If you're a new truck driver starting your career, you may be excited and ready to hit the highway. However, you may struggle with saving money on the road and being away from home. Here are tips rookie truck drivers should know:
1. Invest in a slow cooker. A slow cooker is a simple and convenient way to prepare your meals. Simply place your meat and vegetables in a slow cooker lined with a roasting bag and plug it in. Your food cooks while you drive so that you have a hot, fresh meal at dinner. Preparing your own meals is key for saving money on the road.
2. Shave time off your runs by asking for early loading times. For example, if you're scheduled to pick up a load in the afternoon, ask if the loading can be moved to that morning instead. A couple hours may not seem like much of a difference, but an early start means an early delivery and gives you time in case you run into delays. Delivering loads on time is critical for getting more loads in the future, especially for rookie truck drivers.
3. When you have long hours on the road, you're likely going to struggle with staying alert. Here are healthy, safe tips on staying awake:
- Keep your AC running. The cold temperature will help you feel alert.
- Have coffee, but avoid the caffeine crash by limiting yourself to 1-2 cups.
- Pull over and take quick 20 minute naps when you start to feel tired. As a trucker, you may be tempted to push yourself to make your deadline, but quick naps give you the energy you need.
4. Besides food, one of your biggest costs as a trucker is gas. Here are some tricks on being fuel efficient:
- If your engine's going to idle longer than a few minutes, shut off the engine. Idling isn't a big deal in small cars, but it adds up fast with a big rig.
- Drive smart and use less fuel by going easy on your brake and accelerator. Try and coast to easy stops rather than mashing on the brake.
- Don't stack loads higher than your cabin for better aerodynamics, which can contribute to better gas mileage.
5. Maintain relationships at home with family and friends. It can get lonely on the road, and a good support system will keep you happy and healthy. Here are some of the best ways to keep in touch:
- Make specific plans with friends and family for when you get back. This gives you something to look forward to and reduces homesickness.
- Keep in touch on the road. With social media, this is easier than ever. Call, text, or message everyone at least once a day.
- While this isn't always possible, make it back home for important events like birthdays, reunions, or anniversaries whenever you can.
These are tips every rookie truck driver should know. For more tips, you may want to speak with local truck driving companies like East Coast Driver Solutions and see what kind of advice they give their drivers.