Truth be told, the life of a trucker can be difficult. With so many variables – such as time management, traffic, safety and navigation – factoring into your every day, it can be very easy to stress out. Here are 4 trucking tips that all rookie truckers need to remember when beginning their trucking career.
1. Rest Up!
This is possibly the most important tip for a new trucker. In an industry where you dream of having regular sleep schedules, it is important to rest whenever needed. Never be determined to keep going when you feel exhausted.
If you push yourself until you’re extremely tired, it can take up to 2 full nights to rest to recover. Even worse, many studies conducted have found that those who drive tired have the same impairments as those who drive drunk. That puts you, as well as the other drivers, at risk.
The best possible thing to do is pull over when you feel tired. Stop for a 10-20 minute catnap or for a couple quick laps around the truck to wake up. Do whatever you need in order to feel refreshed and alert when you pull back on the road.
2. Everyone Gets Lost
Sooner or later every rookie driver gets lost. It’s really just a matter of time. Don’t panic. The sooner you calm yourself and take a deep breath, the sooner you will find your way.
First, make sure to figure out where you are and where you need to be. From there you can find your route. Make sure to always carry an atlas specifically for motor carriers. This will show you trucking routes and marks any low bridges that may be headed your way. Modern technology can be great, however be wary of using it when trucking. GPS is not always right, and may take you on a route that is less than ideal. You could end up in a residential neighborhood, where maneuvering a truck is more difficult.
If you are still having problems finding your way, ask for directions. See if any truckers in your area know how to get where you need to go, or even contact the company where you are going. Chances are they will have some good directions to give.
3. Get A Parking Spot
The more experience you have as a driver, the more you realize the importance of parking early for the night. If you wait too long, all the spots will be taken up and you will be wasting precious time and mileage searching for a place to park your vehicle for the night.
The key is to get there early. Start adjusting your body to both an early night and early morning. If you wake up somewhere around 2-3:00am, you can park by 6 to ensure you have an easy time parking.
4. Don’t Forget About Yourself
Sleep isn’t the only way to keep yourself healthy when trucking. Be sure to create a diet and exercise plan and stick to it. One great tip: if you want a home cooked meal, but don’t want to spend the time or money, keep a crockpot in your bunker. Put your food in an oven-roasting bag and leave it to cook, just like at home. When you are done, simply throw out the bag. It’s a cheap, hassle-free meal.
You work extremely hard. Be sure to treat yourself every now and then. The job is very important, but you are still human.
Of course, the best lessons learned come with time and experience on the job, but by keeping these 4 tips in mind, new truck drivers can get a head start at being safe and efficient on the road.