Think anyone can jump into a Class 8 truck and start rolling down the road? Being on the front lines of helping new Class A CDL holders transition into their truck driving career, the team at Paper Transport sees the struggles new graduates face first-hand. Paper Transport would like to bring light to the challenges of industry and common issues new CDL graduates face when adapting to the truck driver lifestyle that can determine, are you really ready to become a truck driver?
Work/Life Balance: Being an OTR or regional truck driver means not being able to see your family every day or even every other day.
How to Adapt:
- Creating a routine of communication. Be intentional with finding a time that works for you and your loved ones. Utilize a one-touch headset to keep in touch with family. Also, utilize video chats daily during your downtime.
- Make the most of home time. When you are home be sure to be fully present. Quality over quantity.
Technical Skills: The training period will not prepare you for everything you will face on the road. Practice is the key to your success. The team at Paper Transport, including your Driver Manager and Driver Trainer, is here to help you prepare for and overcome challenges you may face throughout your career!
How to Adapt:
- Trip Planning: Can you efficiently route from Point A to Point B?
- Hours of service (HOS): Being able to understand and abide by HOS: 11 hours of actual drive time.
- Unpredictability: Some days will be longer than others. Companies must meet the promises made to customers if the driver is okay to drive.
- Adaptability: Things happen. Routes and schedules will not always go as planned. Our Driver Managers always do their absolute best to keep you on schedule and moving.
- Route Awareness: Do you know where to park at the end of the night? Where is your nearest truck stop in case of an emergency?
- Backing-up and parking techniques: Are you able to maneuver into small spaces just as well as large ones? Backing up skills are key to your success as a truck driver so practice, practice, practice!
Lifestyle Change: From meal preparation to packing for the road, the truck driver lifestyle is a whole new level of independence.
How to Adapt:
- Clothing: Be prepared for the full spectrum of weather that Mother Nature has to offer. One day you might be in a fall-like climate and the next day you will be in the middle of a snowy winter climate.
- The Necessities: Sleep, hygiene, food/water, financial, physical health, entertainment, etc. We suggest doing some research online or asking your trainers/mentors what to pack for the road based on how long your trip is.
- Budgeting: This is an essential factor when considering how you are going to choose your meals for the day. Fast food options could potentially cost you $100 dollars per week ($10 dollars for 2 meals x 5 days a week). Not to mention fast food will negatively affect your health.
- Amenities: You can prepare meals right in your truck using a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee pot, and dishes. Non-perishable food, such as canned soup is a great option for drivers! Simple to store, easy to cook, and use of minimal dishes. Another popular food choice is leftovers or prepared meals. This allows you to have a taste of home while on route.
Loneliness: Although one of the biggest attractions of the job is “being your own boss” and independence, loneliness is still something that will happen!
How to Adapt:
- Connections: Try to strengthen the bonds you have with a few loved ones in your life. Whether that be your direct family, friends, or the people you meet along the way in your career as a truck driver.
- Create Your Own Entertainment: Find hobbies to not only entertain yourself but find a sense of normalcy. This will also help you reduce stress! Some simple ideas include listening to podcasts, reading or listening to books, connecting with truckers through social media, exercise, puzzle books, listening to music, or whatever floats your boat.
There you have it! We hope we were able to provide some clarity as you decide, are you really ready for a career as a professional truck driver?
Do you see yourself as a professional truck driver? If so, we encourage you to check out our CDL-A Finishing Program which prepares new Class A CDL graduates for their professional careers.
Learn more about driver experiences as they join the Paper Transport team on our Facebook page!