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Truck Driving Tips: 25 Tips For Newbie Truck Drivers

February 18, 2020 Leave your thoughts

Truck driving is a rewarding career that allows you to see parts of the US and Canada that you might never have seen otherwise. Without truckers, we wouldn’t have oranges in Chicago and your amazon deliveries would never arrive. Everything you see in your local grocery store is likely the result of a truck driver working long hours and being away from their families. If you’re just getting into the business there’s a lot that you need to know. Here are 25 tips to help you get started and make the most of this new and exciting career. 

1. Don’t Start In The Winter

There is no worse time to drive your truck than the winter. The road conditions are bad, the nights are cold, and you’ll probably have to slow down. If you’re just starting, and you begin in the winter, it’s like jumping in the deep end to learn swimming. 

2. Keep Your Truck Clean

This is where you’ll live and work. The truck is your home and office. Keep it clean. Just do a little bit of work once or twice and week to keep your truck neat, inside and out. It’ll help improve your mental state as well. Nobody works better in a messy place. 

3. Eat Healthily

You’re going to be sitting, a lot. You’re going to want to eat out a lot. If you eat junk and garbage while not doing anything during the day (because you’re sitting) then you are going to get fat. There’s a reason the stereotype exists. Bring healthy foods on the trip and eat well. Your body will thank you and you’ll be the only one at the truck stop that’s still in shape. 

4. Drive Slow on Snow and Ice

Getting somewhere on time is not worth sacrificing your safety or the safety of someone else on the road. If the conditions are poor, slow down. Your deadlines can be pushed, and you can run late. If you crash they’re going to be looking at you. Protect yourself, and the people around you. Better late than never. 

5. Get Tools

There will be times when something breaks that is trivial to replace, but essential to the rig. You need to be able and capable of fixing it yourself so that you can get back on the road. Keep tools with you so that you’re never at someone else’s mercy when trying to get back on the road. You can help control your own destiny with a few tools. 

6. Have Entertainment

Boredom is a constant battle when you’re a truck driver. This is true when you’re driving and even after you’ve stopped for the day. Find a way to amuse yourself and bring entertainment with you. Put a TV in your sleeper, bring that book you’ve been waiting to read. There will be time, and you’ll have to fight boredom anyway. 

7. Invest in A Hobby

There will be points when it feels like trucking is consuming your entire life. Find a hobby to combat this, and make sure it has nothing to do with trucking. You need other interests in your life so that you have a place to go or a thing to do that’s not related to trucking at all. You’ll be glad you have something else. 

8. Exercise

You’re going to be sitting for very long stretches of the day, doing nothing with your body. It’s not good for you, and it’s also really bad for you mentally. You need to exercise. Bring some dumbbells with you, do sit-ups and pushups, or go for a walk. Find a way to be active while you’re on the road. Don’t neglect your body. 

9. Save Money

It’s easier to spend money on the road than you might think. If you’re not paying attention you’ll find yourself nickeled and dimed out of an entire paycheck. You need to know where your money is going. Especially early on, you won’t be making much. If you’re spending all of your money on the road you won’t have any when you get home. 

10. Get a Good GPS

Smartphones are amazing but they can only do so much. As a trucker, you’re likely going to be driving through some pretty remote areas. Anyone that’s ever made runs in Alberta or Alaska can confirm this. Your cellphone may be a great GPS but it relies on a cell signal. A dedicated GPS uses satellites. This makes it more accurate and less likely to lose signal. 

11. Get a Paper Map

Always have a backup plan and have it ready to go. Even a dedicated GPS can fail for any number of reasons. You need to have a road atlas or other paper maps on hand just in case you need one. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. 

12. Have A Heated Blanket

You’re going to be driving in the winter, and it’s going to be cold. Even in your sleeper, it’ll get cold. Having a heated blanket is a great way to help make sure you get a goodnight’s sleep. Sleeping well can be the difference between being alert and safe, or dozing off and getting in an accident. Stay warm and stay safe. 

13. Have Cleaning Supplies

Keeping the inside of your truck clean is incredibly important. A clean environment is essential to maintaining a good mental attitude and keeping your mind in the right place. It’s also a good morale boost to keep everything nice and clean. Go to the store and keep some basic cleaning supplies on hand. 

14. Prepare Before You Leave

You’re going on a long haul and you need to prepare like it’s the case. You should have everything you’re going to need in the truck before you leave. You won’t have time to stop and get what you need after you leave. The last thing you want is to be caught out in a strange city without something that you essential. It’ll be more expensive than you like, and more work than you should have to do. 

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15. Learn To Back Up

This is one of the hardest single things that a trucker has to learn how to do. When you actually get to the job you’re going to need to back up. Learning how to do this effectively is a matter of practice. If you hit anything or cause damage it could mean the end of your job. Be careful, practice as much as possible, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

16. Build Good Relationships with Shippers

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a trucker that actually likes all of their shippers. More often than not you’ll hear some pretty colorful language used whenever they come up in conversation. You’ll attract more flies with honey than vinegar, and if you try to be nice to them, it’s more likely they’ll be good to you. Be the guy they like and it’ll remove one stressful part of the job. 

17. Take Your Time

Slow it down. You’re just getting started and fast work is poor work. Take your time to actually inspect your rig. Check everything properly and ensure that it’s all working how it’s supposed to work. You have to take the time and get this right. If you don’t it could cause a safety hazard. Once you get a few years under your belt you’ll be able to pick up the pace to what you see other drivers doing. 

18. Be Responsible For Your Own Safety 

You are the one on the road and you are the one that has to actually make choices. Dispatch will push you, shippers want something done, and you have deadlines. You are ultimately in charge of your safety, and if it’s not safe for you to drive, due to weather or exhaustion, don’t drive. If you crash it won’t be on them. It’ll be on you. You’re the captain of your vehicle so you’re the one making the call. 

19. Spread Out Parking 

Sometimes you’ll pull into the truck stop to get some sleep. There aren’t a lot of people there and more than a few spaces are open. Now is when you’ll run into an unspoken rule. If you don’t have to park next to another truck, don’t park next to another truck. Just give people their space and you’ll get yours as well. 

20. Help Other Truckers

Even though you spend a lot of time alone you have to remember that you’re all in this together. Be kind to them on the road. If he’s going faster than you, let him pass. Pay it forward and know that you’re all in this together, sharing the road. 

21. Take A Shower

You’re not going to be doing much physically but you will still exude a smell. This is a smell you likely don’t even know is there because you’ve been locked in the cab with it. There’s no excuse for you to not maintain your personal hygiene. Take a shower when you can and don’t skip them because “I don’t smell.” You do. It’s just that you can’t smell it. 

22. Prepare Your Family

You’re not the only one that will be affected when you start trucking. If you have a wife/husband or children you need to prepare them for the new job. You’re going to be away a lot. This should have been something you considered before taking the job. Just know that it takes a toll on them as much as it does you. Make sure they’re ready what lies ahead. 

23. Money Comes Later

Like almost every job you’ll take, you won’t make a lot of money when you start. You have to put in the work and steadily get more experience. The guys who have been working for years are going to get the better runs that pay more. That’s just how it is. Stick with it and if you’re good at the job money will come later. 

24. Always Check Your Landing Gear

Get out of the truck and check it personally. I know it says that it’s down inside but it’s not worth the risk. You have the time to get out and check it. There may have been a problem or something else has gone wrong. Either way, it’s best to take a minute and be safe. 

25. It Will Get Better

Trucking is difficult and not everyone is built for it. It demands long hours and time away from home spent on the road. It’s lonely and there will be long stretches where you don’t speak to anyone else. You’ll be working in bad conditions, under a lot of stress, and trying to meet bad deadlines. It’s hard, especially at first. It will get better. As you gain experience you’ll be able to handle more and do more. 

Truck Repair in Simi Valley


Your truck is your livelihood and you’re going to spend more time with it than you will your family. If it breaks down on the road it could cost you dearly. Before you go out on the road and when you come back you should always make sure your truck is in top condition.This is how you keep making money for your family and ensure that you’re not stuck on the side of the road. Simi Center is here to help you with that. We offer truck repair in Simi Valley and Trailer repair in Simi Valley. No matter the circumstances with your truck or trailer, we can help. Give us a call today and see what we can do for you.