Driving a truck for the first time after training can feel exhilarating and intimidating for rookie drivers. The experience of driving such an imposing vehicle can make young drivers feel like the king of the road, but they will also be overtly wary of making rookie mistakes, at least in the first few days and weeks in the new job. To help such individuals, here are some rookie truck driver mistakes to avoid:
Not being mindful of the trailer
Even mildly experienced truckers will never make the mistake of forgetting about a huge 20-something-foot trailer attached to their vehicle. However, at a rookie stage, that is one of the most common mistakes drivers can make. This includes misjudging the truck and trailer’s combined radius while making U-turns or maneuvering space while parking the truck.
Experience and time are the best teachers to cut out this mistake eventually. Drivers new on the job need to check their blind spots while driving and, more importantly, drive slowly to keep the truck and trailer on the road at all times.
Younger drivers are more prone to overspeeding than experienced or older ones. There are a host of reasons for this- the sheer euphoria of driving an almighty truck, the adrenaline rush of doing an exciting new job, or, quite simply, naivety.
Trucks around the country carry massive amounts of load (about 20,000 lbs for every single axle, and 34,000 lbs for every tandem axle) over large distances. With so much weight to haul around, driving recklessly fast can end up in accidents or damage to the goods being transported.
To avoid such situations, drivers need to drive cautiously and as the situation around them demands. Again, driving slowly is always the way to go, especially in the first few days on the job.
Neglecting physical and mental health
When one spends a large part of their life on the road driving a truck, it is easy to lose track of their physical and mental health. This is a dangerous thing to do and definitely one of the rookie truck driver’s mistakes to avoid.
To stay successful and healthy on the job, drivers need to manage their stress levels, eat three to four healthy meals on time, keep themselves hydrated with water and fluid, exercise regularly, maintain a journal, and follow a personal hygiene routine.
As is the case with any job, the occupation does not take precedence over one’s health and well-being.
Not putting safety first
Health and safety go hand in hand. Not taking proper safety precautions while driving a truck can be life-threatening for drivers, pedestrians, and others traveling on the road. Here are some of the essentials for any newly-trained truck driver- wearing their seat belt, doing a pre-ride inspection of the truck, staying alert while driving, and avoiding phone calls and other distractions while driving.
Not fueling up on time
Knowing when to fuel up is another aspect of truck drivers that new drivers learn with time. Essentially, drivers must refuel slightly earlier than usual when their truck runs low on gas. Delaying this may end up in truckers being stuck in the middle of nowhere during important transportation assignments.