The first year of professional experience as a truck driver
When an aspiring truck driver starts their job in the trucking industry, there is an apprehension about the set of confronting challenges and the nature of the job. The beginner truck driver always plans the schedules of duties before stepping with the load on the road. Driving a truck professionally is a totally unanticipated experience because of the obstacles and expectations. There is a lot of uncertainty in operating a commercial vehicle, especially during the first year. This article will solve nervousness and answer every query in concern about the challenges encountered during the first year of truck driving.
What to expect during the first year of truck driving?
It is a privilege to travel on a regular basis and simultaneously make money. The profession of commercial truck driving supports the dream of many aspirants who want to explore, travel and serve the nation. The trucking industry is a fundamental section of every industry like the automotive, manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and food industry. The truck drivers who are beginners in the industry during their first year are entitled to an opportunity to travel and experience different parts, cultures, and lifestyles of people and societies all across the nation. Apart from experiencing diverse regions, the drivers can easily develop and strengthen their driving skills. Every industry has positive and negative aspects and especially during the first year of driving a truck professionally, the driver becomes accustomed to every situation.
Common Challenges faced during the first year of truck driving:
1. Over-the-road (OTR) professional driver's jobs are considered more of a lifestyle than a job. The truck drivers are always on the road for a minimum of 300 days around the year. The lifestyle of truck drivers doesn't privilege them from seeing their family and spouses for long periods of time. Many truck drivers return home after 2-3 weeks from their work.
2. The days can commence really early. It is the tendency of drivers to start their job as soon as the sun hits the horizon. While other drivers prefer driving at night. The over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers don't have any starting or ending hours. The beginner drivers receive instructions from their logistic dispatch office. The dispatch office is responsible for planning the schedule of pick-up, drops off, and route estimation for the driver.
3. The beginner truck driver is expected to work only up to 70 hours over a period of 7-8 days. It is mandatory to take a 34-hour off-duty break before getting back on the road. The 70- hour limit could be easily reached by working for 14 hours a day. In such an instance, the driver needs to take a 10-hour break before starting their hours of service.
4. Some logistics companies pay their drivers on an hourly basis, while other drivers are paid according to the miles they have covered. Even if the routes are not linear, the paid miles are calculated in accordance with the distance traveled from point A to point B. The salary in the case of paid miles is invariable because if the miles are greater, more will be the salary of the driver. The drivers can get appraisals or better pay if they are willing to haul oversize freight or hazardous materials. The employer pays in consonance with every load that is being picked up or delivered for the respective lane.
5. The beginner truck driver is expected to run 500 miles on a daily basis. This further adds down to 125,000 miles per annum or 2,500 miles per week. The ongoing working schedule could be challenging and hectic for the beginner truck driver.
Important Things to know during the first year of professional truck driving
Everything about Experience: The first serving year of the trucker is considered a fundamental period of training for getting the skills intact. During this time, the truck driver gets into the truck with the aim to learn how to perfectly maneuver the truck before heading toward longer routes. In the beginning, the truck driving school eases the modules after some time and supports in passing the CDL exam. The elementary training program commences with the first week of orientation. In orientation, the drivers are made aware of the basics of firm and safety components. After orientation, the driver is attached with trainers and safe drivers who help in attaining the CDL permit which is 2-4 weeks prior before submitting for the final CDL exam. Once the truck driver has received their CDL, they step on the road accompanied by an experienced truck driver. The team driving is done for at least 30,000 miles to successfully meet with the on-road driving experience. This team driving experience notably trains the aspirant for real-life scenarios. So that the driver can effectively handle them when encountered while operating a commercial vehicle professionally.
Lifestyle Readjustment: The career and lifestyle of truck drivers are totally different from other professions. Commercial truck driver spends their entire time on the road instead of sitting at the desk in front of a computer. The truck driver needs to be very aware and attentive every moment during the operation of commercial vehicles on the road. If the driver is not aware, they might be risking their lives and the lives of other people on the road. The trucking profession is very different from the 9-5 schedule. The drivers wake up during the early hours of the day to plan their schedules well ahead of time. Trucking serves many benefits for individuals who wish to be their own boss. The truck driver is required to be a responsible individual who is a good worker and can fulfill every duty in accordance with schedule and time.
Time Management: With great power comes greater responsibility. This proverb is absolutely apt for truckers. When the truckers are out on the road performing their jobs, they are expected and anticipated to complete them successfully. Commercial truck drivers need to plan and manage their schedules well ahead of time. The drivers are expected not to miss any deliveries or deadlines which could leave a negative impact on their careers. The drivers need to effectively embrace Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations on the hours of service so they don't exceed the limit. The potential factors for success are all dependent on the individual's ability to manage themselves right and successfully execute their jobs.