If you’re starting your career as a truck driver, you’ll want to hear some advice for new truck drivers from seasoned pros. After all, everyone starts in the same spot. Even with 20+ years of experience under your belt, everyone remembers what it was like to start.
Your Mental Game Plan
Of course, truck drivers need to stay alert on the road. But you also need to have a mental game plan to stay alert behind the wheel. Your mental state is just as important as your physical state. There are several ways you can learn to manage your stress levels while navigating life as a truck driver.
You’ll need to fight through distractions, poor road conditions, and strict deadlines. These factors can affect your job performance, which is critical for your first year on the road. If you’re getting stressed out, we recommend:
- Deep breathing
- Positive self-talk
- Focusing on what you can control
- Listening to music
- Talking to someone on the phone
By calming yourself down and remembering what you can control, you’ll alleviate some of your stress. Singing along to your favorite music or calling a friend or family member can help take your mind away from what’s stressing you out.
Your First Job Won’t Be Your Dream Job
It’s natural to think about what you want to do for your career. But when you’re a new truck driver, it’s more important to get your first job and hold it down for a while. Like most other jobs, it’s unrealistic to get your dream trucking job right away. Your first truck-driving job might come with low pay. Many entry-level truck drivers earn as little as $18,000 per year.
We recommend focusing on what you can accomplish during your first year to set yourself apart as a valuable employee. Doing so will help you land your dream job more quickly.
Set Goals for Your First Year
The first goal we recommend setting as a new truck driver is to not get into any accidents. Being accident-free will prove that you’re a safe, reliable driver who can be trusted to haul important cargo.
G.O.A.L. (Get Out And Look) will help you accomplish this goal. If you need to back up, get out of your truck and look around you. Analyzing your surroundings can help you avoid hitting someone or something that may be closer than they appear from the driver’s seat.
The second goal we recommend is to stick with your first job for as long as possible. Job hopping looks terrible on a resume. While this is true for any profession, it’s especially true for truck drivers. If you’ve had a lot of different jobs, you’ll have a hard time finding something that pays well.
Finally, have a good attitude! An employee who doesn’t care doesn’t look good for the company. If you work without complaining and perform well, this will reflect positively and help you earn promotions and find better-paying work.
Accidents Still Happen
Even if you’re as safe as possible, you can only control your vehicle. You could still get into an accident if a new truck driver isn’t paying attention. It takes longer to slow down or completely stop when you’re driving an 18-foot truck. If you’ve been in an accident, Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton is here to guide you through the process. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.