You may have heard a trucker say that the first year of trucking is the toughest; however, it is also an exciting time for new drivers to prepare for learning the ropes of the road and the obstacles that come with it. As a new driver, the first year is all about observing and absorbing everything you can so that you feel fully prepared when the time comes to take on the long haul on your own.
The first year in your truck is a transitional phase; learning the ins and outs of a new job can be nerve-wracking. Utilizing this time is the first step in gaining the skills required to be a safe and professional driver. Whether you’re just starting your career on the road or considering a career in trucking, follow these three tips to start your first year in a truck off on the right foot!
Truck driving is a big adjustment mentally and physically for individuals entering their first year on the road. “It’s the true test of finding out whether a career in driving is for you,” said Sheldon Wheeler, our Corporate Driver Service and Fleet Safety Manager. Depending on the position you’re interested in, you could be sitting for extended periods of time on an over the road position compared to a more local position, where you are actively jumping in and out of the truck often. Adapting to extended times away from home and new experiences are also critical in overcoming the first few weeks in the driver’s seat.
It is important to know what you like and what you are comfortable with. There is always an opportunity at The Erb Group to grow and move into new positions and passions that suit your needs and lifestyle. Your happiness is significant in enjoying the day-to-day responsibilities of being a driver; be extra mindful of your intuition!
Driver Services is the number one contact you should stay connected with within year one. From the first day, as an entry level driver, a driver gets partnered up with a driver trainer for eight weeks at Erb. “During training, we attempt to prepare you and create a minimal place of anxiety for when you are ready to go out and establish your own rhythm of the road.” Said Sheldon.
Maintaining a good connection with driver services early on allows you to find yourself and your surroundings as a new driver. Without an established routine, driver services can advocate and help you to build connections with peers and other important people in the delivery/pickup process when you need help with a specific situation. Additionally, our driver services team hosts mandatory safety training meetings annually for all drivers with a different theme for each session to ensure our drivers stay educated, engaged and safe! Once you are familiar with the business and processes, the key communication primarily lies between peers, dispatchers, and your coach.
As a driver, good communication skills are an asset. Being on the road alone often means that you need to maintain many lines of communication. “Don’t make yourself feel isolated – there is a network around you that wants to see you succeed. Your success is our success,” said Sheldon. Developing your own voice and advocating for yourself is important. Especially if you’re struggling with work relationships, your truck or just a tough day. At The Erb Group, we value our drivers’ mental health and well-being and understand how investing in our employees’ health helps them excel in their jobs.
Reflecting on his time at Erb, Sheldon explains, “It’s exciting and great, I’ve been in the industry for 38 years, and I love it more every day.” The first year in a truck can be tough, but it’s a great way to travel, develop and experience new things. If you are passionate about driving, you can quickly move up and gain skills that lead to bigger and better opportunities. Throughout your 365 days of new driving experiences, remember to give yourself ease and use these three tips to help you truck through the new adventures that lie ahead.
Interested in driving for The Erb Group of Companies? Check out our updated job board postings here. Please note that we request one year of driving experience; however, once you have reached the 10 -12-month mark, we encourage you to contact our recruiting team to start learning about the application process. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org when you are ready to make some cool moves!
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