5 Things to Focus on During Your First Year as a CDL Driver

Posted on: 27 July 2022

Do you want to get into truck driving as a career? As with any career trajectory, the first year is an adjustment period when you will learn many new skills and face challenges. How can you stay focused during your earliest days of working as a CDL driver? Here are a few places to focus your energy for positive lifelong benefits. 

1. Gain Seat Experience. Your goal for the first year of truck driving should be to put what you've learned to use on the road. This means lots and lots of hours in the seat doing the driving. It can be an adjustment and call for diligence, but you'll speed up and shorten your learning curve. 

2. Learn to Get Along. Many truck drivers work alone, but many others work with a partner or team. So use this time to hone your interpersonal skills and learn to get along with many different personality types. From your driving instructor or trainer to potential company partners, view each person in the cab as a chance to improve in keeping the peace and enjoying working with others. This opens up more opportunities for you. 

3. Avoid Accidents. No one wants to be in — or worse, to cause — an accident. But take extra care to learn how to spot potential accident triggers and avoid problems. Not only will these maintain your clean driving record in order to make you more attractive to employers, but you also develop good driving habits for life. 

4. Practice Frugality. Truck drivers can make a lot of money once they're established. And with backlogs in the industry and higher demand, your chances of good paychecks continue to increase. However, everyone who starts out in a new career may need to work for less than they'd like at first. Be frugal and learn to follow a budget. It won't last forever, but it'll help you stay on target with your new line of work. 

5. Plan a Career Path. While you gain experience and learn about the truck driving industry, start to decide what you want from your career trajectory. Do you want to work as an owner/operator? Work as part of a driving team? Do long-haul or short-haul work? Work for a large company or an independent carrier? By forming a plan, you'll avoid wasted time and energy later. 

Where to Start

Ready to get started in your CDL driving career? Begin by learning more about available Class A CDL jobs in your area today.