Starting a new career as a truck driver can be exhilarating. You get the opportunity to be on the road and explore the country as you work, making it an attractive profession. With extensive road regulations and laws, it is important to stay informed and drive safely for a successful start and long-term career. New truck drivers often make some mistakes on the road, and avoiding them can help you stay out of trouble.
Going too fast
According to driving laws, trucks can carry up to 20,000 lbs per single axle and 34,000 lbs per tandem axle. This is an immense amount of poundage to lug around, and driving fast could cause you to lose control of the vehicle. This can endanger you and other drivers around you. So, remember to drive cautiously. An accident is bound to slow you down more than driving at lower speeds.
Ignoring road signs
Pay attention to the road signs instead of solely relying on navigation systems. Although these systems are helpful for on-road guidance, they may sometimes offer inaccurate information about speed changes, height clearance markers, or one-way streets. Keep an eye out for road signs and follow them to avoid troubles on the road.
Forgetting about the trailer
It is easy to forget about the length of your trailer and make misjudgments when maneuvering your truck, especially as a new driver. Although it may take some practice, try to be as mindful as possible about the length of the truck when changing lanes or turning the vehicle. Make it a habit to check all blind spots and wait for some room before turning.
Not asking for help
Just like any other job, there is a lot to learn before you set off on your journey. Ask as many questions as possible to find the right direction and begin your trucking experience with a clear understanding of the job. Speak to senior drivers, dispatch managers, and others you can trust at your company. This is a key mistake new truck drivers must avoid, as it is better to ask than to mess up on the job and end up stranded.
Not taking care of yourself
One of the most unglamorous parts of being on the road is having to rely on fast food and having an extremely busy schedule. This can leave one feeling extremely tired or stressed. It is important to know how to manage your time well and avoid circumstances like this, as driving in these conditions may endanger your life and the lives of those around you. Understand your professional limitations, so you can have a safer, healthier career.
Staying organized can help you be more efficient at your job—whether that means maintaining your delivery logs or repair and maintenance records or keeping track of receipts and paperwork to file your taxes. Maintain all your legal paperwork for a stress-free driving experience.
Follow safe truck driving practices, along with observing all the safety and protection norms during loading and unloading. Before setting out on every journey, inspect the truck thoroughly and check whether the load has been properly tied down. Your safety and mindfulness on the road will automatically translate to the safety of other drivers around you.