15 July 2022

How to Go From Rookie Truck Driver to Experienced Trucker


How do I become a successful truck driver?

There will be long days, construction traffic, inconsiderate drivers, and other obstacles. The most successful professional truck drivers take all of it in stride and are trucking companies’ preferred drivers.

Your CDL training program or truck driving school is only the beginning of your education and your driving career. You’ll learn a lot out on the open road from fellow truckers, dispatchers, direct managers, shippers, and receivers.

Work hard, keep a clean driving record, learn from everything and everyone around you, take care of yourself (e.g., get enough sleep, plan healthy meals, get regular physical exercise, and take care of your mental health), and ask for help when you need it. 

Truck driving is an important part of the trucking industry and the economy as a whole. Do your part and you’ll become a successful and valued member of it.

What qualities make a good truck driver?

Beyond a high school diploma or GED, there are a few qualities trucking companies and their recruiters look for when posting job opportunities. Truck drivers who aim to continue learning after they earn their commercial driver’s license and endorsements have the best shot at being good truck drivers and getting the best truck driving jobs. That’s why curiosity, self-motivation, and conscientiousness are traits of a good truck driver.

Whether you’re an owner-operator or a company driver, there will always be something to learn and opportunities to make good or bad decisions. Truck driving jobs include freedom and the responsibility to manage yourself well. You’ll check in with your dispatcher or manager daily and they’ll be there when you need them, but there will be times when you’re on your own. The decisions you make during those times will shape the kind of driver you’ll become.

What are the characteristics of a rookie truck driver?

Any kind of rookie, truck driver or otherwise, is new to the job. It’s as simple as that. In the truck driving industry, they’ve also recently completed a driver training program. The best first year truckers are also eager to improve their skills and make a positive impact on the people around them.

Improve your driving skills by driving, talking with other drivers, and getting more training, such as adding a new endorsement or learning how to drive a new kind of truck. 

For a positive impact, hone your customer service skills when talking to shippers and receivers, stay professional and respectful at truck stops and loading docks, and share and listen to safety tips.

Driver jobs are more than just operating a truck or earning a Class A CDL. Your new career can lead to all kinds of opportunities.

When am I no longer considered a rookie truck driver?

New drivers graduate to experienced drivers when they’ve gained more experience and knowledge. Generally speaking, you’re no longer a rookie after your first year on the road.

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