If the fact the truck driving profession fuels the U.S. economy fires you up then you may consider the path of becoming a truck driver.
You may start by exploring what a day in the life of a truck driver looks like.
The profession of a truck driver has its advantages and disadvantages.
Below, find what a day in the trucker's life may look like by examining different aspects of a trucker's life.
Not all days in a truck driver's life are the same
Not all days in a truck driver's life are the same.
That is simply because there are a lot of different things happening in the life of a truck driver and it also depends on the nature of their operation is different.
For example, an over-the-road truck driver's day looks different from the day in the life of a regional or local truck driver.
Get an early start
A day in the life of a truck driver starts early. It might start at 4am, at 5am, or 6am.
A day in the life of a truck driver starts depending on his job requirements.
For example, if he has an appointment at 6am, he needs to calculate how much time he needs to finish his or her personal care morning routine, take a shower at a truck stop, eat breakfast and drink a cup of coffee.
During their breakfast time, truck drivers, usually, check the weather and route conditions before getting on the big road.
After finishing the breakfast and before hitting the road, truck drivers checks their phone for any dispatch updates, perform a tractor-trailer pre-trip inspection, completes any required logs, fuels it up, and roll to the pickup or to the delivery to be on-time.
If the truck driver has to deliver the load in the early morning, he needs to get as close as possible the night before. This helps truck drivers to be first in the line to be unloaded.
Generally, the earlier the truck driver wakes up, the less likely he is to encounter morning traffic due to slow vehicles or accidents, which would delay the truck's appointment.
Once the truck driver arriver to the delivery or pickup site, he will either "drop-and-hook" or "live unload or load".
- Drop-and-hook: the driver "drops" their trailer and "hooks" to another trailer.
- Live unload: the driver waits for their loaded trailer to be unloaded so they can leave with the same trailer.
While driving, the truck driver may listen to his favorite music, play audiobooks or podcasts.
Lunch time break
Usually, lunch is the first substantial break of the day. During their lunch break, truckers check in with their families and chat with other driver. After the lunch break, truck drivers hit the road again until dinner.
During the lunch break, it's important for truck drivers to find time to get out of their trucks, stretch their legs, go on a walk.
That way they can be ready for the second portion of the truck driver’s day.
Ideally, before afternoon rolls by, the truck driver has delivered their load. That gives him or her some time to arrive to arrive to the pickup of the next load on-time.
As you see, a day in the life of a trucker depends on what kind of loads their dispatcher finds them.
During the lunch break, truck drivers will begin planning the next phase of their trip.
Ending truck driving day
By evening, the solo trucker will be looking for a place to pull off and rest.
Again, the truck driver needs to drive as close as possible to their next delivery or pickup.
After they parked at a truck stop, the truck driver will complete a post-trip inspection to confirm that no damage occurred throughout the workday.
After finishing their post-trip inspection, a truck driver will finish their daily paperwork and their hours of service log.
If their truck is equipped with a sleeper cab they’ll spend the night in the truck. The truck driver will change his status to sleeper berth and will move into the sleeper cab for a rest.
Typically, a truck driver will get some food, call home, and go to sleep for the evening.
In the morning, they’ll start the cycle again.
- Shift flexibility: Truck driving offers a lot of room for you to decide when you start and stop your workday. The only limitation is making sure you pick up and drop off your loads on time.
- Lower education requirements: Drivers can begin their trucking careers with a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Company support: Trucking companies assist truckers with load scheduling, freight fees, and DOT authority.
- Driving limits: Truck drivers typically work up to 70 hours within an eight-day period. Most aren’t allowed to drive more than this. After 70 hours in a truck driver’s workweek, drivers must take a mandatory 34 hours off.
- Adventure: Truck drivers travel the country, see different sights, and meet new people every day. It's a great way to see the country and get paid to do it.
- Time away from home and family: OTR truck drivers may spend three weeks or more away from home.
- Cost of CDL: It's not enough to visit your local DMV to get your CDL. Most truck driving schools charge $3,000 to $5,000. Some companies offer free CDL training in exchange for lengthy contracts at reduced pay that require you to drive for them for a year or more.
- Loneliness: Most truck drivers run solo, so it can be a long time to be away from family and friends.
- A different way of life: When driving, you live in a truck that is rarely larger than an 8’ x 8’ space. Compared to other jobs, driving can involve long hours, and you don’t always get to pick where you go for picking up and dropping off loads.
How to become a truck driver
Before you take the leap and decide to become a truck driver, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons.
Truck driving is more than a job, it’s a way of life, and this way of life isn’t for everyone.
But, if you’re able to handle the long miles, lonely hours, and being away from your home and family for weeks and months at a time, truck driving might turn out to be your dream job.