The trucking industry is one of the biggest employers in Canada. Truck drivers make the backbone of our country’s economy. As a truck driver in Ontario you transport essential goods from food and medicine, clothes, and supplies for businesses. Trucking in Ontario is a respectable profession that pays a steady income and offers several perks and benefits. However, it is a difficult career choice, which is mentally and physically exhausting for both you and your family.
To ease you into your first-year as a truck driver, here are some tips to help you:
1. Learn everything about your truck
Always do a pre-trip inspection for your truck before you read the truck. Our instructors can’t emphasise enough how important it is to read the truck manual. You can’t do your job properly until you understand how your truck works.
2. Practice backing often
Every chance you get practice backing. It happens often that when you’re about to park after a long shift, you’ll find a spot at the very back of the lot. When you’re backing up, follow the trail of your truck tires. Take as much time as you’d like and don’t bother about the other trucks waiting to park. They will understand you’re a new driver and be patient with you.
3. Keep some tools handy
Trucks break down sometimes. Usually, the problem’s small and can be fixed by you, if you have the right tools with you. Here are some tools our instructors at Caledon Truck Driving School recommend you to keep in your truck:
- Small hand tool kit with a series of screwdrivers and pliers, tape measures, metric and standard sockets, hex keys, and a utility knife
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Large water dispenser
- Cranking flashlight
- Extendable snow brush, ice scraper, and a squeegee
- Booster cables
- Rechargeable headlamp
- Engine coolant
- Fire extinguisher
- First aid emergency kit
- Air brake antifreeze
4. Always look up the route before you drive
You typically get trip information one or two days prior. Look up the route on Google Maps, check for any news about accidents and blockages. Decide your pit stops for using the washroom, and rest stops for food and recovery.
5. Read road signs carefully
There are several driving limitations for truck drivers. Keep an eye out for low clearance warnings and stay connected with your dispatch team for alerts, ETAs, and route changes. If you aren’t careful, it’ll end up costing your life.
6. Be friendly with the shippers
Shippers aren’t the easiest people to deal with. You should understand they are usually on strict schedules, which makes them appear unfriendly. Don’t get bothered by that and make sure you greet them, say thank you, and bid them goodbye.
7. Help other truck drivers
Most times you’re driving alone on the road. If you see another truck driver in trouble, stop by and see how you can help them. Even if you physically can’t do much, offer them suggestions, and some mental strength.
8. Always carry a heated blanket
Truck cabins get cold at night even with the heater on. Keep a heated blanket handy, so you can keep yourself warm and toasty. If the cabin has some space, we highly recommend getting a small space heater.
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