There’s a lot that goes into trucking, as drivers well know. When you’re a rookie, there’s a lot you may not understand about the industry as you’re just starting out.
To give rookies some perspective, current truck drivers offered their advice — and some warnings — to rookie drivers looking to get into the industry. We spoke with these drivers during a recent visit to two truck stops, a Love’s and a TravelCenters of America, outside Birmingham, Alabama.
Clarence Thomas, company driver: “You have to love it. If you don’t love it, don’t get into it. Some people just get into it because of the money, but it isn’t about the money. It’s good to make the money, but don’t get into it just for that. If you don’t love driving and traveling, then it’s not for you. You’ll get in and say, ‘This isn’t for me.’ And it’s hard to be a family man, because you’re out here on the road for 2-3 weeks and sometimes months.”
Alfonso Parra, owner-operator: “Be patient and respectful. Without that, you’ll get into a lot of trouble. People don’t respect drivers anymore, so if you’re not patient with them that will turn back on you. Planning is very important. Otherwise you get in the wrong place and we can’t have that with hazmat. You get in the wrong place you get a ticket and it eats up your day at work.”
Lucardin Dorbil, company driver: “Reefers make a lot of noise. When you’re sleeping, that thing is crazy.”
James Haskel, owner-operator: “Relax. Know when you’re getting tired and have fun. It’s the only job where you get paid to look out a window and drive and stop at Disneyland, Six Flags, whatever you want to do.”
Dewayn Hackney, company driver: “Don’t try to push yourself too fast to get behind the wheel.”