Make the Most of Your Training Experience

Getting started in a new career as a
truck driver can seem a bit overwhelming as there is a lot to learn. Many of
our trainers are seasoned veterans of the road who have been out here for many
years and can teach you a lot about the reality of this career. Lessons that
can never be taught in any classroom. Here are some tips that will help you
make the most out of your time with your trainer before you go out on your own.

Approach
everything as a new learning experience.

If you are a newbie it’s very
important to have an open mind and not be afraid to ask questions. A good
trainer will take the time to explain things thoroughly—and in a respectful
manner.

Smoker
or non-smoker? Be honest.

If you are a smoker, please do
everyone a favor and don’t ask to be placed with a non-smoking trainer. If
you’re a non-smoker then that same principle applies—ask for a non-smoker to
train you.

Avoid
topics of discussion such as politics, race, or religion—and the use of
profanity.

As Americans, we have the freedom to
possess our own beliefs but discussion about certain topics such as politics,
race, and religion should be avoided by both the trainer and the trainee. It
may cause animosity and tension which can—and often does—interfere with the
ability of the trainer and trainee to remain civil to each other during their
time together. Keep it clean and act like a professional.

Don’t
talk too much—especially about irrelevant stuff!

If you know in your own mind that
you are an overly talkative person but can tell that your trainer is a bit more
reserved and quiet-natured, don’t become that annoying person that he or she
can’t wait to get off their truck. Relax and keep your ears and eyes open for a
chance to learn as much as you can.

Brush
up on your map reading skills!

A growing majority of people have
become increasingly dependent upon GPS units over the last decade while driving
their personal vehicles. But it is imperative that a professional truck driver
knows how to plan a trip utilizing a Motor Carrier Road Atlas in conjunction
with written truck-legal directions to the shippers and receivers they are
going to. While a GPS can be used as a tool to help a driver find the streets
in their truck-legal directions it should never be relied upon for routing.
Besides, a GPS failure is never an acceptable excuse for a late delivery or
anything a law enforcement officer wants to hear if you allow yourself to be
routed to an illegal route or under a low bridge. It is also important to
condition yourself to read the posted road signs as you drive.

Be
prepared to take notes!

Bring along a pen and a notepad and
use it. A good trainer will be teaching you a lot of stuff that would never be
discussed in most driving schools or mentioned in a single textbook. Your notes
can be a great resource.

Turn
that cell phone off while you are driving!

It is against company policy for a
trainee to use their cell phones while driving. Besides, if you have a
significant other who insists on blowing up your phone with numerous calls
and/or text messages all day long then that can be a distraction for you as
well as a source of annoyance for your trainer. You will need to be sure your
family members understand this. You can provide them with the number to contact
Operations to have a message sent to your trainer’s truck in the event of a
legitimate emergency.

Don’t
overpack!

There is a limited amount of room on
a trainer’s truck for your belongings and only so much of what you have can be
held back by the bunk restraint if placed on the top bunk. Besides, you need a
place to sleep. The Driver Development Fleet personnel will provide you with a
list of what to bring with you.

Shower
frequently!

This is a no-brainer. When it comes
to a good image out here it’s important to practice good hygiene. Don’t become
that driver who makes a bad impression.