Many people believe that new truck drivers have accidents more frequently than experienced drivers. Well, the figures say otherwise. The reason is not far-fetched. Newbies stick more to instructions than professional drivers. Remember when you are still a newbie. When you just came from the academy and picked up your first job. In those days the rules are still very much fresh in your memory. And you think they mustn’t be broken. So you don’t dare to pick up a phone call while driving. You can’t drive and eat. You cannot go beyond the speed limit or apply the brake mid-corner. But now that you are a professional, the rules don’t seem to matter anymore.
So, Is It Safer to Be a Newbie?
Not really, but the more you are on something, the higher the chance of getting into a problem. Whatever law that principle satisfies. As you stay longer on the job, you trust everybody. You no longer see reasons to double-check the rig. Why would the guy who fixed it make mistake? He had never done that before.
Also, as you drive along a route regularly, you seemed to have known the route very well. You feel you can drive a little faster or take some short cut. Occasionally, you believe you can disobey the traffic rules and get away with it. Newbies don’t do that.
Even trusting your skill will give you the confidence to do some things you shouldn’t have done as a newbie. Now you see no reason you should stop to have lunch, you can easily bite some burger as you drive. You believe you can drive with a hand on the wheel while the other is holding the phone. Many times, we are not as professional as we think, and the figures prove it.
Even when the rain comes storming, we believe we can handle it without following protocol, after all, we had been there before many times. While newbies will climb maintain the same gear when climbing and go slowly when descending, professionals like us feel it doesn’t matter. But it does.
So What Should You Do?
Just do the right thing. Remember how you were taught at the CDL training and apply everything. For sure, your rig is your responsibility and you must take it to its destination in one piece. It is ridiculous having people eating while driving or making phone calls in front of the steering. If you must act like a newbie, do it. As long as you are getting the job done. That is all that matters.
So, obey all the traffic rules, also obey trucking rules. Check your rig before you leave. I mean double-check.
Don’t let complacence come in. you are a professional and it is good. But we want you to arrive at your destination in one piece. You have everything that it takes to get the job done. You know what to do. Just do it right. Best of luck.