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What to Expect Your First Year as a New Truck Driver

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A new truck driver endures the most challenging part of his entire career, in their first year. Just a few things the new trucker ought to be aware of, so you know what to expect in your first year. The pay is often lower than a more experienced driver, the loads dispatched to new drivers aren't usually premium loads, new drivers are often kept out on the road for very long periods of time, and sometimes trucking companies take advantage of new drivers. This first year may be somewhat stressful, but is necessary to get in hours behind the wheel, and get experience to add to your resume. Trucking companies like to hire drivers with experience, so you may not have much choice when it comes to your very first job in the trucking industry. After the first year, things should start to get better..... the driver will usually travel with his own company truck, and not as a team member/driver trainer, so become more independent. The loads will be better and things will fall into place. If you love to drive, hang in there... it'll be worth it in the long run. For more information to find out what to really expect from that first year as a CDL driver, check out http://www.smart-trucking.com/new-truck-driver.html . ------------------------------------------------------------------------ If you're a truck driver, or interested in becoming a truck driver, be sure to subscribe to our Smart Trucking Channel for tips and advice which may be useful in your trucking career. SUBSCRIBE TO OUR CHANNEL! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDLYpkffTdRP_7gSf18CAXA?view_as=subscriber CONNECT WITH US! Smart Trucking -- http://www.facebook.com/SmartTrucking -- http://www.google.com/+Smart-Trucking --http://www.twitter.com/Smart_Trucking --http://www.pinterest.com/smarttrucking Music From Apple Library Song: Windy City Medium Artist: Apple Inc.
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Text Comments (755)
catsintexas (9 days ago)
Does it matter that I am already 56 years of age, although healthy?
Smart-Trucking.com (5 days ago)
Not in the least. Dave
catsintexas (9 days ago)
nice video, good advice. that obnoxious loud bird in the background;....I would have at least turned around twice and told that bird to shut the hell up. But you had a good sense of patience and did not do that, "Smart-.."
Kyle Goyak (9 days ago)
Just signed on for a new job today. Thanks for the tips
Jochy (17 days ago)
Good to get advices from an experienced driver thanks!!
Smart-Trucking.com (8 days ago)
Thank you! Dave
Meghan Nicole (17 days ago)
I'm in my first few weeks, I love the driving, I'm getting better at backing, and even hold good rapport with the customers. Hate hate hate the company though. I wish these companies would be honest and treat their drivers better. I hope you're right and this gets better over time 😔
I realize the police was class b and got me to school for class a
Pedro Alb (22 days ago)
I have spent months researching becoming a freight broker and found an awesome resource at Ajana broker blueprint (google it if you're interested)
Smart-Trucking.com (18 days ago)
Okay, thanks! Dave
tennessee hunter (23 days ago)
every driver should start at 50k at least. then a 2k cost of living wage every year after that AND full paid medical head to toe....eventually it will come to a massive pay increase because what I see these days, these younger people, they are not gonna sacrifice their time like the old school drivers...no way
Alex B (24 days ago)
This guy is awesome
Smart-Trucking.com (18 days ago)
Thanks! Dave
Luis Delgado (29 days ago)
Thank you sir. Very well explained.
Smart-Trucking.com (18 days ago)
Thanks! Dave
decentbeadle 313 (1 month ago)
all sorts of nasty things can happen *heavy breathing behind carmera*
Pedro Chery (1 month ago)
Can you make $50,000 your first year
Baccuus (1 month ago)
Save your money to buy your own truck! Don’t stay with companies, they’ll steal your money!
Brolly MothaFucka (1 month ago)
Very informative
Josh McIlrath (1 month ago)
Great video! Just got my cdl today; going to start working for Doug Andrus next week. Really looking forward to it.
Josh Wescott (1 month ago)
Not a trucker but I like hearing about all this.
robert ross (1 month ago)
chapmanmerchant (1 month ago)
Well or you can have connections and just make it happen witch makes what your talking about not happen. cheers
Destiny Scott (1 month ago)
I know where he is coming from. I sold my truck due to age and drove local for a US Mail contractor, home everynite or day depending on shift you got. At a definite pay decrease, but worth it cuz I was only going to be running 4 days a week. Well thanks for the company not keeping their equipment up to snuff and I reported everyday that my steer tires were getting near the wear bar, blew a left steer, it when left, I steered hard right and at some point it caught and I went hard right into a jersey wall blew up in flames. With good workers comp and surgeries I don't drive no more. Any how, in the end of video he said he had clear DAK, 4 years driving exp and 4 millions miles driven. Hmmmm that math does not work. That number would be over 19k miles a week...
Smart-Trucking.com (1 month ago)
That would be 40 years driving experience and Canadians don't have a DAK report. Hmmmmmm better check your hearing. Dave
Paul Williams (2 months ago)
Make sure to speed up on passing lanes just to be a bastard like truckers do.
Mike pech (2 months ago)
Good video. I drove from 1968 till 2014. It was a great job and loved it until lately. I won't get into details. But I always had food and a roof over my head. Now, your best investment is a cam. It can help you out of a jam. Everyone wants your money. Police , DOT.people blaming you for hitting them that you didn't. people that hit you and leave without reporting it. Just protect yourself.
Smart-Trucking.com (2 months ago)
Exactly right Mike! Dave
rrrafa (2 months ago)
all sorts of nasty things can happen
1bikeman OnDaMoV (2 months ago)
Christian Thério (2 months ago)
Some are still haystack company some improved...
Christian Thério (2 months ago)
Company don't ask enuf new drivers....they only look for the experience ones...Would say its part of the shortage in the industry....would need more patience and knowlegement from company too...
GES (2 months ago)
Drove many years. If your a military minded person or the type of person who thinks logical only or predominately then OTR might work for you. But if you're a relationship minded person forget trucking. Shippers and receivers will beat on your door to wake you up. Also forget your family because you will not see them period! And they will run you to death from the beginning this guy is just talking theory about senior guys etc.
alessio272 (2 months ago)
Went from trucker to airline pilot. Trucking you will sleep in a sleeper most nights while your out. Your expected to be out for two to three weeks with two or three days out in trucking. In the airlines you can stay out for a week and get five days at home. Every day your out you stay in nothing less than a holiday inn express. Airlines respect their pilots more than trucking companies respect their drivers.
Tex Resident (1 month ago)
Did you join the air force? Flying freight or passengers?
to all your truck drivers out there, you have my respect you give up your lives away from your families to provide for them God bless you all
Wally Ortiz (2 months ago)
Thank you so much for sharing your video. Awesome advice. I myself just started and yes I am in training and yes you're right the pay is crappy but like you said it's not going to be easy but I have to start somewhere. Again thank you for sharing your video.
patinla777 (2 months ago)
Words that are never spoken when truck drivers are talking with each other, “Looks like you’ve been working out.”
Joe M (2 months ago)
I would like to add two things that may help. 1: If you are not sure exactly what is around your truck while backing, get out and look. Don't let pride or laziness get in the way, get out and look. 2: Use Google maps for new destinations you don't know. For places I never been, I use Google maps to check out the area and have even virtually driven the path I was not sure of with Google maps. I'm not saying drive a 1000 mile trip on the highway on Google, just the offramp to destination or where it could be tricky. With a 75 foot truck, you don't have a lot of room for error. I hope this helps someone.
Doc_Hawk (2 months ago)
Thanks for the tips with the driving element, I just got a 65' F600 with an unsynced tranny and with it being a larger vehicle, and a double clutch manual I'm trying to get all the knowledge I can before I can get it back on the road and start to drive it.
LAITO_o (2 months ago)
Thanks mate. I am an engineer (29 years) and I am seriously thinking of doing it. I can't bear the feeling of having a boss; I hate longterm cyclic commitment (waking up the mornings, doing the same thing every day); I am a night owl; I get highly energised when doing a task (Start - end); I made best memories when i was younger with friends driving across country (did 36 hours nonstop driving once) I do not know if this is good signs that the job will suit me, or not? Pleae advie
LAITO_o (2 months ago)
Thanks heaps mate. That's a relief and great motivation
Smart-Trucking.com (2 months ago)
Yup, I'd say those are good signs! I think you may be a natural! Good luck! Dave
The Questioner (2 months ago)
Have you ever gotten your truck washed at Blue Beacon? I think I washed your truck.
Smart-Trucking.com (2 months ago)
Washed at Blue Beacons everywhere. Which one did you work at? Dave
myownspiritlevel (2 months ago)
So I should prepare for my 2012 GMC Sierra to be repo’d? How many truckers go bankrupt in their first year?
Paolo Rodríguez (2 months ago)
I want to be a truck driver
Westside Smitty (2 months ago)
Awesome! Subbed and liked. After decades as an entertainer singing all them good old truck driving songs, looks like the economy is demanding I find another career! Looking into getting my CDL. Maybe I can carry my guitar and still sing a few songs at the truck stops! Meanwhile this is the inside track and thought provoking. Thanks!
Smart-Trucking.com (2 months ago)
Thank you and good luck as a travelling minstrel! Dave
enkadu007 (2 months ago)
Im currently working as a rgm in a retail food chain, i make about 40 to 45 a year working 50 hours a week, considering switching to this field for reasons mostly to not have to deal wiith 600 customers a shift,.. ty for the video sir
M T (3 months ago)
I just got my license a few days ago , im a new driver, where should i start ?
BubbaTech (3 months ago)
Todays my 3rd day out by myself
galacticious (3 months ago)
Google Street View on your smartphone is also a great tool. You can track the road in on it and also usually see the sign outside the site to confirm it is the right entrance. It also means you recognise where you are going as you approach.
EdMan50101 (3 months ago)
I started driving a Transit Bus at JFK Int'l in NYC. Then I became a Dispatcher/Trainer. I moved on to the NYC Transit Authority as a Bus Operator in Brooklyn, then Queens. I need to tell You that the Professionalism you displayed in this video was Top Notch. You Sir, are the Real Deal. Enjoy the Rest of Your Life.
Smart-Trucking.com (3 months ago)
Thank you sir, you too! Dave
Wake Up Pro-Drivers (3 months ago)
Is it even possible or worth trying to become an Owner Operator in today's day and age? Seems there's no money to be made out there. Feedback would be greatly appreciated and I really enjoy your videos!
Wake Up Pro-Drivers (3 months ago)
Smart-Trucking.com Thanks, Dave. It's a shame what 'greed' has done to this industry and to our country. Take care. William
Smart-Trucking.com (3 months ago)
Good gigs for O\O are few and far between these days. Unless your brother owns a factory and he wants you to haul his product, I'd stick to company driver. Dave
Redheadspellslinger. (3 months ago)
I use to deliver cabinets in illinois down by saint Louis. . . Im 20 I did that job for a year and a half. The stress is real on this job.
Smart-Trucking.com (3 months ago)
Yes it is! Dave
Tuber8301 (3 months ago)
Thank you for this very helpful information!
Ms. Sacha Aurora (3 months ago)
As a female... I wish I didn't have to worry about "all sorts of nasty things happening" if guys would leave us alone. I have requested a female driver for this particular reason, and if prime regards me.... I'll stay a student and keep waiting until one becomes available.
crashcoreytx (3 months ago)
Great video
Smart-Trucking.com (3 months ago)
Thank you! Dave
Bob Log (3 months ago)
Was in 6 crashes my first 2 years..one fatal. The fatal was not my fault as i got rear ended in a backup...i did not like it..now i manage an adult entertainment buisness. Much happier with GREAT benefits
Eric Wilson (3 months ago)
Why is it so hard to get through the six with the training
Marshall Cato (3 months ago)
Great video.
Smart-Trucking.com (3 months ago)
Thank you! Dave
dood poop (3 months ago)
But the school said i would make $100,000 a minute : ( I was just going to work for 30 minutes and retire ( -,_-)
jayar gamboa (4 months ago)
Thanks for the advice! Really helpful
heat flux (4 months ago)
what are pros and cons? im 29, i would like to finishe driving course for C category licence. Would it pay off?
Smart-Trucking.com (4 months ago)
By C category I assume you are trying to license for things like dump trucks or delivery trucks with tandem rear axles? If so, I would say yes, it would pay off as that type of driving is usually paid by the hour. Dave
Yazeed Husni (4 months ago)
Get 6 months experience and go local . I loathe OTR
progress426 (4 months ago)
Great video sir
lost cloud (4 months ago)
well there be spooning involved while sleeping in the cab with your trainer
Living Well With TJ (2 months ago)
If he’s cute and you’re lucky.
Doctor Heath (3 months ago)
Smart-Trucking.com (4 months ago)
Oh man, I just lost my lunch! Dave
Mike Bastoni (4 months ago)
I wish I had training with him and not with a guy who didn't care who was mad at the company hated trucking so I quit was not worth it
I Biniam (4 months ago)
Just subscribe to your channel
Smart-Trucking.com (4 months ago)
Thanks! Dave
dreharrison352 (4 months ago)
I got fired 5 months into driving smh trouble backing and the trailers were trash and I messed up 2. If I could go back and do it again I would get a partner and take my time with everything! I pulled up to a low overhead freaked out and backed up didn't get out and made contact with a vehicle. The worse
4.2 Jeep (4 months ago)
I'm thinking of becoming a trucker, I want to thank you for your videos. They've been very helpful. Can you make a video about the 'daily life' of a trucker on the job?
Smart-Trucking.com (4 months ago)
I'll do that! Dave
1980extremeG (4 months ago)
Great video! I'm across the pond in the UK and I think American trucks look much sexier than British/European lorries. I used to be a shunter driver in a factory; used to manoeuvre trailers and park them in the yard. I found reversing trailers very difficult at first, it's a real tough art to learn. But eventually it clicked. Tip for learner drivers; practice shunting /reversing with limited forward movement and room (an empty yard/quiet industrial estate is ideal) because eventually, like it or not, you will end up in a situation like that sometimes. There is a great culture with truck driving and a feeling of honour behind the wheel of such a beast of a machine; however, it's got its disadvantages (long hours, isolation, etc) and it should be a well paid job (some firms pay better than others just like any industry) because here in the UK nearly all goods are hauled by road 100% and I'm assuming that's the same in the USA; so it's an essential industry.
bawsx (4 months ago)
Always have an empty bottle, don’t ask why, just get it. Understanding why will come to you, out on the road.
lkjyuiop (5 months ago)
Do you still keep two log books They are trying to change them so they stop you from doing that. How do you have free time fun when you are on the road. What do u do.
Smart-Trucking.com (5 months ago)
These days I just run local and all I need to fill out is a vehicle inspection report. Dave
Campbell Jordan (5 months ago)
Is it bad I wanna get my CDL just so I can be behind the wheel of a truck? I’ve always been so fascinated by these trucks and I’d love to learn to drive one
rayme4raw (4 months ago)
CDL truck driving is a trade as well as a lifestyle. If you like problem solving and aren't afraid to get a little physical, it's not bad. The best advice is get some experience and in 6 months you can change your starter carrier for one that pays better. There is a trucker shortage, which is basically, a shortage of cheap drivers. A starter company is one that usually cannot operate with experienced and more expensive seasoned drivers with good clean records. Look for the best deal for you, don't let emotion rule your decision and be prepared to move on. Don't stick with a company 2 or 3 years hoping that it'll get better. A lot of starter carriers are raising their rates from .38 cents per mile to .41 cents per mile early this year. Be sure to ask the recruiter what the average miles their drivers drive per week.
Politically Incorrect (5 months ago)
LOL most of these new guys have never seen a map non the less know how to read one.
rayme4raw (4 months ago)
They teach that in CDL school, the new guys should practice. There's going to be a satellite apocalypse in the near future. All of your satellites travel the same route around the earth. When space debris hits a satellite, it breaks it up causing more space debris which hits another satellite and repeats. Eventually that route that satellites travel will have so much debris that no satellites can function. Then all drivers will have to read a map because GPS won't work, but that prediction is about 10 years out.
Speedo Adam (5 months ago)
Thank you sir, it's helpful.
Harriet Shearsmith (5 months ago)
This was really helpful, I love it!
Smart-Trucking.com (5 months ago)
Thanks Harriet! Dave
CLERIN D'CRUZ (5 months ago)
Hey it's been six months with cr England . Can we decline a load where we are not comfortable going? Does it cause any trouble for my jo?
Smart-Trucking.com (5 months ago)
I don't know England well enough to say. Try it and see what happens. Dave
mustang1191 (5 months ago)
Good advice for anyone starting out in any job.
Miah A (5 months ago)
I'm only a 10 year driver and always learn something everyday like these videos
Nick Tha Quick (5 months ago)
I have a question for you do you have tips for Expedited truck drivers who are going on the road in a straight trucks as a solo truck driver. Thank you
Smart-Trucking.com (5 months ago)
I don't, sorry. Never did that type of work. Dave
antonio8911 (5 months ago)
Hey man I'm trying to enter truck business in Brazil and I'd like to thank you a lot! Through a very good teaching posture, you share very important information in an objective, clear and well-intentioned fashion. We have some youtubers here also that share valuable information. I think that nowadays the internet plays a very important role in shaping the profiles of future professionals and you surely do your part in working for a better environment on the road. Thanks once again and God bless you! Or as we say around here, PROTEÇÃO DIVINA! Antonio, São Lourenço do Oeste, SC, Brasil.
Smart-Trucking.com (5 months ago)
Thanks Antonio, good luck! Dave
Michael Sizemore (5 months ago)
Expect to sit at shippers and receivers for 3,4,5 hell some times 7 hours waiting to get loaded or unloaded because people are lazy as hell and it takes them all day to load a 48' to 53' trailer. You'll eventually create new cuss words by the end of your 1st year.
rayme4raw (4 months ago)
Who do you drive for?
Smart-Trucking.com (5 months ago)
Love that last sentence! Got a smile out of me. Thanks! Dave
Gilbert Conner (5 months ago)
true hero.the sacrifice.is staggering.but we got jobs.
Dennis Harwell (5 months ago)
Don't do it pay sucks you will not get home when you want or need
rayme4raw (4 months ago)
Many companies these days will work with you about getting home in an emergency. They want to work with their drivers to ensure reduced turn over in employees. The pay is based on cents per miles times the miles driven each week. When you start out is usually the time you will make the least. Find out the cents per mile as well as ask the recruiter the average miles per week that their drivers have. I know that Werner just raised their cents per mile to .41 cents per mile starting in March and they average 2300 miles if I remember right, that's $49,000 a year. None of my office jobs paid more than $35,000 a year. But if you're willing to work, you will make more than that. And if the goal is money, you can find it, keep doing research, get your experience and always ask around. Other drivers will be honest with you.
william skrainski (5 months ago)
A map? LOL
william skrainski (5 months ago)
Smart-Trucking.com (5 months ago)
It's a big paper book with pictures of states and roads! Check for them in the back shelves of truck stops underneath the dust! Dave
Sidney Lawton (5 months ago)
Im trying to get in school to drive trucks hopefully all goes well
Ali Abdul Raheem (5 months ago)
First year sucks...true. Put in your two or three years and you can basically write your own ticket and drive for whoever you want and be paid well. good luck and be safe out there guys
85bmw528eguy (5 months ago)
Trucking, the most under appreciated and underpaid job on the planet. Being a commercial tourist is a labor of love for most because it damned sure is NOT financially rewarding the first few years for most drivers, this is the main reason most new drivers don't last a year. The trend is getting worse, not better and most carriers actually prey upon the new driver. Their business model depends upon the turnover to keep wages low and profit high.
rayme4raw (4 months ago)
New driver pay is going up, the industry is having trouble keeping people, seasoned drivers are retiring and most millenials cannot be separated from their smart phones long enough to look up and drive a truck. You have your starter companies that hire new inexperience drivers aka Cheap Freight, but nowadays if you have 4, 6, 8 to 12 months experience, it opens up a whole other world of companies that pay better with better benefits. The most accidents happen in the first year. If you don't like your starter company, plan on getting 6 months experience and move on. I don't know why people think that CDL drivers that average $47,000 a year are making low wages. My $31,000 office job is what you make when you only make $15.00 an hour plus a little overtime.
Smart-Trucking.com (5 months ago)
Sad, but true! Dave
Anthony Tomassi (6 months ago)
another know it all my best advice after 25 years in the business is do something else!!!!!!anything else find something local if you can. you will make just as much because this industry pays for shit for the work you do. go with a company local and drive linehaul. yes its mostly nights but you will make a lot more money.
Frank Carpenter (6 months ago)
The 1st year AND years beyond....the best words I can tell you is: YOU'RE GONNA GET SCREWED. Now another note.....there are 4 classes of people in America that get screwed daily: 1. the truck driver, 2. The native American, 3. The veterans, 4. The Hawaiian people. This is all true....
Truly Beauty (6 months ago)
How do you fix a bent rim
Smart-Trucking.com (6 months ago)
Best just to replace it. Dave
Michael Spinelli (6 months ago)
Damn that bird is loud!!!
Mike Radetskiy (6 months ago)
Lots and lots of stress, ....
Redheadspellslinger. (3 months ago)
Mike Radetskiy too true
Sun Worshiper (6 months ago)
Very good video. Thanks.
Smart-Trucking.com (6 months ago)
Thank you! Dave
Lazy Lightning (6 months ago)
I drove over the road for 7 years. What a shitty way to make a living. Get a local job. The road sucks. Stay away from big companies. With paperless logs you'll never get home.
John Santo (6 months ago)
First year? To get abused and screwed by everyone.
Jermaine Flowers (7 months ago)
Shit every area I go to is questionable.im flatbed and and I go to industrial areas and the neighborhoods near industrial areas aren't normally upscale.but the money in the first year is sweet ill make 65-75 depending on what the second half of my year is like.im about to get 21 cent raise after my first 6 months.and I run hard AF..... I love my job!
rayme4raw (4 months ago)
Too many negative nellies on here. Thanks for a shot of positive.
uppermostking02 (7 months ago)
All the truck jobs are going to robots. Self-driving trucks are the future and there's nothing anybody can do about it
Johnny Johnson (7 months ago)
truck driving best
rebel reaper (7 months ago)
Is it easier to adjust if you grew up around trucking
SouthEastStanger (7 months ago)
I'm not driving yet but I have a feeling to make sure not just your safety but also the public safety a must.
Puke Dukem (8 months ago)
Street view apps, Garmin Or Rand McNally GPS, and a dash cam...life savers! And buy a radio, and turn it up, for the love of god that’s been one of the sole absolute BIGGEST helpful things that I have invested in, plus it’s entertainment while stuck in traffic.
Puke Dukem (8 months ago)
I like to use google maps birds eye, or mostly my Truckerpath app, to locate my destination....zoom in and get a general feel and idea of where I’m going way before I get there....helps out a lot especially on street view, you can see which gate to pull in, where not to turn, even reading signs posted for the truckers on the fences and sides of buildings, and obstacles such as poles and other crap to watch for before you actually get there.
dakota beharry (8 months ago)
You can expect usually sitting on Saturdays and Sundays if you solo.
jay_615 (8 months ago)
First year suck hopping coming to company if your a minority they will treat you like dirt. Fine a smaller company that you call home. I'm Asian they treat me like dirt. Been with 9 company within the last 2 years. 5 minor accident got fired twice dispatch sucks. Going back to a company I like and stick with them don't go for big companies
Mom Police (8 months ago)
Am only 15 what do i need a high school deploma and drivers licence and trucking school hoe much do i need ??
Grizzly Country (8 months ago)
*Well that just stopped me from changing careers to truck driving* 👍
ghostscantkill (8 months ago)
I'm a rookie. I went through training with PRIME. Lots of other drivers dismiss us as just another driver farm, but PRIME does a pretty good job with getting you trained and on the road. Second phase training called TNT pays $700.00 a week, but that will be pro-rated due to potential issues where you might be put off the truck (didn't happen to me, but it happens). I'm on my own now for three weeks and grossed $1100 in my second week. It's not lots of money, but it's a solid paycheck for someone just starting out. My advice. Be ready to get some crappy loads that push you to your limits just as the gentleman in this video mentioned. I'm kind of thankful my truck is not fast because I'm not yet comfortable with traveling over 62 mph, and if my truck did travel faster, then it might be that I'd be expected to get more miles per day just based on timeframe. I average about 560.
rayme4raw (4 months ago)
560 a day is good starting out. Keep it up.
Snow Owl (8 months ago)
In October, I'll start driving for a small business (26,000 international) I've been with for ages (Warehouseman) Afterwords I'll be going for my Class B with passenger and eventually A (If my vision remains good) So excited! I'm gonna try to stay local and not long haul though. 18, graduated, and ready to drive :D
Smart-Trucking.com (8 months ago)
Enjoy and drive safe! Dave