Congratulations on getting your CDL—now is when the work really begins. A lot of people fresh out of getting their CDLs believe they know everything there is to know about driving and hauling cargo. However, there are a lot of little things you only will learn once you’re out on the road. Your first year of driving will be a serious adjustment period. Luckily for you, we’ve got some starter tips for brand-new truck drivers to help you make that first year a great one.
The mindset you go into your career with can have a serious impact on its trajectory. If you complain a lot about the job’s rigors, you might not be able to handle it for very long. Truck driving is a difficult career path that you need to take charge of, and the best way to do that is by going into it with a positive mindset. This will make you into someone people want to work with.
You may know all the safety procedures and all the important securement terms from training, but staying out of danger becomes a much bigger deal when you’re out there for real. A good goal for your first year of driving is to have zero accidents. Safety eventually becomes second nature once you’ve been driving for a while, but you can’t let yourself get complacent. One wrong move and you could seriously hurt yourself or someone else.
Career goals are important in any profession, but they are especially important in truck driving. How much time do you want at home? How much money do you need to make to feel financially stable? Understanding what success looks like to you specifically will help you more clearly see the path to get there. A solid plan will help you stay on track through tough times.
One of the best tips for brand-new truck drivers we can give is to find yourself a mentor. Mentors are immensely useful for your career growth. A good mentor will give you advice on things that you’re still unsure about and help you avoid some of the more common newbie mistakes. Be careful who you choose for this job. Just because someone has been driving a long time doesn’t mean they are fit to be a mentor.
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