Daily, the American roads are driven by around 3.5 million heavy-duty trucks delivering freight across the country. To operate, all of these trucks require a driver or team of drivers.
The funny thing is that, besides the large number of trucks on the road, this industry still experiences a shortage of drivers.
Maybe it's your chance to try the career of a trucker? Learn what are the pros and cons of truck driving to get a feel of whether the trucking career is for you or not.
See be below list of pros and cons of a truck driving career.
1. Starting a trucking career is easy
Starting a trucking career doesn’t require years of schooling.
As long as you have a clean driving record and you are willing to undergo some training, you can start relatively quickly in trucking.
To start a career in trucking, you need to get a commercial driver's license (CDL). With CDL on hand, a truck driver can start looking for a job in a trucking company.
The time investment for CDL schooling may take around 3-7 weeks and an average cost should be $3,000 to $7,000.
2. Trucking is a secure job
In trucking, the demand for truckers was always high because the majority of transported freight in the US was always done by truck.
If there is no truck driver, the truck can't operate by itself. That leads to decreased commercial transactions between businesses, which leads to slow support of the US economy.
The truck driver profession is a secure job in the US.
As long as you have your CDL and a solid driving record, you're a solid candidate for a well-secured job in trucking.
3. A trucker has a lot of independence during the work day
As a truck driver, you still need to deal with logs, and schedules, and communicate to dispatchers.
As long as that trucker's duty is under control, there is nobody to distract him during the day. No office mates and no boss peering over your shoulder.
You have the freedom to choose when you take breaks, what music to listen to while driving, and what you wear while working.
4. Truck drivers have many opportunities to earn a high salary
In the United States, the average starting pay for a truck driver with a CDL is $35,000.
You can double this amount if you decide to drive across the country and only have weekends at home.
You can also become an owner-operator who earns a lot more initially.
The thing that unlocks the success in trucking is to get your CDL, keep your driving record clean, and meet your delivery deadlines
A truck driver’s salary depends upon several factors.
- Type of freight you are hauling.
- Trip distance.
- Type of company you work for.
- Number of years on the job
5. A truck driver travels a lot
OTR truck drivers are on the road full-time.
Truck drivers get to know numerous cities across the country. He gets to see and explore lots of incredible things along the way.
6. A CDL opens a wider range of job opportunities
Once you obtain your CDL, you are not locked into long-haul trucking because it opens other professional opportunities such as:
- Flatbed trucks that tend to haul everything from sod to airplanes, which means that these kind of jobs tend to pay more.
- Tanker trucks can carry hazardous materials.
- Reefer trailers will move refrigerated goods.
- You can even become an instructor or trainer with a CDL company based on your experiences on the road.
- If you decide this kind of job is not right for you, you can always transition into delivery services for companies like UPS, FedEx, or U.S. Postal Service.
Flexibility is one kind of benefit a truck driving career provides.
You can choose to work as much or as little as you want. And you can take time off whenever you need to.
This is perfect for people who have family commitments.
7. Making a difference
The American nation depends upon the work of truck drivers.
Without them, much of our nation’s activities would come to a halt.
Grocery store shelves would be bare and restaurants would not be able to put food and drinks on the table.
There is something very rewarding about knowing your nation counts on you for survival.
1. A truckers lifestyle triggers a lot of unhealthy habits
When you’re on the road all day, truckers' food options are limited to quick drive-thrus where they eat burgers and drink a lot of soft drinks. In the long run, this kind of unhealthy diet leads to unhealthy consequences.
Poor diet combined with excessive sitting, leave truckers at greater risk for obesity and musculoskeletal issues.
Obesity can lead to sleep apnea, heart disease, and diabetes.
2. Long hours of driving leads driver fatigue
Truck drivers drive for many hours focusing on the road.
If they don't get enough sleep, their eyes may get tired and lose focus off the road.
That may lead to fatalities.
3. Lonely days
Truck driving is a one-man job.
Truckers don’t stand around a water cooler chatting with their co-workers because they don't have them.
They spend long periods on the highway alone with the road.
They don't see their family and friends as often as they would love to.
For some people, the lonely state of a truck driving job may not matter much while, to other people, it gets a little boring or even lonely.
The loneliness that truckers experience during their career, for some, may be a huge disadvantage.
4. Family members don't resist the trucker's absence
The next disadvantage of a trucker's career is that the trucking career breaks families apart.
Having the partners away from each other for so long means that the holidays, family events, and children’s milestones are often missed due to the trucker's time on the road.
Even if you’ve settled down and married, if you have a young family, you won’t be seeing much of the wife and kids. Even if you get your wife to agree to this arrangement, neither she nor the kids are going to be happy with it for long.
This increases the stress levels between partners and puts their marriage at risk.
5. High stress levels on the road
Stress is an inevitable component of the trucking industry because truck drivers constantly face delays, deadlines, poor directions, traffic, lazy consignees, and bad weather.
When such external factors happen unexpectedly, a truck driver's levels rise because the situation pushes them to come out of their comfort zone.
This is a huge disadvantage of the trucking industry.
6. Maintaining personal hygiene for trucker is hard
Truck drivers need to be on time for their pickups and deliveries. That requirement leads to their inability to maintain a proper personal hygiene regime.
In tractor-trailers without inside bathrooms, truck drivers urinate into bottles.
Truck stop showers are mostly clean but the cleanliness in them is not consistent. To use a truck stop bathroom, invest in a good pair of flip-flops to protect yourself from getting any infection.
7. Truckers are responsible for the truck's mechanics
OTR truck driver won't make you a high earner.
The money that a trucker make depend on the driver's skills and abilities that makes him a valuable and helpful truck driver.
So, though a truck driver is not a mechanic but, sometimes, it is expected from the driver to have basic knowledge about truck and trailers maintenance.