First Year Trucking Survival Guide

So, you just got your CDL, and you are ready to hit the road to start your career as a professional truck driver.

For many new drivers and even professional drivers, trucking can be challenging.

Although trucking school helps prepare you for life on the road, you will still face many challenges.

Trucking is more than just a job, it’s a lifestyle. That is why we broke down our survival guide into three categories: physical, emotional, and mental.

Physical Survival Guide

Maintain Your Health

Long-haul trucking can take a toll on your physical health. A CDC study states that truck drivers are twice as likely to be obese compared to other U.S. workers.

Obesity increases the risk of other serious health problems, so drivers need to take care of their physical health. 

Taking care of your physical health starts with exercising and eating healthy. 

Exercising and eating healthy on the road can be a challenge, but it is essential if you want to limit the risk of developing serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea.

To eat healthy on the road, you will have to start packing healthy foods and snacks.

Truckstop food and fast food restaurants do not offer many healthy options.

Check out our blog Healthy Foods Truck Drivers Should Include in Their Daily Diet for ideas on what foods to bring with you on the road. 

With the amount of time truck drivers spend a day driving, finding the time to exercise is challenging. Check out our blog 3 Ways to Stay Active on the Road as a Truck Driver

Truck Maintenance 

Breakdowns or maintenance related issues are something every truck driver will experience at some point in their trucking career.

Truck drivers need to have a preventative maintenance program in place to help limit repair costs while on the road.

Failing to stay up to date on your truck’s maintenance means you’re less likely to spot a problem before it occurs. This can end up costing you a lot of money and time off from work.

Check out our blog Guide to a Preventative Maintenance Program for Semi Trucks  

Pack Essentials

When you are a truck driver, your truck becomes your new home.

It is not uncommon for drivers to spend weeks at a time away from home. So, packing the right items in your truck is crucial. 

Before you leave for your trip, make sure to make a list of everything you think you might need while you’re out on the road. 

Check out our Packing List for Long Haul Truck Drivers

Emotional/Mental Survival Guide 

It is no secret that being a truck driver is hard on your mental health. Truck driving is a demanding job and can be very stressful at times. In addition to a stressful work environment, truck drivers spend a lot of time alone in their truck. Constantly being alone can affect one’s mental health.

Stay in Touch

Keeping in touch with your friends and family back home helps truck drivers feel less lonely on the road.

In some cases, truckers are away more than they are home. This can affect a person’s mental health in a lot of negative ways.

Make it a habit to talk with a family member or friend once a day. Staying in contact with your loved ones will help fight the loneliness that most truckers feel while on the road.

Establish a Routine

This may be difficult for some drivers, but if you can, establish a night or morning routine. 

Research shows that having a night routine in place helps promote better sleep. A goodnight’s rest is extremely important for drivers, so here are some of our nighttime routine examples.

  • Avoid caffeine a few hours before bed.
  •  Eat a healthy dinner.
  • Turn off electronics an hour before bed.
  • Take time for yourself.
  • Plan out the next day.

Disconnect 

When you live on the road as a truck driver, it can be difficult to separate your home life from your work life.

Taking time for yourself is crucial for your mental health.

Set aside time every day to disconnect. You can disconnect by exercising, listening to music, or even a podcast. 

Need help finding a good podcast to listen too? Check out our blog Top 5 Podcasts for Truckers

Conclusion

Being a truck driver is not easy. It requires mental, emotional, and physical strength. The lifestyle can be overwhelming at times, but it can also be very rewarding.

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About the Author

Hannah Guanipa

Hannah Guanipa

Marketing Coordinator for The Trucker's Network

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