How to Make the Most Out of Your Mistakes in Trucking

Mistakes will make you a better truck driver! Let me repeat that, mistakes will make you a better truck driver.

Now, I'll explain that crazy comment.

We are all human. We all will and have made mistakes, including me. The perfect truck driver (or Super Trucker) does not exist. Mistakes are bound to happen.

Here is the key to a successful truck driving career: If you make a mistake, make sure it's small and do everything in your power to not make that mistake worse. Little mistakes can easily become huge ones and sometimes catastrophic.

In sports terms, the best and elite teams are never perfect. What they are able to do is minimize their mistakes. And they don't make as many (if any) BIG mistakes. They are coached that way. Just as truck drivers are and should be. A huge difference in a truck is - lives are depending on us to not make the big mistake.

I've always said that I believe learning what NOT to do is just as important as learning the correct way to do something. I don't think I could think of another job like trucking where this isn't an undeniable fact. None of us truckers want to end up on the "Trucker Wall of Shame."

My "Wrong Way" Story

For the new truck driver, a small mistake can turn into a catastrophic mistake quickly. 3 1/2 years ago I blogged about and thanked a Schneider trucker who helped me out of what could have been a catastrophic mistake...

Early in my career, I was trying to deliver a load and I didn't do my due diligence in checking out my route. I was relying on my trucker GPS to get me there. We all know this can put us in a really bad bind at times. I was "ONLY" 3 miles from the receiver when my GPS had me in a pretty small town.  It was 4:30 AM or close to that, and when I was supposed to make a right, I was met with a "detour, bridge out, no large trucks allowed." Oh boy, this was not good! I didn't have a whole lot of options. What looked like the best option at the time, would have been the extreme worst as I later found out... 

I immediately put on my 4 way flashers.  Luckily for me there was no traffic.  After 10 or so minutes, and almost calling 911 for help, a car came around the corner. It was a Schneider trucker in his personal vehicle heading back to his truck to get back to work. He immediately stopped and this man helped me tremendously! He even guided me with his car to a safe route he knew I could travel. He also told me that the safe route, I thought looked safe, would have been a disaster for me. He basically helped my trucking career.

I made a ton of mistakes on that load. Most of them, not detailing my planned route to the shipper. And many more. I did remember my first trainer stressing that if I ever got into a situation like that, don't guess and do anything stupid. He was right. 

And while I messed up on this load, I lived to tell about it.  I learned from it. I grew as a trucker because of it. Was my stress level through the roof? You betcha. I hadn't done anything in that truck that couldn't be reversed with patience, and this time, some help from a super nice trucker!

Thinking About a Career In Truck Driving?

If you're considering a career in truck driving, look no further! Driver Solutions can help connect you with a company that will not only pay for your training, but will also have a job waiting for you once you successfully complete truck driving school. Find a current job opening in an area near you by clicking below!

Find a Job Near You

Learn from Your Mistakes

So what I'm trying to say here is, you will certainly make mistakes on the road as a professional trucker.  The key is to minimize those mistakes, learn from them and train yourself not to make the catastrophic mistakes.

Finally - if you make a mistake, don't beat yourself up too hard.  We're all capable of doing this sometimes and it just doesn't help.  Especially in trucking.  After it's all said and done just take a moment to relax.  Remember, you just learned one of the most important lessons - what NOT to do.

About The Author

Wayne got his start in trucking by going through the Driver Solutions company paid CDL training program back in 2012.  Since then, he has traveled over 300,000 safe miles and counting! After seeing his photos and reading about his adventures, we knew we had to share them on our blog. Join Wayne on his journey for a first hand look at life on the road!

Apply Now