When you’re training as a truck driver there’s a lot to take in. Driver trainers are there to take you through the essentials of driving a heavy-duty vehicle. But while they will cover a lot in these sessions, there are seven things they may not have mentioned.
1 Plan your route
Before every journey, ask yourself key questions such as: Do I have enough hours to get the load delivered on time? And is the weather likely to slow me down? You also need to plan ahead for parking, refuelling, and where you’re going to take your breaks.
2 Keep the fifth wheel greased up
If you’ve not already done it, it’s time to get some grease on that skid plate. And while you’re there, spray the fifth wheel latch with some WD40 so it’s ready for action if needed.
3 Fluid thinking
You’ll already know you need a lot of tools when on the road, but you also need a lot of liquids. Motor oil, washer fluid, coolant, and power steering fluid are just some of the liquids you should stock up on. And that list of liquids should include something for you to drink too.
4 Clean up
If you’re sharing a truck with other drivers, don’t hand over a filthy truck. Keep the interior of the cab clean, and keep your fellow drivers happy.
5 Eat well
Sitting down for the majority of the day does not burn many calories. It’s important to be aware of what food you eat and how much of it. Avoid fast food – its pack full of calories and is overpriced anyway. Invest in a cool bag or make use of the fridge (if you have one) and load up with some healthy food. Fruit, veg, tins of tuna, peanut butter, cheese, baked crisps and water. Oh, and don’t go without a good coffee in the morning.
6 Make sure you’re comfortable
You might get a cab with a comfortable seat. But you might not. If it’s the latter, requesting a new seat probably won’t be an option, so you need to get creative. There are all sorts of products designed to improve your seat including wooden beads, gel seats to give support, and warming seat cushions.
7 Don’t give up
Driving a truck is tough, and the first year is often the hardest. There’s lots you learned in training, but a lot more that you’ll learn on the job. You’ll get frustrated, you’ll get bored, you’ll probably get stressed from time to time, but it will get better.