Real Stories from CDL Truck Drivers: What They Wish They Knew Before Starting Their Training
Becoming a CDL truck driver is a challenging but rewarding career choice. Truck driving allows drivers to see the country, embrace the freedom of the open road, and make a good living. However, starting out on this path can be daunting, and there are things that CDL truck drivers wish they had known before beginning their training. In this blog, we’ll take a look at real stories from CDL truck drivers, sharing the knowledge and experience they’ve gained along the way.
1) Understanding the lifestyle: While the freedom of the open road is enticing, it is important to understand the lifestyle that comes along with being a CDL truck driver. One driver shared that he wasn’t prepared for the long periods of time spent away from home, and the physical demands of driving a truck for hours on end. It’s important for new drivers to weigh the pros and cons of the job and to have a support system at home.
2) Proper route planning: A rookie mistake new CDL truck drivers frequently make is not properly planning their routes before heading out. This can lead to setbacks, delays, and frustration. As one driver shared, “I had no idea how important it was to plan your route before leaving. I would frequently find myself in unfamiliar areas, trying to navigate with no information, and it was incredibly stressful.” Properly planning your route before leaving can save time, fuel, and hassle.
3) The importance of safety: Safety is paramount in the trucking industry, and new truck drivers need to understand the risks and how to safely operate their vehicles. Drivers should thoroughly learn and follow the rules of the road, take proper breaks, and annually maintain their vehicles. Understanding the consequences of not following safety protocols can prevent future accidents and costly fines.
4) Health and wellness: CDL truck driving can take a toll on a driver’s health, and it is important to prioritize wellness. Drivers should schedule regular exercise, maintain a balanced diet, and get enough sleep. A driver shared, “I wish I had known how important it was to take care of my health. I had poor eating habits, wasn’t exercising regularly, and had terrible sleep hygiene. It really caught up with me after a few years.” Taking proactive steps to prioritize health can increase overall job satisfaction and longevity.
5) The camaraderie of the industry: CDL truck drivers work together in a unique way, establishing a special bond with others in the industry. Whether it be over CB radio, at truck stops, or at industry events, drivers should take advantage of the opportunity to connect with others in the field. As one driver put it, “I had no idea how tightly knit the trucking community was. I’ve met amazing people, helped each other out on the road, and even made lifelong friends.” There are many resources available, but the most valuable ones often come from experienced drivers themselves.
There is no one way to learn everything about becoming a CDL truck driver, but learning from current drivers who have already walked the path can prove insightful. These real-life experiences and stories can pave the way for success on the road. Understanding the lifestyle, properly planning routes, prioritizing safety and health, and connecting with others in the field are just a few of the key takeaways that CDL truck drivers wish they had known before starting their training. With the right knowledge and mindset, future drivers can launch long-term careers and thrive in the industry.