Getting Through Your First Year As a Truck Driver
Congratulations on completing your truck licence! Now you are fully qualified to be on the road, it’s time you got use to driving solo. This short article will let you know what to expect during your first year as a professional truck driver and how to handle the coming exciting times ahead!
To start your career it’s important you collect as much experience on the road as possible. This means proving to future employees that you are confident and capable of driving local or regional the next year.
The goal of this first year is to stick it out with a company for a full year, collect kilometers under your belt and prove that you can commit to a company for at least one year. Then jobs will be knocking at your door.
Some of the best jobs to apply for your first year are for removalist or delivery companies where you can get experience on the road and prove you’re a safe and reliable driver. The first year will be the toughest because it’s where you will really learn about the lifestyle and learn to be independent and self manageable.
Because you’re a “rookie” there maybe some differences between the way you get treated and the more experienced drivers. Ensure you don’t get taken advantage of though, because some unethical work places might try that.
Before you start at any new business it’s important you know your rights as a truck driver, this will help you know whether you’ve been taken advantage of.
Learning to communicate with your dispatcher will probably be the hardest thing because truckers and dispatchers don’t understand each other’s jobs. If you come across issues with your dispatcher be sure you know the chain of command and who to talk to.
Some of the most common rookie mistakes will be running out of fuel, or running into a light pole. But don’t worry because even after years of experience some of us still do it! Its just part of the learning process.
Life as a solo truck driver will be tough at first because for some it can be lonely and for others it gives them a chance to be there own boss.
Some of the most stressful moments on the road will be managing your time well this takes practice and experience but it will get easier.
One of the biggest tips is to never get upset over little things, like when you’re given bad directions etc. You need to develop a good strength of character to deal with these issues calmly. Never loose your cool or your temper. Just focus on the solution, remember this.
Companies invest a lot of money training and recruiting drivers, therefore proving your commitment and loyalty is very important. It also means getting laid off isn’t easy in fact it’s extremely rare. According to the CSA2010 rules, experienced drivers who maintain a safe driving record will become quite valuable. So once you prove this, you’re set!
Some of the toughest things with driving a truck is you’ll need to get use to backing in and finding parking spots. You will come across some insane places at customer locations, so be prepared for this awkward situations. Not to mention, parking late at night also gets harder as there are even more restrictions.
There can be egos on the road between other truck drivers, and I wish I could say there was more of a brotherhood but I haven’t found there is. So be prepared of this kind of behaviour from other truck drivers.
Being your own boss and being in solitude while cursing down open roads listening to your favourite tunes, will be the best part of truck driving. Not answering to anybody and simply doing things your way is what makes this job fun.
Never get too confident because as soon as you think you’re getting the hang of things you will go in and make a stupid mistake. Learning to drive a truck will be some of the hardest things you do in life, so expect to make mistakes almost everyday. But the key is learning to deal with these situations well.
Many after the first year find that this isn’t the career for them, but other will love it and do it for many years to come.
Let this first year help you grow as a person and to discover whether this Career is the one for you, after a year of experience working in a small company graduate yourself by applying for bigger transport companies such as Linfox and Toll.
You would have proved your experience and that you can a dedicated to this lifestyle.
As a rookie the expected salary can be anywhere between $50,000-$80,000. Being fit will be an advantage to your comfort and your speed so keep this in mind.