Being a truck driver isn’t just a job. It’s a lifestyle. A career as a trucker is very different from a career where you clock into an office from 8 to 5. Out on the road, your truck is your workplace and your home. Truck drivers work long hours and are often away from family and friends. Life as a trucker can be lonely at times, but it can also feel like one big adventure.
What is it like being a truck driver? Before you decide to switch careers, learn more about what life is like on the road to determine if trucking is the right choice for you.
Being a Truck Driver
Truck drivers are crucial to the American economy. If you choose a job in trucking, you’ll get to witness that firsthand. In 2019, truckers hauled the majority of freight (72.5%) transported in the United States. Without truck drivers, we wouldn’t be able to distribute food and other goods to communities across the country.
You know truck drivers are essential, but what is it like to be one? Driving a tractor-trailer takes skill and the ability to stay alert and focused. If you don’t have a CDL, you will learn how to operate a tractor-trailer in Class A CDL training. The Prime Driver Training Program lets you gain real-world experience behind the wheel.
Once you’ve earned your CDL and completed training, you’re ready to begin your career. Many people choose over-the-road (OTR) trucking, which takes you across the country. Other job opportunities include running regional and local routes.
The Best Parts of Being A Truck Driver
There are many reasons why people become truck drivers. Some seek a change from working at desk jobs or in unexciting roles. Veterans may wish to use their experience operating large vehicles in a career outside of the military. Other people choose to explore trucking right out of school or after retirement. Trucking is also a way to travel, and some people drive as a team with their spouse or partner.
Feed Your Sense of Adventure
As a truck driver, you get paid to travel. If you choose to be an over-the-road driver, you will experience all parts of the country. You will drive through mountains and big bustling cities. As you go, you’ll see all kinds of scenery, from canyons to ocean views.
Every Day is Different
No day on the road is ever the same as an over-the-road driver. You will experience new challenges each day as you run different routes and deliver to customers from all over.
Many use the word “freedom” to describe getting in your truck and heading down the highway. While you do have a boss and deliveries to make, you are responsible for getting to your destination on time and in a safe manner. Drivers know their destination and expected delivery time. From there, drivers are in charge of planning out their days.
Meet New People
On the road, you will meet people from all walks of life. You will connect with customers at pick-up and drop-off locations and other drivers at truck stops. There’s an entire network of people out there in the trucking industry.
Have Job Security
Transporting goods across the country is a vital part of our economy. Truck drivers are always in demand because there will always be a need to move freight across the country. As a truck driver, you have built-in job security.
Other Things to Consider Before Starting Your Career
The life of a truck driver isn’t always easy. You are often away from home if you drive an over-the-road or regional route. You spend most of your time in your truck. However, truck driving is a career that gives you the freedom to travel the country and puts you in charge of scheduling your days.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers can drive up to 11 hours a day within a 14-hour window. The 14-hour window is essentially a trucker’s “workday.” After eight consecutive hours of driving, truckers are required to take a 30-minute rest. Truck drivers must take a 10-hour break before driving again once the 14-hour “workday” ends.
How many days a week do truck drivers work? Over-the-road truck drivers are out for three to four weeks at a time. They can work throughout the week and potentially on weekends and holidays.
Time Away from Home
As mentioned above, truck drivers are on the road a lot, which means they spend less time at home. Truck driving can affect your family life. Being on the road day in and day out can be lonely, and you may feel disconnected from your family and friends.
Truck drivers can use technology to stay in touch with loved ones by calling or video chatting with them. Many drivers find that intentionally scheduling activities during their home time helps them get more out of their days at home.
Additionally, Prime associates can ask their fleet managers for passenger permits. With a permit, you can travel with a family member or friend. Prime Inc. also partners with an organization to provide counseling to drivers through the Primed For Life program.
Small Living Space
Your truck is where you will spend most of your time. In this compact space, you will do everything if you are an over-the-road driver—drive, eat, sleep and relax. For some, the idea of living with less is appealing; for others, this is a drawback. Drivers can make their cabs feel more inviting by decorating them as they like and traveling with their favorite personal belongings.
Truck driving does come with some inconveniences. For example, truck drivers may not be able to shower every day, depending on where they are. There is not a shower or bathroom in the truck, so drivers must plan their stops accordingly. Many truck stops have point systems that let you earn free shower credits.
What Do Truck Drivers Wear?
Some people have questions about what to pack or what truck drivers wear. You want to be practical and comfortable while still looking professional, especially if you are picking up or dropping off freight.
For a day of driving, most people choose t-shirts, clean jeans and tennis shoes. Additionally, you will want a pair of work gloves and sunglasses on hand. When you aren’t driving, you may want to have sneakers, sweatpants and other comfortable clothes to relax in.
As an over-the-road driver, you should bring both short- and long-sleeved shirts, along with sweatshirts or sweaters that you can throw on if you get cold. Over-the-road drivers experience varied weather conditions, so you will want to pack a rain jacket and winter coat as well. It is a good idea to pack flips flops or sandals to be used when showering at truck stops as well.
Should You Become A Truck Driver?
Driving a truck is hard work, and it can take time to get accustomed to the lifestyle. However, trucking companies like Prime Inc. offer competitive benefits and amenities to support drivers on the road.
Ultimately, your career is what you make it. The key to a successful career as a truck driver is planning! Everything from preparing for your route to planning family time is essential for maintaining balance and being successful on the road.
Do you want to learn more about becoming a driver? Are you ready to take the next step?
Apply to Prime today using our online application, or call our Recruiting Department at 866-290-1568 to discuss your options.