Going hand in hand with communication, timeliness is extremely important as a truck driver. There are many moving parts involved in getting freight where it needs to go, so being on time makes a huge difference. Many customers rely on truckers’ pickups and deliveries to keep their businesses moving, and keeping these customers happy is top priority. Sometimes being late can’t be avoided, which is where communication becomes important once again. Do your best to stay on schedule, and communicate with your dispatcher if things do come up.
To keep yourself from breaking the speeding rule above, one great thing to do is use the "cruise control" feature. Get your truck up to a speed close to the limit (I usually give myself 5 points variance, so if the speeding limit is 65, I'll get up to 60), then press the "C" button to go into cruise control. The game will keep your truck running for you (without you having to hold down the up button) at that same speed until you break. This is great for those long stretches of highway or long-haul drives; one less button to hold down, and you can focus more on switching lanes, if necessary.
Just like driving in real life, there are rules on the road that you have to follow:
Parking can be a bit hard for newbies, especially if you have a big trailer hooked to your truck. When you park when doing a delivery, you'll have three options: Skilled Parking, in which you'll have to back up into the space, Safe Parking in which you can drive straight into the space, and the third, in which you skip parking altogether. While I don't recommend skipping the parking (as you won't be granted any XP points), I do recommend doing the Safe option, at least when you're first starting. You still get XP points for parking and it's heaps easier than trying to back up your trailer. Just take it slow and steady and as soon as you get the notification to lower your legs, hit the T button. Most of the time, you don't even have to get the trailer completely straight.
You've probably noticed the sleep and gas icons on your navigation menu, but when you're doing quick jobs, you don't really need to worry about either one. Quick jobs are designed to be done in a short amount of time, so you should have enough rest and gas to complete them without stopping, unless you've gotten lost or had an accident on the way.
You can check how much time you have before needing to sleep by checking in your navigation menu. Press F6 and look at the "next rest stop in..." to find out how much time you have remaining until you need to sleep. Typically, you have 13 hours at the start of each job (if doing a Quick Job). When you've got your own truck and are doing your own jobs, make sure you do sleep either during your job, or between jobs. To sleep, look for the bed icon on the map (usually situated in gas stations, sometimes hotels, parking lots, etc.) drive into the parking space, press E to turn off your engine and then press Enter to sleep.
You'll gain experience points for completing jobs on time or early, for having your truck and trailer intact, and parking. As you gain XP, you'll level up, and also gain points which can be used to unlock special skills, which further allow you to make more money per job and gain more XP. There are six skills you can unlock in the game:
This is my personal tip from a hard lesson learned: if you have your own truck and accept a quick job, just realize that your truck will be left behind wherever you last drove it: it won't follow you to the destination of your quick job. So if you drove your truck to San Diego and then took a quick job from San Diego to Albuquerque, you'll be hopping into the companies' truck and making the trip. When you finish, the game will put you back in San Diego, into your own truck. So don't expect to pick up your own truck in Albuquerque! If you want to always drive your own truck, pick jobs from the Freight Market instead of Quick Jobs.
That's it for now! Do you have any other tips, tricks or suggestions for new players of American Truck Simulator? Which tip do you find the most useful? Let me know in the comments section below!
The next big milestones in the game are upgrading your garage and hiring your first driver to work for you! However, these steps have to be done in exact order. You first have to upgrade your garage (which will cost you $180,000 the first time, then $100,000 every time after), then you must buy a spare truck for your driver to use (failing to have a truck for the driver will result in your driving quitting). After that, you can hire a driver and have them working for you! Having drivers is a great way to earn residual income. And eventually, you can have multiple garages and drivers in different states!
Now let's get into getting your own truck- one of the game's first big milestones. It can be exciting and tempting to want to buy a truck right away; you can design it how you want (check out my pink truck above!), you can go where you want on your own time, and pick a bigger variety of jobs. However, trucks are expensive, and you need to have at least $120,000 before buying one. On top of that, you'll need to give yourself some extra money, for damages, fines, and gas. I'd recommend not buying a truck until you have at least $150,000 saved up. You can also take out a loan (which you will automatically pay back daily at 12:00pm), but just make sure you have some money leftover before making the big purchase.