So you’re ready to start work as a truck driver. For long distance truck drivers, your first trip is most likely going to be with an experienced driver. This is where you’ll continue your truck driving ‘education’. In effect, you’ll be learning how to fit into the company and how to meet your employers expectations. If you want your own rig, then be prepared to learn fast, and to show them you can go it alone.
To prepare for your first trip, put aside any old fashioned notions of adventure, or that it’s a romantic job. You will have adventures over time, however, it’s going to be hard work to begin with. New truck drivers make one of two mistakes – they either under prepare, or they over prepare. If your first trip is as a co-driver, then remember you’re invading someone else’s space. This means being prepared to take less with you than you would if you had your own truck.
How do you prepare for that first trip? The most important step is to talk to your co-driver. Find out from them what they are expecting from you, and what they suggest is a requirement. As a general rule, clean clothing is important – who wants to sit in a cab with someone who is wearing clothing for the third day straight? Toiletries are also important, however, avoid any heavy fragrances like aftershave or body splash – again, remember you’re in a confined space for long hours, so don’t pollute the air.
You can take pre-prepared meals if the truck has the facilities to keep them and heat them. If the truck doesn’t have a fridge or microwave (and most do these days), then look at alternative food ideas. If you’re going to buy your food along the way, have plenty in your bank account or wallet. The same goes for drinks, and don’t bother taking alcohol with you – your employers won’t allow it, and neither will the law.
Finally, relax. If you are going with a co-driver, then they are in charge and they will be responsible for everything. You are there to learn, and help out where required. If you have talked to your co-driver and planned well, that first trip will be a breeze, and before you know, your truck driver training will pay off as you take off in a big rig all by yourself.