The trucking industry isn't unique in that it comes with a lot of quirks rookies wouldn't anticipate at first blush, but it is unique in what it usually asks of professional drivers. The ways to truly do the job of an over the road trucker "right" on a day-in, day-out basis aren't immediately apparent, but veterans have some key tips they will always extend to newcomers joining their ranks.
Here are a few of those pieces of sage advice:
1) Get rest whenever you can
While it may not seem like this will be the case, sitting behind the wheel and staying alert for hours at a time can be extremely exhausting, according to Trucker Path. Tired people don't always make the best decisions and see their reaction times slow down, so newcomers to trucking need to make sure they're getting as much good rest as possible. That means taking naps whenever you can, and always striving to get seven hours of sleep at an absolute minimum.
2) Always have water with you
While many truckers swear by soda, coffee, or energy drinks behind the wheel, nothing beats good old-fashioned water for staying hydrated and focused, Trucker Path further advised. When you drink water regularly throughout the day, everything in your body will work just a little bit better, whereas dehydration can make you feel sluggish.
3) Take it slow
When people come into the trucking industry, they may feel rushed by the many deadlines they face throughout a given week, according to CDL Training Spot. That can lead to pressing a little too hard on the gas pedal and not maintaining safe speeds. It's a good idea, however, to remember that slow but steady wins the race. Developing time management skills so that you never have to go too fast - especially in adverse weather conditions - is always a good idea.
4) Have tools on hand
As with many things in life, having the right tools on hand make any problem easy to solve, CDL Training Spot noted. That's true in trucking as well, because it's easier for drivers to fix minor issues with their rigs than put maintenance off until they can be professionally serviced or, worse, waiting for a tow or repair truck. Investing in a sturdy toolbox will work wonders.
5) Accept that you're going to make mistakes
New drivers faced with the need to be at a certain location at a certain time will likely learn a common truth in the industry: Getting lost is occasionally part of the job, according to Trucking Truth. Even the best GPS systems tailored specifically to tractor trailers will make the occasional mistake or be unable to anticipate an accident or road work that will divert you off the proscribed path. The good news is that there's nothing to worry about as long as you're in regular communication with a dispatcher or someone else who can guide you.
Following even a few of these pieces of advice - which experts know to heed through years of experience - will help new truckers hit the ground running in the industry and find a lot of success on the open road.
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