What Does It Take to Become a Truck Driver: The Mental Side
New Class A CDL Drivers often find themselves in a state of overwhelm. There is a lot more to the job of a Professional Truck Driver than initially meets the eye. Veriha Apprenticeship Student, Shane, reflected that when he began the process of getting his Class A CDL he was shocked and overwhelmed with all the new material, studying, and responsibility that came with the new career - even though he had been driving with a Class B CDL for some time.
Coming to Terms That It Will Not Be Easy
A common misconception of a Professional Truck Driver is that they are just holding a steering wheel. We all drive our own personal vehicles daily, so how hard can it be – right? The reality is that Professional Truck Drivers have a lot more on their plate than just driving down the road. They put in the time to plan their route to make sure they will not go off of a truck route, run into a low bridge, or run into other obstacles. They must make sure to efficiently manage their hours of service to ensure they are maximizing their paycheck but also comply with DOT regulations. They have to know their truck – complete proper and thorough pre and post-trip inspections to ensure both their safety as well as the safety of the motoring public. They must have an incredible attention span and focus while on the road and avoid distractions to prevent accidents. Being a Professional Truck Driver is a very rewarding career – but individuals must go into it with the mindset that it won't be easy and they will have to work for it.
Respecting The Enormous Responsibility
Class A CDL Drivers have a lot of responsibility in their hands while driving down the road. Weighing in around 80,000 lbs., they need to be aware of all that can go wrong if they allow themselves to get distracted. Shane recalled just how nervous he was after watching some footage of distracted driving and how it can result in severe injury or even death to the driver or others if the responsibility is not taken seriously. As a Professional Driver, safety always has to be a number one priority. Drivers should not be scared, but they should have enormous respect for the responsibility that comes with the job.
Know That Confidence Comes with Time
Shane admits that it took a couple of months of solo driving to gain confidence in his abilities as a Professional Truck Driver. He notes that a healthy dose of nerves allows him to keep safety a number one priority and ensure he never becomes complacent. As in anything – new things take time to learn. No one will be perfect right from the start. As a new driver still in training, the important thing is to make sure you are utilizing all of your resources, asking a lot of questions, and allow yourself time to "get it". Confidence takes time, all you can do is ensure that you are not cutting any corners and maintain a safety-conscious mindset in all you do.
Find out more about Shane's journey through the Veriha Apprenticeship Program here.