9 Tips for New Class A CDL Truck Drivers

Some Advice from PTI to Help Drivers in Their New Career

A group photo taken after orientation of Class A CDL Truck Drivers new to the PTI team!

Starting a new career can be tough, especially if you’re entering into an industry that’s completely new to you. Case in point: starting a new career as a professional Class A CDL Truck Driver. Courtesy of the drivers from the Paper Transport fleet.

9 Tips for new Class A CDL Holders

1. Ask Questions – When you’re starting out, it’s important to ask questions if you don’t understand something or are unsure about what you might need to do next. As Florida driver Roger Herrington puts it: “The only question that is wrong is the one you did not ask.”

2. Slow Down – It doesn’t pay to run around trying to get tasks done as fast as you possibly can, Especially, if you will only end up having to go back and redo all of your work. Wisconsin driver Joseph Vander Loop Jr. explains “it’s not about how fast you work – it’s how smart you work.” Work smarter, not harder.

3. Be Respectful – In any industry, whether in trucking and transportation or hospitality and beyond, the words “please” and “thank you” go a long, long way. Like the Golden Rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In your career, and life, it will help you go a long way.

4. Plan Ahead – This relates to almost everything a driver does each and every day. Not only should you plan the route you’re going to drive. Also, plan where you’re going to take a break, what you’re going to eat, how you’re going to handle any kind of delays, where you might want to stop to use the restroom, and so on and so forth. Wisconsin owner operator Bud Weber shares a line from a friend who said it best: “Expect the unexpected and you will not be surprised.”

5. Stay Positive – We all have our moments where we get down, yet what defines us is how we get through those moments and the best way to do it is to stay positive. Missouri driver Kelly Middleton explains it perfectly: “Always look for the good even in a bad situation.”

6. Put Safety First – If you don’t put safety first, you could run into a lot of problems. Certainly, worse yet, you could hurt someone else. Do the job the right way. Wisconsin driver Frank Metzenbauer: “Don’t take shortcuts … on the route or with procedures.”

7. Get Your Rest – When it’s time to take a break, listen to your body and take a break. Therefore, getting enough rest is key in doing well and it also applies to your mental state. Florida driver George Dean talks about why this is so important: “Reboot your brain every day. Get a good night’s sleep (as many hours as you possible can) and start over.”

8. Be Open to Learning – In trucking, things change almost daily. For that reason, you have to be open to learning new processes, technology, and change. Perfectly put by Wisconsin driver Stephen Runke: “In this industry, about the only thing you can count on is things will change … Adapt and move forward.”

9. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help – The biggest mistake that anyone tends to make in a new job is not asking for help, but swallow your pride and reach out if you need it. Missouri driver Kevin Skylar Lewis made very, very clear with this advice: “Never let your pride keep you from asking for help. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been driving.”


To conclude, these 9 tips from PTI drivers definitely offer some valuable insight on what it takes to be successful as a new Class A CDL driver in the industry.  In fact, it’s good advice for any driver with any amount of experience because there’s always room for improvement in everything we do. 

Are you ready join a successful team of drivers. Learn more on how to join the Paper Transport fleet here.