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The top 6 things CDL-A drivers wish they knew their first year

Posted in Blog, News  
Thursday, September 14, 2023

In trucking, every trip is a learning experience. And with years on the road come years of invaluable insight and knowledge. Here are some of the things veteran truck drivers wish they had known when they first started their careers in the driver’s seat. 

If you’re not 100% sure what you're doing, don’t do it
This piece of apt advice comes after a truck driver saw another driver get their rig stuck in a loading dock. As a professional driver, you’re constantly learning new skills and becoming more efficient. If you find yourself facing a challenge you aren’t sure you know how to overcome, consider asking a fellow driver for help!

Never skip out on your pre/post-trip inspections
One professional driver shared a story and photos about the time he was beyond grateful that he consistently did his pre- and post-trips. Before locking up for the night, he did a thorough walk around the truck when he noticed the tread of one of his tires was almost completely torn off. Luckily, he caught it before it caused any real damage. 

Always remember to lower the landing gear
While one driver swears he once witnessed someone drop their trailer without putting down their landing gear, this piece of advice is more about always double-checking yourself and never letting your guard down. Experienced drivers suggest having a process and order for everything you do while on the clock so that you don’t accidentally forget to put down your landing gear. And, whenever you’re in doubt: G.O.A.L (get out and look!).

Keep a cool head, and don’t rush
Remaining calm and collected in stressful situations is key to having a career behind the wheel. One CDL-A driver got in too much of a rush and ended up hooking the undercarriage of his trailer on a parking barrier. Every day, truck drivers are faced with challenges and obstacles, ranging from traffic and poor weather conditions to difficulties completing a run. One of the things experienced drivers wish they had adopted from the start is to stay calm and keep it trucking. 

Remember, you can do this 
While there will be some challenges and difficulties, you can do this. Professional truck drivers have a skillset and commitment to hard work like no one else. NTB recognizes the talent and commitment our drivers bring to the table, and we want them to know that we support them and encourage them, both professionally and personally. The road ahead may have its challenges, but remember, you can do this!