You Have Your CDL, Now What? How to Prepare for Life on the Road

Received your CDL? Looks like you’re ready to drive trucks on the open road! But there are a few things you should bear in mind to truly prepare yourself for life on the road. Here are some to take into consideration early on!

Adapt to a New Schedule

When you first start out as a truck driver, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll routinely get the shifts that you want. Preferable driving hours are in high demand and, chances are, there are other, longer serving drivers in the company than you and they’re likely to be given first pick. This means that you may have to get used to a more challenging schedule to start out with. 

This could include late hours or driving in particularly desolate or built up areas that can be more difficult to navigate. Eventually, you’ll build experience and a reputation within the company you’re working for and get some preferable shifts. But for now, get ready for a challenge.

Invest in a Quality Mattress

If you’re working long hours and will have to take breaks in your truck, it’s a good idea to invest in a quality mattress that can be placed in the back. This will provide you with a means of getting some genuine rest while you’re out on the road. Rather than trying to nap sitting up-right, you’ll be able to lie down and catch some good quality sleep. This can help you to drive more safely and comfortably.

Drive Responsibly

Safety needs to be at the forefront of your mind at all times when you are on the road. This goes for every road user, but is particularly important for truck drivers, as you’ll be driving larger vehicles with potential for more damage. Seeing as you’ll be driving for long periods, you may also find that you pick up bad habits or fail to concentrate as well as you should at all times. Make sure to drive as slowly as you reasonably can, especially when driving in difficult conditions, such as rain, snow, around construction or various other situations on the road.

Consider Your Home Life

If you’re single, independent and don’t have any commitments at home, this won’t be an issue for you. But truck driving can put strain on a family. Even as a beginner, days at home can be few and far between. Consider how this will affect your family. When you do have days at home, do your utmost to plan exciting things to do together to get some quality time in. The same goes for friends. Try to make sure that your schedule still allows you to have some sort of social life.

Practice Your Parking

Parking a standard vehicle can be difficult. Parking a truck can be an extremely difficult task – especially if there aren’t appropriate spaces around. Where possible, try to find a spot in truck parking lots by getting to them early, rather than during peak times. You may also want to practice parking in alternative, permitted locations too. These may be more difficult to park in, but with practice, you should get there.

As you can see, there’s a lot to take on board as a new truck driver, but hopefully, some of the tips and tricks outlined above will help you to settle into your new role a little easier!