Running out of fuel. Relying too heavily on GPS and getting lost. Accidentally going over on hours. What do these things have in common? They are some of the biggest rookie mistakes. There are always a lot of new drivers out there — and a lot of misinformation about the trucking industry. Rookie mistakes can cost everyone big time and money, not to mention the fact that they are dangerous. Here are some of the biggest mistakes new drivers run into — and some advice on how to avoid them.
How Rookie Drivers Can Stay Safe and Sane on the Road
1. Don’t be a bully. Driving an 18-wheeler gives you a lot of power on the road. Lots of rookies let that go to their heads. Not only does this make truck drivers in general look bad, but it is incredibly dangerous. Don’t intimidate other drivers with your truck, even if provoked. It just isn’t worth it.
2. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a recruiter or dispatcher tells you something that sounds so amazing that you almost can’t believe it, investigate further. The driver shortage means that a lot of companies will say almost anything to get the drivers they need. Protect yourself by being cautious and doing your homework.
3. Be prepared for the cost of life on the road. A lot of rookie drivers don’t factor in the cost of living on the road, which is usually at least $100 per week. Save money (and spare your waistline) by buying food at a grocery store, not a truck stop, where it will cost a lot more to feed yourself.
4. Listen to more experienced drivers. Many rookie drivers are so excited about their new job as a truck driver that they don’t listen to the advice of veteran drivers. This is a huge mistake! There are things you can only learn from years and years behind the wheel. If an experienced driver gives you helpful advice, take it.