There are more differences between rookie and experienced truckers than the number of years they’ve been on the road. As drivers gain experience, there are many skills they can build that help them perform better. If you’re just getting started in the trucking industry, it’s helpful to know what separates rookies from experienced drivers so you can start working toward becoming the best trucker you can be.
Here are some of the key differences:
Trucking may seem like a solitary career at first, and while there is some truth to this, there’s also a great deal of communication and teamwork involved. Experienced truckers have taken the time to build relationships with their dispatcher, driver manager, shippers, receivers, and other individuals. These relationships can make your life easier on the road, and if you build a strong reputation, you’ll notice the benefits over time.
2. Stress Management
There’s a certain amount of stress in any job and almost anything else in life, for that matter. In trucking, there can often be a lot of pressure to get in miles and arrive on time for deliveries. Anything that interferes with these goals, such as traffic or bad weather, can cause stress. Experienced drivers learn over time to focus on what is within their control. That doesn’t mean they never get stressed, but they are often better equipped for potentially stressful situations and can focus on staying safe and doing their best.
3. Getting Miles
Long-haul truckers are typically paid per mile. It can take time to get the hang of how to do this effectively to maximize earnings while staying safe. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has hours of service (HOS) regulations truckers must follow. Rookie drivers may struggle to keep track of their HOS compliance, but over time, experienced drivers learn how to stay compliant and safe while still maximizing their miles.
4. Finding Balance
In many ways, trucking is about balance. You’ll need to learn to prioritize your health while still getting the miles you want and making deliveries on time. You’ll also balance your home time with time on the road. Rookies can take some time to get used to this. As you gain experience, finding a balance that works for you is easier as long as you are willing to put in the necessary effort.
5. Growth Mindset
Some individuals think that once they get through their first year (or another set timeframe), they will no longer be rookies and know all they can about the trucking industry. The truth is that while many things get easier after you’ve gained some experience, the best truckers realize they always have more to learn. They view every day as a new opportunity to improve and continue growing.
Start Your Trucking Career
Before you can get out on the road and start gaining trucking experience, you’ll need to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Yuma Truck Driving School can help you do this in as little as four weeks.