Any time you start a new job, you prepare yourself for a new set of challenges. What will your coworkers be like? How will your job duties be different than your last job? What will the expectations be like? If you’ve chosen to become a truck driver, you can be certain that this career will be unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Though this is a time of excitement, it is also a time of uncertainty. What exactly is your next year going to look like?
If you’re feeling nervous about starting your career as a truck driver, we’re here to help. Take a look at our guide and see what you need to know before you head out on the road for your first year of truck driving.
#1. It’s all about experience
A good majority of our first year of truck driving is going to be training. During this time, you’ll get into a truck for the first time and learn how to maneuver your vehicle before you make headway for the highway. Your trainer will ease you from the training pad to the interstate, helping you to pass your CDL exam. The Prime training program starts with a week of orientation where you learn some of the basics of the company and safety. After orientation, we will pair you up with an experienced, safe driver who will train you with your CDL permit for 2-4 weeks out on the road prior to your CDL Exam. With Prime, once you’ve earned your CDL, you’ll be team driving with a trainer for another 30,000 miles at minimum, out on the road. This time will be incredibly valuable, since it will give you several different scenarios and real-life situations to experience with your trainer before you hit the road on your own.
It’s important that you understand that truck driving is a unique challenge.. Your trainers are there to provide support and coach you through each day so you can stay safe on the road. Take your time and make sure you learn all of the proper protocol so you are fully prepared for one day driving solo or continuing on as a permanent team.
#2. It’s a big lifestyle adjustment
The lifestyle of a truck driver is one that you won’t find in any other career. You have to adapt to driving for long periods of time instead of sitting at a desk or in front of a computer. You’ll need to be attentive to your surroundings at every moment. Otherwise, you risk putting yourself and others in danger. You’ll have to wake up at early hours and adjust to working around delivery schedules instead of expecting a typical 9-5. That being said, trucking is still like a normal job in many ways. You still have a boss and responsibilities, and you still need to be a good worker who fulfills their job duties.
Becoming a truck driver can be a huge change for your family too. You’ll be away for weeks at a time, and you won’t always be able to text or call. You may become homesick for a bit at first until you can get used to being on the road. Luckily, being able to call and FaceTime when you’re done driving for the day can help to mitigate some of the initial sadness of being away.
#3. You’ll need to learn to manage your time
We’ve all heard it before: “with great power comes great responsibility.” This couldn’t be more true than when talking about the career of a truck driver. When you’re out on the road, you’re in charge of making sure you complete your job successfully. You’ll have some leeway on when you choose to run as long as your loads are delivered on time, and you’ll have to be responsible enough to make sure you don’t miss deadlines and hurt your job performance. With the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations on hours of service, you will also need to pay attention to the number of hours you’ve been driving so that you don’t exceed the limit. Ultimately, your potential for success is fueled by your ability to manage yourself and get the job done right.
#4. You’ll love your new career.
Like every job, you will have a bad day sometimes. There will be long hours, time spent away from home and roads that feel like they’re going on forever. Though there may be days that feel harder than others, there’s no better feeling of the freedom of the open road, the satisfaction of seeing the rolling hills of the countryside outside your window, or the knowledge that you’re helping to keep America running by delivering essential freight to your customer. Prime offers support for our drivers to stay happy and healthy so that no driver dreads the day they hit the road. Can you say that about any other job you’ve had before?
Are you ready to kick off your career as a truck driver?
Enroll in Prime’s Student Driver Training Program. The only amount you pay to start is a $100 entry fee and permit costs, as long as you drive for Prime for one year with your CDL. Have more questions before you get started? Reach out to one of our recruiters and you will hear back shortly.