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Tips for Driving a Semi-Truck: Beginner’s Edition

When you’re trying to enjoy a fruitful career driving trucks for a living, there are some core tips that you’ll need to keep in mind. Semi-trucks are large, powerful vehicles that will help you carry large quantities of materials across great distances. 

Read on to learn more about driving a semi-truck for your career and well-being.

Go Through an Education and Training Program and Get Your Commercial License

If you’re trying to get started as a truck driver, a sound education should be your first step. This means enrolling in a commercial driving school that will teach you the rules of the road, how to navigate in your truck, and tips about handling your cargo. 

These schools will give you the hands-on training that’ll take you from a novice to a seasoned truck operator. Once you finish your course work you’ll be eligible to test for your license so that you can begin driving semi-trucks and taking jobs. 

Make sure that any truck driving school you enroll in is skilled and that they understand the career path, and not just the way to handle the vehicle. 

Be Mindful of Whatever Cargo You’re Hauling

Being a semi-truck driver is about more than just how you handle the truck — you’ll also need to manage the cargo that you are lugging around. 

Be mindful of the kind of cargo you are going to haul for a particular job, and all of the precautions that come with it. The cargo has to be correctly secured before you hit the road, or else you’ll run the risk of breakage and other setbacks that cut into your profits. 

Take Plenty of Time to Sleep and Rest Before Driving

Too many drivers make the mistake of not getting enough sleep prior to their shifts. Not only will this put the driver at risk, but also the help and safety of everyone sharing the road with them. 

No matter how hectic your schedule is, you’ll owe it to yourself to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. This will put you through the hours of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that you’ll need to be alert and aware. By improving your energy and alertedness, it becomes easier for you to pay attention to the road and avoid accidents at all costs. 

Look After Your Semi Truck Maintenance and Repair

If you’re going to do what’s best for your truck driving career, you’ll need to also look after its maintenance and repairs. 

Make sure that you get regular maintenance checks when you’re looking to get the best from your semi-truck. Some of the maintenance checks that you can get include oil changes, inspecting the brakes, changing the tires, and making sure that your axles are aligned. 

You’ll need to also look into regular repairs for your truck, such as when your check engine light comes on or you notice that certain parts are beginning to malfunction. The better you look after your semi-truck, the easier it will be for you to keep your truck in tip-top shape. 

Choose the help of a licensed and insured truck repair pros that can maintain your truck impeccably. 

Observe a Safe Following Distance at All Times

Give yourself the chance to stay safe when you’re on the road by maintaining a reasonable following distance. Semi-trucks need to keep an even greater distance than smaller vehicles because you’re carrying such a load and it takes longer for it to come to a complete stop. 

Maintain a safe following distance of about 2 seconds per 10 feet to make sure you’re careful and diligent. If you’re traveling at a speed of 40 miles per hour or less, maintaining a following distance of 1 second per 10 feet will suffice. 

Keep tabs on your stopping distance as you travel so that you can always do your part in avoiding a wreck. Keep your eyes on the road, scan ahead, and be mindful of your blind spots.

Always Understand What’s Happening With Your Trailer

It’s always important that you keep tabs on your semi-truck trailer, since it is carrying all of your goods. There are several different kinds of trailers that you can invest in which serve different roles and purposes. 

Some of these include open-air trailers, flat-bed trailers and enclosed cargo trailers. Keep upgrading your certifications to make sure that you’re properly trained and able to address these cargo loads safely. 

Keep a sound watch on the trailer at all times since you’re responsible for it no matter where you drive.

Regularly Get Your Truck and Cargo Inspected

When you’re trying to get the best from your semi-truck, it’s important that you get it inspected prior to each trip. This lets you know that every dangerous matter has been looked over and that you’re protected when you drive. 

Depending on where you’re driving, you will also have some routine stops for getting your truck and cargo weighed and inspected. 


Keep Learning More About Driving a Semi-Truck

The more you learn about driving a semi-truck, the easier it’ll be to get your career off the ground. By taking advantage of the points above, you’ll be able to stay safe and productive for each trip on the road. 

If you’re going to drive trucks for a living, the points in this article will help you out tremendously. 

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