Getting Started Logistics

3 Important Things All New Truck Drivers Need to Know

Written by Kate Lopaze

The trucking life sounds like it could be a country song: open road, deadlines to meet, lone soul getting it done. But the reality is that it’s a career like any other, and shares a lot of the same hard truths and anxiety points that affect people just starting out in any industry. Here are three things you should expect from your first year on the road.

1. It’s going to be tough out there.

You’re literally putting in the miles. Maybe you’re homesick, or being in a truck cab for 20 hours a day isn’t quite what you thought it would be like. Many newbie truckers opt out during that first year, having decided that it wasn’t the right job for them. However, it’s important to know that if you can stick it out, life will get easier. Expect to make hard decisions about whether this is really the right choice for you.

2. Your trucking company is just like any other workplace.

Even though you’re not sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day, you will face some of the same workplace expectations and constraints as regular office workers. Set performance expectations with your bosses, and be open with them about your progress. Remember, someone is trusting you with their cargo—it can take time to build that trust and be able to have the kind of relationship where they know you’ll get it done.

3.  You will need to be flexible.

Things will not always go 100% as planned. There are so many variables out on the road (weather, traffic, the unpredictability of other drivers) that chances are at some point you’ll need to do some creative problem solving to get where you need to go. Whether that’s working with suppliers to correct a mistake (did Car Parts Inc. really order the 5 tons of cotton candy the warehouse just put on your truck?) or figuring out how to make a tight deadline when you’re two states away and the snow’s about to start, don’t stress. There’s always a solution, and even though you may need to come up with it on the fly, expect the unexpected and you’ll be able to make it through.

Once you get through this adjustment period and you’re a veteran driver, it might be time to write that hit song about your experiences traveling the country in a big rig. But in the meantime, keep your eyes on the road and get ready for an interesting ride!


About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.