At NTB, we understand that a new career as a truck driver can leave a person with questions and a certain amount of anxiety. From obtaining a CDL to actual miles behind the wheel, it will likely take a year or more before a new driver has the skill to take on a new route with confidence.
We spoke with a few NTB drivers with differing levels of experience to see what advice they have for new drivers. The following are some notes we thought worth sharing.
Take All the Training You Can Get
What comes after the coaching that NTB provides for new drivers? Driving on your own.
Eddie, who has been driving for NTB for 8 months and had a previous stint of 2 years with a different company, would still consider himself a relatively new driver. When asked what advice he would give a new driver or someone who is thinking about a career in trucking, he said “Take in all the training that you can get. Once you are on your own, you are on your own.”
Now, this answer doesn’t mean you won’t have anyone to reach out to if you find yourself needing the answer to a question. But it is to acknowledge that those first few drives alone can be a bit nerve-wracking. Utilizing that training time we give to our drivers to really learn how to navigate a route, how to maneuver in a tight space, and to ask questions while you have the undivided attention of your coach will lead to a better first solo drive.
Learning all you can early on can make the difference between a career that brings you down and one you take a lot of pride and joy in doing. A good coach will teach you what to expect as a driver on the road and what it means for other parts of your life.
Just How Does a Career in Driving Impact Life?
Being away from home 5 out of 7 days a week isn’t an aspect of the job someone considering this career should take lightly. It means missing some events with family and friends that might be kind of tough. It’s important to take advantage of every moment you have with your family because while you can use modern technology to communicate with them while you are gone, that physical time together will be shorter than in most other careers.
With NTB, some of the away from home time is mitigated by knowing you will be home for the same 2 days every week, guaranteed. This schedule gives every driver a consistent “weekend,” which may not land on Saturday and Sunday but will give you the regular downtime you need for yourself and your family.
The big takeaway here is to use those precious moments at home to be with those who bring you happiness and don’t take any of that time for granted.
Is This a Job For Me?
There are a few things to consider when deciding if you are a good candidate for a career in trucking. Can you stay focused for long periods of time? Are you detailed and responsive to direction? Are you disciplined?
When we spoke with John, who has 25 years of driving experience and a lifelong background around heavy equipment, he told us that focus, concentration, and responsibility are 3 major factors you need to consider to determine if driving a truck is a good fit for you.
You will be spending hours behind the wheel and each minute of every hour is important. It’s not the last mile you drove safely that matters, it’s making sure that next mile is just as safe. It’s hard work being a driver and a lot of that hard work is brainpower. There are a lot of distractions on the road and being able to filter what needs your attention from the fluff is what will get you to your destination on time and intact.
Jerry, who has driven 4 million safe miles with NTB, says that you need to be able to follow the directives that are provided to serve the customer well. It’s important for a driver to stick to their route and not try to do things their own way. It takes discipline to stay on schedule and make a delivery on time.
Do you have what it takes? We’d love to hear from you.
Get into a career that suits you: apply to drive with NTB.
Ride with Pride: Shop NTB gear from mugs to sweatshirts.