By MTS Staff
Becoming a trucker driver can be a rewarding and fulfilling career. Not only do you get to travel the country and become an important part of the national economy, you can also make a decent living at it. Trucking, however, is not for the faint. It requires long hours on the road away from your family and the ability to adhere to strict regulatory policies. In our previous post, How Do I Know a Career in Truck Driving is For Me, we cover a lot of the pros and cons of a career in trucking.
In today's post, we are going to give some tips on succeeding as a rookie truck driver.
Follow the Rules
Rules and regulations are the staple of the trucking industry. Why? Because they help protect you and the general public. However, even when a rookie truck driver follows the rules, he or she can get fatigued on the road. No matter how hard it is, take care of yourself and pull over for a short break when you start to become fatigued. According to a recent New York Times post, drowsy driving is leading cause of crashes and highway fatalities. The article went on to quote Mr. McLuckie, director of the department of federal legislation at the Teamsters union.
“Congestion on the highways is greater than ever, there are more vehicles on the road than ever before, and drivers have to be more attentive than ever,” Mr. McLuckie said. “Fatigue is even more of a concern now than it has been, and drivers need to get proper rest to do the job that they do.”
Needless to say, even as rules and regulations change, rookies need to make sure to stay updated and be sure to follow them.
Make Healthy Choices
One of the easiest ways to stay alert on the road is by taking care yourself. Limit the junk, sweets, soft drinks and fast food, and try to get exercise. Study after study shows that junk food leads to memory loss, causes anxiety, causes fatigue and can lead to depression. Now, we understand that limiting the unhealthy truck stop food may be easier said than done, so here are our tips to help you make healthier choices:
- Pick up a "green juice" and drink it before you reach for any other type of food.
- Pack your cooler with fresh fruit, cut veggies (such as bagged carrots) and high protein items (such as rotisserie chicken).
- Drink lots of water.
- Add in as much exercise as you can; pack a stowaway bike or running shoes; pack and use weights; download the 7-minute workout app.
Keep Your Mind Busy
The hardest thing about being on the road is all those hours of solitude and hours upon hours of driving monotony. If you're not keeping your mind busy, it can become easy to start thinking too much - not that thinking is a bad thing! - but, some truckers have admitted to dwell on issues, and that causes distracted driving. Keep your mind entertained (and maybe learn a few new things!). Here are some ideas of what you can listen to:
- Audio Books
- Language CD's
- New Music
Take Pride in Your Rig
A clean professional looking vehicle can make a huge difference. Having it detailed with chome and lights means you are successful.
We recently spoke to a driver that had an older Freightliner, which was very clean, but rather plain. The driver invested in a used Peterbilt, and upgraded it with new chrome pipes, new lights and really took the time to make it look good. He was the envy of his peers. Rolling up in a nice truck is a status symbol of success. Also, it promotes your brand to the public.
When a truck is clean and bright, their customers notice. They are more willing to load their product quicker, with less inspections. Trucks that are dirty with trailer defects will raise red flags and could cause delays at loading docks, delays cost money. A cleaner vehicle will keep help keep them loaded and rolling.
What are your tips for helping rookie truck drivers succeed? We'd love to hear them!