10 Quick Facts About the Life of a Truck Driver

At this point, there are more than 3.5 million active truck drivers in the entire USA. And several are about to join the industry. So, what is it like to be a truck driver?

Different people have different viewpoints. Some feel it’s a paid cross-country road trip that also doubles up as a career. While some others feel being a truck driver means spending unending hours on the road – away from friends and family.

It’s a bit of both, and more. Let’s take a look at what is truck driving.

What do truck drivers do?

Truck drivers transport raw materials and finished goods from one part of the country to another, from ports to factories and vice versa. The vehicles that they drive can be semi-trucks, giant 18-wheelers, and other types as well.

Facts about life of a truck driver

Most truck drivers start their careers as Over The Road (OTR) drivers, staying away from their hometowns for two-three weeks at a stretch. After spending some time in the industry, their working hours become more regulated and they can make weekly visits to their homes.

A fair number of truck drivers eventually become entrepreneurs. They start their own transport company. Many others form partnerships with other drivers or join an existing company as a partner.

The job of a truck driver is not a regular “nine to five” job. The working hours can vary frequently, the job location isn’t static, and it’s all about traveling – sometimes even inter-country, braving adverse weather and road conditions.

It must be remembered that truck drivers are the support systems of the nation’s economy. Without them, no product would reach its destination in the right condition. Every sector would run out of essential products and there would be a severe scarcity in society. By doing their job tirelessly, truck drivers keep the wheels of the economy moving.

Some facts about the life of a truck driver

Ok, so by now you have got an idea of the importance of a truck driver in the economy of the country. And also the way they begin their journey as a truck driver and grow gradually. The life of a truck driver is a mixture of many opposites and filled with many experiences that many of us might only imagine.

Here are 10 quick facts in the life of a truck driver.

1) The day starts early

Early morning

If you are the type of truck driver who prefers to “travel by day and rest by night,” then possibly you would begin your day at the break of dawn. In adverse weather conditions, night driving is not the easiest of things, so taking a break makes sense. But starting the day early gives you a lot of time to cover the long distances and stay on schedule. Though there aren’t designated driving hours, it’s up to you to plan your drive so that you don’t miss the delivery deadline.

2) Working hours are balanced

Balanced life

In 8 days, you would be expected to put in 70 hours. Then you would need to compulsorily take a 34 hours break. You might want to out in 12-14 hours a day and breach the 70-hours mark in 5-6 days. But do remember that for safety reasons, drivers aren’t allowed to drive for more than 11 hours per day.

3) The more you drive, the more you earn

More driving means more earning

In a few cases, you might be paid on an hourly basis. But mostly, drivers are paid basis the miles that they cover. So, you driving too fast or too slow won’t make a difference – but the distance that you cover, would.

4) Explore unseen locations

Explore new places while driving

This is one of the major perks for you as a truck driver. You can get to “play the tourist” meaning, you can check out the various towns and highways that you have never seen before. In a naturally diversified country like the US, this is a major attraction of being a truck driver.

5) The pay is good

Driver earn good

The national median pay for a truck driver is $60,500. Some drivers can earn salaries as high as $75,000 that can go up to $1,05,000. That’s quite a decent pay by any standards. As a truck driver, you can earn even more a few years down the line if you choose to drive hazardous or oversized cargo, become a trainer, or get a share of the employer company’s profits as a mark of your seniority and experience.

6) The roads seem like never-ending

On average, you would be clocking 1,25,000 miles every year. That boils down to 500 miles a day. What that means is – on a normal day, you would drive from Salt Lake City to Denver, San Francisco to San Diego, Dallas to Kansas City, and suchlike.

7) Build a strong peer network

You would spend more time in truck stops than at home, in the initial days. And you would get to meet your compatriots from all over the country and continent. It becomes an extended family for the drivers. You would have lots to learn from peers and seniors. Many seeds of future professional partnerships are also sown in such groups.

8) Prevent your health from becoming a casualty

Irregular meal timings and a tendency to consume easily available junk food take a toll on the health of many truck drivers, leading to a shorter life expectancy. Lack of proper sleep is also a contributor to it. So, as a truck driver, you need to take good care of your health. Carry ready-to-eat food, fruits, and vegetables with you. Follow some simple exercises that is just for truck drivers. Avoid consuming junk food and colas as much as possible. Drink lots of plain water too.

9) Enjoy your drives

The trucks that you will drive are state-of-the-art, fitted with the latest features to make the drive safe and cost-effective. The ergonomics would also be excellent, ensuring a comfortable drive. Play some nice music on the hi-tech car stereo and enjoy your drive along the excellent interstate highways.

10) It’s not the easiest of professions

The life of a truck driver is hard, undeniably. With all the good pay and perks, it still becomes tough at times to spend such long hours away from home. At times, it does put relationships to test. However, after the initial years, life does settle down somewhat. With growth, comes stability. Things begin to fall in place. And, as an experienced truck driver, you stand to gain from every angle.

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