Embarking as a “rookie” in any new career always presents a learning curve. Especially as a professional truck driver, there is a lot to learn both on and off the road. The freedom of the road, new equipment and big paychecks could entice anyone to become a truck driver, but when it comes to being a newbie, patience is a virtue.
Like with anything, practicing good habits makes perfect. And establishing a routine and building a reputation as a reliable driver can take months or even years. Luckily, in this career field, the power of success is in your hands—what you put in, you will get out.
At Continental Express, we’ve recently seen an influx of drivers new to the road and trainees fresh out of a CDL school. We are excited to welcome these drivers to the industry and teach our core Continental values of “Safety, Service and Communication”.
So what advice can we offer our “rookie” truck drivers?
Being our first core value, our operations team knows safety is the number one priority. We want all of our drivers to have safety at the forefront of their minds all the time because we want every driver to return home to their families safely. Key practices we stress are to watch your speed, leave enough distance between you and another driver and shut the truck down if you are tired.
Following our second and third core values of service and communication, we like to stick to the old saying: treat others the way you would want to be treated. All drivers on the road have a seemingly common goal, deliver freight, get home safely and make money. If drivers look out for one another and remain courteous, it only helps everyone reach their goal. Whether it be helping a driver back into a dock, slowing down to allow a safe distance or simply having a conversation at a truck stop.
Don’t just take it from us. Continental Express has a lot of veteran drivers, all of whom have learned a few lessons in their years on the road. We called upon those drivers to offer the advice they wish they had heard back when they were the rookies.
“Be courteous, look around at what’s going on around you. Take pride in what you do, keep your truck clean and yourself. You’re at work not the beach or the gym, dress accordingly. Kill your headlights in a truck stop at night, blinding everyone else doesn’t make what anyone is doing easier. Lastly, this job isn’t that hard, be on time and don’t break anything doing it and it’ll all work out. – Brandon Weiss, Fort Worth, Texas. Continental driver since 2017.
“Patience! You are big and slow and will be in people’s way constantly but don’t let them rush you” – Tracy Cameron, Sidney, Ohio. Continental driver since 2011.
“Use every resource you have! Call ahead and ask if you can deliver or pick up. Plan, plan ahead and manage your hours. Work to always learn something new and be polite to everyone” – Travis Benton, Gaffney, South Carolina. Continental driver since 2013.
“You can take a million mountains too slow, you can only take one too fast.” – Amanda Williams, Fort Worth, Texas. Continental driver since 2019.
Finally, keep your head up! There’s a lot to learn and mistakes are an opportunity to learn, take a deep breath and start again; trying your best is all we will ask of you. We wish all our rookie truck drivers the best of luck as they begin their careers!