Becoming a truck driver offers access to a steady source of income and freedom for those who enjoy being on the open road. Drivers have a responsibility to the company they work for, pedestrians, and other drivers on the road to drive in a responsible manner. For new drivers just breaking into the industry, there is a lot to learn in order to be a proficient driver and find steady work.
Trucking School Tips
- Truck driving schools with accreditation by the United States Department of Transportation offer scholarships, grants, and loans that can help truck drivers offset the cost of education.
- Check with local trucking companies before choosing a trucking school to ensure the education offered is thorough enough to meet their standards.
- Ask questions to determine the quality of education a school offers: One-on-one training programs, small class sizes, behind the wheel training, job placement assistance, and access to late model equipment are all things to look for in a good schooling program.
Job Searching Tips
- Some big companies have their own truck driving schools and offer guaranteed employment after graduation.
- Taking accounting and business classes will be helpful to self-employed truck drivers, as they are more vulnerable to economic downturns.
- Online job boards allow truckers to search opportunities by state or certification. Recruiters, placement agencies and job boards can also help new truckers find career opportunities.
Fuel Saving Tips
- Maintain a consistent speed, use cruise control when appropriate, and avoid quick accelerations. to cut down on fuel costs.
- Pay attention to how cargo is loaded. The higher the height of the load, the more drag placed on the truck and the more energy it consumes.
- Plan your route to avoid traffic congestion and drive the truck to warm it up, as idling is a huge fuel waster. Idle reduction facilities are also available at many public truck stops.
- Maintain a respectable distance from vehicles in front of you, larger trucks need more time to stop. Keep an eye out for vehicles that may pull in front of trucks then suddenly slow down or break.
- Before heading out on the road, pre-inspect the truck’s breaks, windshield wipers, horn, mirrors, tires, reflectors, oil levels, fuel levels, and be sure that cargo is secured. Problems with any of these items should be reported and handled before getting on the road.
Accident Preparedness Tips
- Slow down when entering a work zone, adjust mirrors, allow plenty of room to maneuver, and stay alerted to your trucks blind spots.
- Always wear a seat belt. If an accident does occur, a seat belt will keep you from being ejected from the seat and help you maintain control of the truck.
- Join the local state trucking association to stay up to date on state and federal regulations and gain valuable contacts for jobs and assistance.
General Trucking Tips
- Regular exercise and adequate sleep will help drivers avoid fatigue when driving long stretches of empty highway and loading and unloading cargo. Maintaining good physical health is part of being a good truck driver’s job.
- A long and successful truck-driving career is dependent on a new driver’s work ethic. Keep an excellent driving record, increase communication skills, maintain a professional image and arrive with cargo on time.