Last week I asked the members of our truckers forum to think back on their careers. If they could travel back in time to when they first started driving, what advice would they give themselves? Their answers are below, covering a range of subjects and opinions.
- Relax, don’t let the stupid crap cars and trucks do around you get your blood pressure up. After I realized this trucking became a lot more enjoyable.
- Going faster doesn’t make you a better driver.
- Don’t let other big mouth CB cowboys get to you on the radio. If some flatbed owner op comes along in the hammer lane doing 71 and a half mph on the radio cursing because everyone is in his way, turn the radio off and realize you’re not going slow, he is speeding.
- Take it easy. That means let people in, don’t sweat other people cutting you off, don’t let the little things get to you, don’t be in a hurry (always a bad idea).
- Don’t let those 4-wheelers behind you make you begin to panic and make you lose focus. They live here, you don’t. They know where they’re going. You don’t. They can always go around you.
- Always pay attention. Be very patient.
Docking and Parking
- Good, consistent backing ONLY comes with experience
- I kick myself now for kicking myself back then for messing up backing. I realize now that I was just learning.
- If that last open parking spot looks like it could be a pain to back in to, it probably is. Go find somewhere else to park and leave that spot for someone who either has better skills or worse judgement.
- If you see a job that “might be for you”, go for it, dont hang on the fence second guessing everything.
- The grass ain’t greener on the other side of the fence..Get your experience, get on with a good company and stay there!..Don’t get a reputation as a job hopper.
- Far as starter companies are concerned,the grass is never greener on the other side.
- even if you are right out of school, you don’t have to go over the road with a crappy company to make a living driving.
- As far as making money goes, this is the golden rule: It’s what you haul, not where you haul.
Safety and Regulations
- Don’t let dispatchers push you to run illegal. Running too hard will eventually catch up to you and when you get involved in an accident the company will disavow any knowledge that you were running hard, violating the HOS reg at your dispatchers request. In short you will be thrown under the bus and replaced. WE ARE ALL REPLACEABLE. Toughest lesson I have ever had to learn.
- I wouldn’t of let dispatchers bully me into running and running.
- I would have looked for something closer to home so I could see my kids grow up and not miss birthdays and holidays… that was the toughest part of my career.
- Your kids and your wife should always come first. Unless, of course, you don’t like your family. Then, stay out as long as you want, but then, you should do something about not liking your family.
Attitude and Dealing With Others
- No matter how much you hate your dispatcher/FM/DM (or whatever your company calls them)…keep them happy. They can and will…make you or break you.
- The desire to express your frustration with some of the people we associate with is understandable, however if you are patient and kind, time will usually weed out the whiners and reward hard work.
- Develop a sense of humor, if you don’t already have one. Otherwise, this business will chew you up and spit you out.
Health and Diet
- Don’t eat the corndogs, they’re addictive
- Eat healthy from the get go, not 5 years into your career.
- Eat healthier and watched the truckstop food from day 1 not years later
- I wish I would of taken better care of my body. Eat better food and excersize more.
- I wish I wouldn’t of kept jumping off of my flatbed trailers, especially after the old guys warned me that I would regret it later.
- Don’t change everything on the truck to make it ride smoother. Don’t change the springs, shocks, alignment, tires, seat, wheel balance, etc. Instead, trade trucks.
You can find the rest of the thread here, but feel free to add your responses in the comments section here.