5 common mistakes that rookie truck drivers should avoid
Beginning a new career, especially one that involves driving across the country, can be exciting. Truck drivers transport everyday essentials, whether it’s phones, clothes, or construction materials, making their job crucial for the functioning of businesses and households. However, many rookie drivers can make mistakes in their first few days on the job. Some such mistakes can cause significant damage to life and property. So, here are common lapses that rookie truck drivers should avoid:
Going too fast
Truck driving regulations in the country allow up to 20,000 pounds per single axle and up to 34,000 pounds per tandem axle, meaning the load can exert a lot of pressure on the wheels. Driving too fast may result in a loss of control and subsequent overturning of the vehicle or an accident. This is why it is best to practice caution while driving the truck, and remember that an accident can slow you down way more than driving at reduced speeds. Rookie drivers should be even more careful when going downhill, as downshifting and slowing down may become tougher in that stretch of road.
Ignoring road signs
One of the most common rookie truck driver mistakes is not paying attention to road signs. While navigation systems can be helpful, they may not be 100% accurate all the time. Look out for signs indicating speed limits, clearance markers, and one-way streets, among others, to ensure a smooth driving experience.
Overlooking the trailer length
While it may seem impossible to forget about the long trailer attached to the truck, it can be a common hurdle for rookies. As new drivers may not be used to taking into account the length of the vehicle, they may find it difficult to make turns or check for blind spots. Rookie drivers must be especially careful while judging turning distance or maneuvers to avoid accidents on the road.
Fuelling up at the wrong time
Every gallon of fuel weighs roughly 6 pounds, and the two 150-gallon tanks on a truck can affect your gas mileage, trip time, and weigh-in number. Rookie truck drivers must keep a keen eye on when and how much to fuel. Carrying a full load and fuelling up right before a weigh-in can make the truck seem heavier than the permissible limit. So this common rookie truck driver mistake can be avoided by planning ahead to figure out available fuel stops.
Rookie drivers may struggle with double clutching and downshifting, straight backing, adjusting the driver’s seat and mirrors properly, making right-hand turns, starting from a stop at an incline, and figuring out how to parallel park. It is important to remain patient as time and experience will help you develop a knack for solving these issues. Rushing the process may hinder your learning and cause costly accidents. If you are a new truck driver, have a backup plan for when things get rough. Maintain a list of contact numbers to access roadside assistance services and have a roadside assistance plan in place for issues like accidents, a dead battery, tire change, or mechanical troubles to ensure a safe driving experience.
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Truck driver FAQs
Whether you are a rookie or an experienced trucker or own a trucking business, here are a few FAQs to improve your daily operations:
Which are the best electronic logging devices (ELDs) for truckers?
The best ELDs connect to the engine and automatically record driving movement. A popular option is Motive (formerly KeepTruckin). It is easy to install, user-friendly, and affordable.
How to find the ideal trucking management software?
The software should be capable of scheduling, dispatching, tracking freight movements, and offering electronic documentation. Popular options include Axon Software, TruckingOffice, and ProTransport.
What are the types of truck freight services?
There are seven common types of transport services: semi-trailers, flatbeds, step decks, dry vans, reefers, box trucks, and tankers. Each truck can carry different types of loads based on the cargo’s size, shape, and contents.
Which are the best websites to sell semi trucks?
Selling a semi truck for the ideal value requires locating a credible buyer. Pre-owned truck dealers like Charter Trucks, Fleet Trailer, and Commercial Truck Trader are popular picks.
Which are the best fuel cards for truckers?
The most popular options include the EFS Fleet Card, which lets you set purchase limits in real time and consolidate transactions on a single platform. Another popular choice is the Chevron and Texaco Business Card, which lets the truck owners monitor their employees’ spending in real time, limit purchases, and do much more.