With age and experience comes wisdom. As analysts predict a trucker shortage, many new truckers are entering the profession.
We asked veteran truckers what advice they would give new truckers and the response was overwhelming. Here’s what they said, in their own words:
Find an old small company, with great benefits and people, and retire there.
Lose the sweat pants and tennis shoes, and don’t pile shit on the dash.
Take your time…you’re not in a 4-wheeler anymore.
Get rid of the radar detectors and SLOW THE F DOWN!! Zorrillo smokeys eventually catch up!
Don’t believe everything you hear on the CB. Especially directions.
Stop playing on your damn phones!
Just remember: the load on your back, is not worth someones life. If you are tired, STOP. Don’t let that dispatcher push you over your limits.
Plan every day of your trip. Figure out how far you can go for that day by looking at your recap hours and looking at your Truck Stop guide. I always liked to roll early so when my HOS was up, the truck stops or rest areas would be empty.
With a trainer, keep your mouths shut and your eyes and ears open.
Quit flashing the bright lights to bring another truck back over, when it is 0 dark 30.
Reach your arm over and turn the light switch all the way down for 5 seconds, so you don’t mess with a driver’s night eyes.
First and foremost… you are NOT invincible. Second, be courteous! Not only to 4-wheelers, but your fellow drivers. It is up to you to bring back the camaraderie and brotherhood of drivers.
SLOW DOWN enjoy life, no load is worth a life.
P A T I E N C E !!!
Do not lease purchase ever with these big companies. If it looks too good to be true, it is. If you take time off, those payments still come around.
Don’t hang out in the middle lane. Some of us can still go 70+ mph.
Check your attitude. Life out here can get to you, but you don’t prove anything by being ‘Billy Big Rigger’. Slow down and take the time to do a proper job. Take pride in what you do even in the little things. Courtesy and patience can be your best friend for a great day. And don’t forget to take care of yourself. Your health is your best asset. Take the time to exercise and learn how to eat healthy when you’re surrounded by junk food. If you don’t, it -will- catch up to you.
Pay attention to the old drivers; How they back, corner, go down a mountain things like that.
Look twice. Take your time backing up.
Don’t listen to truck driving stories. 99 percent of them are BS.
Treat other drivers with respect.
If you are in the right lane traveling at 55 miles per hour, don’t move into the left lane In front of other drivers that are doing 70.
Listen to the old timers.
Stop parking on the fuel island. Park your truck. Stop doing 50 mph in the truck stop, people are walking in it.
Back into a parking space, don’t pull into it cause when you try to back out, you can’t see behind you. If you are still training, make your trainer work with you on backing, and never sleep in the top bunk while truck is moving. Ask for help– Don’t try to be a super trucker, some one will be glad to help.
Have some pride in what you do out here.
You always have something to learn, even after 21 years.
There’s a big difference in every drive. You have to choose between good, sound advise and a bad driver. Longevity doesn’t make a qualified driver. Follow your instincts. Be positive and look for that in a mentor.
There’s no load out there worth yours or anyone else’s life, so if you’re sleepy pull over and take a NAP!!!!! Its better to be late then DEAD .
Learn to read a map (1) GPS ARE GOOD, but a map is your back up, and get a new at less every 3yrs. Road changes all the time, Read the signs (2)Slow down (3) Plan your trip at 50 miles an hour (4) That gives you penalty of time to get there.
Take a shower, clean-up. You are the face of the company, no holy clothes, sweat pants or flip flops!
Always look twice or three times, make it a habit before you move your truck, or when thinking of changing lanes. See what’s going on ahead of you. Plan your moves, learn to judge speed of traffic in front of you. And coordinate your moves, don’t be sudden or rush yourself.
Don’t brake on black ice or heavy snow… Trust me, it ain’t fun coming down a hill sideways jack-knifed.
Especially in turns pay attention. Slow down for curves, slower then the recommended. When you get in heavy traffic, drop your speed down some, it doesn’t take that much more time, and you won’t be all stressed.
Take your time, rest rest rest. Don’t let any dispatcher force you into anything illegal. No load is so hot that it has to cool off in a ditch. Don’t ask for directions on a CB.
Shower, wear clean clothes, shave. Be a positive example in the industry.
Keep your truck clean inside and out=less scrutiny from DOT. If you’re not comfortable driving in snow or ice stay put.
Why is it that no one waves anymore? There are a few that still do, but the vast majority of the time if they even acknowledge that you’re passin’!
Instead of thinking you know it all, keep your mouth shut and listen to the guys that have been out here 30+ years. You might learn something.
There is no such thing as a DUMB question….if your not sure of something its best to ask and not make a dumb mistake.
Put your HEART in it or get your ASS out. It’s not just a job or a paycheck, it takes a living, breathing, eating, burning desire deep within your soul to succeed in this business. If you ain’t got that feeling then find something else cause it can and will make ya or break ya.
Buy a CB put it in your truck, turn it on and use it to communicate with other drivers! Oh, and turn them damn fog lights off. You’re blinding everyone else, If you can’t see at night without them, get out of the truck and find another job.
Stay out of the hammer lane.
Stay focused, don’t drink and drive, and don’t text while driving!
Ž4 things to never talk about on the C.B. Religion, Politics, NASCAR and the Truth.
As a old Trucker Fueler at the 76 Unocal in Ontario Calif and diesel mechanic. Learn your truck, don’t just get in and drive .Take care of that truck– It’s your paycheck, it don’t run, you don’t run. You don’t make the house payment .
Check your attitude as you get out of the truck, there is always someone bigger and angrier. Enjoy your work ,you get a chance to see the US as no other profession allows.
Take care of your health, eat right and get some exercise. They are clamping down, that’s why I am fighting to get back into the business.
Be safe. Have fun with your job after you learn your job. What ever you, do stay away from the Lot Lizards.
You do not have to move back to the right lane right away and cut me off because the car behind you is in a hurry.
An old trucker once told me ” when you think you know everything about a truck park it because you will end up gettin’ hurt”
If this is your chosen profession, BE GOOD AT IT, there are enough steering wheel holders out there.
One more thing, when you think you’ve seen it all, a flying rabbit hits your hood…..just sayin’, be safe.
Always stay focused, and get plenty of rest. Eat right and exercise.
Get out of the center lane, and quit holding up traffic. Turn them damn fog lights off, or at least adjust them.
Take the good with the bad, you’re not going to get the perfect load all the time.
If you’re tired, stop. The dispatcher won’t be the one in the coffin or the courtroom.
Have access to enough money to get you home from anywhere in the country.
Know your truck. Listen to what your truck is telling you. It can save your life. Check your tire pressures—–proper pressure reduces blow outs.
Once you run illegally one time, they will always want you to run “HOT” LOADS FOR THEM.
Read the signs!
Don’t let others rush you. Its your career on the line, not theirs.
To all the seasoned drivers, thank you. To all the new drivers, we wish you luck!