially in the trucking world where safety is so vital. But I am in the mindset that learning what not to do is just as important as learning what TO do. As long as you don't break the law with regards to trucking. As great as my training was, I was always thinking, "How would I do that?" Learning that, some of the things they taught me were great. I tweaked a few other things.

What is great about training is just that -- it's training. Embrace it, no matter who you have as a trainer. Get through it and when you get upgraded you can then do things your way. This is the beauty of this job. There are many different ways to do it right and you get to choose between all of them after your training. I had to get my training over first before I started implementing how I would do it. I neve r really argued or talked to much to my trainers about how to do it. I just did it the way they asked me to. I did ask a ton of questions about the overall process of OTR trucking though when we were rolling down the road. Just not in the middle of a backup when they were trying to teach me what to do.

So with all that being said, I think a great trainer will do wonders for your career, but a so-so trainer is not a game breaker. It just makes it a little tougher to succeed in your new career.

Take care and be safe,


(Image credit: beigeinside, Flickr)

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