Realities for First-Year Truck Drivers

Realities for First-Year Truck Drivers

A career in truck driving has its fair share of challenges, especially for first-year truck drivers. These may come as a surprise to some.

First-year truck drivers will encounter several challenges as they begin their careers in trucking. New commercial vehicle drivers can get hit with some harsh realities about life as a trucker on the road, which can really make them question whether this career or lifestyle is the one for them. Know that many of these first-year realities are temporary situations that improve with time and driving experience.

Spending Time with Trainer

First-year truck drivers, either having just completed their CDL training or in the process of completing training, will be spending a lot of their drive time with a driver trainer. Some trainers are pleasant and helpful, while others may be less so. Regardless of the quality of instruction, they’ll be expected to spend long trips on the road with another person, all the while sharing a small cab space. This training period is a relatively short amount of time in comparison to a long career of trucking ahead, so it’s best to bear with the arrangement and try to make the most out of it.

Expect Low Starting Wages

First-year truck drivers who are enrolled in a paid CDL training program with a carrier company typically receive low wages during this period. Even after new drivers graduate to solo driving trips, they shouldn’t expect a significant pay increase within that first year or longer. Truck drivers can and do make decent wages with enough driving experience and proven driving skills. However, that comes later on in a trucking career when they are trusted with longer hauls or develop a specialty, such as flatbed service.

Life on the Road Needs Adjustment

The life of a truck driver isn’t all about adventure. Often, it’s quite dull to spend long days staring down long stretches of highways and sitting relatively still. Being away from home for extended periods will require some mental adjustments. New drivers may find themselves feeling rather lonely or depressed due to a sense of isolation. The lifestyle may cause some strain between the driver and their loved ones back home. Moreover, convenient and tasty fast-food and junk food will quickly become unappealing options. First-year truck drivers will soon learn to take some essential supplies and snacks with them on the road to combat unhealthy lifestyles.

Being Careful to Avoid Accidents

┬áNew drivers must do their best to avoid getting into accidents during their first year of professional driving. It’s very common for new drivers to run into driving problems because they have relatively little real-world driving experience and are getting accustomed to operating their rig. Some accidents may be unavoidable, but plenty of drivers are in control and can actively prevent incidents. Accidents involving trucks are expensive, dangerous and can cost drivers their job, not to mention it can add a permanent mark on their driving record. As long as drivers know to give their best and understand each passing day, month, and year means they are gaining more experience, they can drastically decrease their chances of finding themselves involved in an accident.

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