A career in truck driving offers a wide-range of benefits and perks. Exceptional pay, flexibility, and the opportunity to visit new places and meet new people is enough to get almost anyone dreaming about the potential. However, as with any career, trucking is not meant for everyone.
Perhaps you’re graduating high school and undecided about a career path or maybe you’ve been in the workforce for several years and are ready for a change. If you’re a high school graduate, the training investment for earning your CDL (commercial driver’s license) is much lower and can be obtained much faster than a 2 or 4-year college degree. In any case, it’s a great time to consider a trucking career.
In recent years, there have been a shortage of truck drivers and that shortage is only worsening. As many drivers retire and freight demands come to an all-time high, trucking companies are offering higher pay and enhanced benefits in an effort to attract qualified drivers. In this guide, you’ll learn about the “day in the life” as a truck driver, as well as the various benefits, job security, and extra advantages available in driving a truck.
Benefits of Being a Truck Driver
It’s not just paid travel. Here’s a look at all the perks that await you as a professional truck driver.
#1 Earn Money While Exploring the Country
One of the top reasons that makes truck driving attractive for so many people is the opportunity to visit new places throughout the nation. You’ll get to see sights and explore towns that you never even knew existed, all while enjoying the comfort of a modern truck cab. Some accommodations, like restaurants, may even be paid for as part of your contract.
#2 Job Security
With a dire need for truck drivers in an industry that is thriving, trucking is a career that offers income stability and lots of opportunity for growth. You’ll only enjoy it more as the years go by because trucking is currently on the cusp of adopting all sorts of new technology to make driving long hours easier and safer.
#3 Insurance and Retirement Benefits
Many trucking companies offer an impressive benefits package that includes medical, dental, and vision insurance, 401k and retirement plans, as well as paid time off for vacation and/or sick days. Truckers can easily support loved ones back at home or rapidly build up a cushy investment or retirement fund for themselves while enjoying days on the go.
#4 Flexible Schedule
While long-haul assignments do keep truck drivers away from home for extended periods of time, it also offers schedule flexibility. Unlike most jobs, drivers have more control over their work schedule, making it possible to find a healthy work-life balance customized to each individual.
#5 Minimal Investment
Most professions require a college degree that can take years to earn and cost several thousand dollars. In order to become a licensed truck driver, most courses can be completed within 8 weeks, for a minimal investment. Once the final exams and requirements are complete, you’re ready to start earning a paycheck.
As a truck driver, there is no worry of a boss looking over your shoulder or micromanaging you. Instead, you can enjoy the freedom of taking in the sights of your travels and having full responsibility and control of when and where you take your breaks.
A Day in the Life of a Truck Driver
The thought of working independently and hitting the open road is by far what makes truck driving attractive to many. However, in order to be successful, deadlines and regulations must be met.
If you’re on the fence about becoming a truck driver, keep reading to get a glimpse of what the day in the life of a long-haul truck driver looks like.
The truck driver has a degree of control over their driving schedule. For instance, some drivers prefer to drive through the night because of less traffic, but many set out on the roads early a.m., often around 3 a.m. or 5 a.m. Ultimately, the schedule is determined by the route and job requirements.
Additionally, before beginning the route, enough time must be allowed to complete a routine truck inspection and any logging requirements. Checking weather and road conditions in advance also enables the driver to adjust the schedule accordingly to ensure deadlines are met.
Careful planning is imperative for a few reasons. First of all, drivers are payed based on miles driven in a given day. Secondly, due to federal mandates, a.k.a. Hours of Service, a workday must never exceed 14-hours and only 11 hours of that day can consist of driving. So, reviewing the route and planning ahead for breaks, meals, and refueling, as well as reaching the final destination is what separates the successful truck drivers from the rest.
Make The Most of It
A truck driver’s workday is usually long. Many drivers enjoy this alone time, using it as an opportunity to listen to their favorite tunes or an audio book. Though, some drivers find the solitude more difficult. Fortunately, team driving has become quite popular, and is a great way to work with your spouse, friend, or relative. Team driving is also great for putting more miles behind you in a single day, as you tag team driving hours.
At the end of the driving day, finding a place to park and sleep is important. Many drivers use this time to shower, eat a healthy meal, and catch up with family via Skype or FaceTime. With an array of truck stops and facilities throughout America, there will be many opportunities to try new restaurants, take in the sights, and meet the locals.
Making the most of downtime and short breaks throughout the day will enable you to take care of yourself. From eating healthy meals, and even food in your truck, to using this time to exercise as well as visit the gym or spa.
Create a Routine
As with most jobs, getting acclimated to the life of being a truck driver takes approximately 6 to 12 months. During that time, you’ll get comfortable with a routine that works best for you, whether that entails driving at night or getting an early AM start to the day.
Overall, a career in truck driving can be quite rewarding and if you’re an individual who enjoys driving, visiting new places, and working independently, then it is quite possibly the perfect fit for you.
Trucker AK shares a day in the life of being a trucker as he goes from start to finish on a load to Alabama.
Find Out How to Begin Your Truck Driving Career