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A lot of freedom and opportunity comes with the decision to become a truck driver. You get to travel across the country, see new people and places, and even make your own schedule if you become an independent contractor. Like any job, there are plenty of tips and tricks that can help you grow from a first-day amateur into a professional. Turn your truck-driving job into a lucrative career with these successful tips for new truck drivers.

Get to Know the Community

Truck driving is often solitary work, but that doesn’t mean it has to be lonely. Get to know your colleagues and employers. Not only will it make your job more comfortable, but you can also pick up valuable tips and advice from others. You can even take that friendly spirit beyond your coworkers. Try to meet other drivers, either in person or through online groups. Make small talk with people at the gas stations or rest stops you visit. As a truck driver, you have the chance to meet and interact with people everywhere you go. Why not make the most of it?

Stay on Top of Your Schedule

Punctuality is an important trait in any career, which makes it one of the most successful tips for new truck drivers. Represent yourself and your company well by sticking to your schedule and making your appointments on time. In fact, strive to arrive early for your drop-offs and pickups. This will give you some flexibility in your schedule in case complications arise and hold you up. Managing your schedule well will help you stand out among other drivers and build good relationships with your employers, colleagues, and clients.

Take Care of Your Health

When you spend your entire workday in the driver’s seat, it’s easy to let your usual diet and exercise routine falter. Remember to take care of yourself throughout the day. Learn how to eat healthy during trips. You should also make a point of staying active. Take advantage of hotel gyms, carry small workout equipment with you, or simply take a walk or jog around the rest area when you stop. It’s also important to take plenty of breaks and give yourself a chance to stretch and rest before continuing a long drive.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.