trucker life

Embracing the life of a truck driver goes beyond a mere occupation – it’s an immersive lifestyle. Unlike the conventional 9-to-5 routine confined within office walls, in trucking life, the road becomes both a workplace and home for truckers. By being long hours on the road, they are often away from their family and friends.

Being a truck driver you will travel great distances and experience different cities, regions, and landscapes. This will enable you to travel and see other cultures and locations while being compensated for driving.

Note – Truck drivers are known as truckers, teamsters or just drivers in the US and Canada.

Essential things to consider before opting for a trucking life

i) Hours of Service

What does trucker life look like?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a truck driver has a 14 hour window to be on duty. Once this time has passed, he has to take 10 consecutive hours of rest, after which the clock restarts.

Similarly he has 11 hours to drive within the 14 hour period. Once this time has passed, the driver cannot drive again until 10 consecutive hours of rest. Also there is a mandatory 30 minute break where the driver cannot operate  for more than 8 consecutive hours without taking a break.

How many days a week do truck drivers work? According to the FMCSA, truckers are permitted to drive a maximum of 60 hours over seven days or 70 hours over eight days. You must take 34 hours off after reaching these restrictions before you can resume driving. 

ii) Time Away from Home

Being a truck driver often means being away from home for a long time. It can be isolating, and you may occasionally feel cut off from your loved ones.It also means missing out on the day-to-day events back home. Birthdays, family gatherings, and the simple joys of being present for your loved ones become a trade-off for the freedom the open road offers.

The truck will eventually turn into your own little home. You’ll eat, work, and rest in this small space. It’s all about finding a balance between the freedom of the road and missing the comfort of home.

iii) Being paid by Mile or Hourly Basis

What does trucker life look like?

It’s always good to know in advance that some trucking companies pay drivers by the miles driven as opposed to the hours. This is a significant information for new truckers to learn. Since there might be long hours of time when you’re not driving, for example, during a live load or live unload – there won’t be any earning money during those downtimes.

iv) Deadlines can be stressful

What does trucker life look like?

Almost ninety-nine percent of the time, the freight that’s on your truck is required immediately, and customers will be always watching the clock for it. This may sound easy, but it can become a source of anxiety and stress. Once you start your trucking life, be mindful of deadlines and routes so that you get your cargo on time to the place where it needs to be.

v) Truck stops

What does trucker life look like?

The life of a truck driver revolves around frequent pit stops. Truck stops aren’t just refueling points; they are social hubs where drivers share stories and experiences. A good meal, a friendly chat, or a clean shower can brighten up the journey and make the road feel a bit more like home. Apps like Trucker Path allow drivers to rate and review various truck stops.

A typical day in the life of a truck driver:

Now let’s look at a trucker lifestyle on a typical day-to-day basis to understand the work-life balance of a trucker. To do so, we’ll follow a fictitious driver named Tom through his day:

A day in the life of a truck driver Tom:

Meet Tom, a Over-the-Road (OTR) truck driver whose passion for the open road defines his every journey. This is a day in the life of Tom.

4:30 AM: Morning Breakfast

The day begins with the first light as Tom wakes up at 4:30 AM. Before officially going on duty, he takes a moment to enjoy a quiet breakfast he prepared the night before. Whether it’s a granola bar or a sandwich, he starts the day with a full stomach.

5:00 AM: On-Duty for Pre-Trip Inspection

As the world awakens, Tom switches to on-duty mode at 5 AM, gearing up for the day with a thorough pre-trip inspection.

6:00 AM: Driving Commences

With the morning checklist complete, Tom hits the road at 6 AM. The hum of the engine becomes the soundtrack to his cross-country adventure.

2:00 PM: 30-Minute Off-Duty Break

After 8 hours of consecutive driving, it’s time for a well-deserved break. At 2 PM, Tom goes off-duty for 30 minutes. He finds a picturesque spot to park and takes a break for lunch. He enjoys a packed lunch from his cooler , savoring the flavors while soaking in the surroundings.

2:30 PM: Back on the Road

Tom resumes driving at 2:30 PM, navigating highways and byways until 5:30 PM. The wheels keep turning as he covers miles and embraces the ever-changing landscapes.

5:30 PM: Shower Stop and Winding up

As the sun begins its descent, Tom makes a stop for a quick shower at lowa 80 truck stop, freshening up for the evening. He then does his post trip inspection, wraps up any remaining paperwork, and fuels the truck for another big day. Transitioning to sleeper berth by 7 PM Tom winds up his day.

Pros and cons of truck driving

S. No.ProsCons
1Truck drivers typically earn a high salary right away.It can get lonely being a truck driver.
2Flexibility in terms of when to start and end your workday.Following hours of service can be really hectic.
3It doesn’t take much to get your CDL.Getting a good meal isn’t always easy.
4You are required by the FMCSA to take mandatory rests and breaks.There is a lot of time spent away from home.
5You can start your career with just a high school diploma or equivalent.You must be exceptionally patient when driving.
6Many trucking companies offer benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off to their drivers.Sleep can be a major problem in trucking life.
7You can earn bonuses for taking certain routes.You will be dealing with weather events on a regular basis.
8You can embrace your love of driving.Personal hygiene can be a problem in trucking life.

Facts about trucker lifestyle

Here are some of facts about the trucker lifestyle:

  • According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the average long-haul truck driver in the USA drives approximately 125,000 miles per year, covering vast distances across the country.
  • A survey found that over-the-road truck drivers in the USA spend an average of 2-3 weeks away from home per trip, with some drivers staying out longer for extended hauls.
  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that truck drivers in the USA have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease compared to the general population, due to sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary choices on the road.
  • A survey conducted by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) found that over 80% of truck drivers in the USA use smartphones or tablets for navigation, communication, and accessing electronic logs.
  • Modern trucks typically offer drivers a living area of about 8′ x 8′. This compact space includes a sleeping berth, storage compartments, a workstation, and sometimes even a small kitchenette.
  • Truck drivers travel extensively across the country, making them among the most traveled individuals nationwide. They navigate diverse landscapes, meet various communities, and experience the richness of the American landscape.

Is being a truck driver worth it?

The trucker lifestyle appeals to those who enjoy independence, adventure, and the open road. It’s a career choice that demands adaptability, responsibility, and physical stamina. If you love travel and solitude, and take pride in your work, being a truck driver might be a good fit for you.

How to Become a Truck Driver?

To become a truck driver, start by researching the requirements in your area and obtain proper training through a reputable truck driving school. Once you have your commercial driver’s license (CDL), gain experience through entry-level positions. Then, apply for jobs with companies that match your preferences for route and schedule. Continuously educate yourself on industry developments to stay current in your field. With determination and the right mindset, you can have a fulfilling career as a truck driver.

Yoga Laxmi
Social Media Marketer at OpenFR8 | More posts

I am copyright writer with OpenFR8. I take a little bit of time to complete my blogs because I undergo research and analysis of each and every article to gather accurate information. For me, writing is not just a job; it feeds my creativity and desire to share insightful information with readers. As a writer, I like to present content that is valuable and easily understood by every individual. I believe in the power of words, and if they are used in a good manner, they can create many positive changes around us.

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