The open road can be both a blessing and a curse for truckers. One can argue that there is the freedom to go wherever you please, with nothing but your sense of direction (and sometimes even that gets tested). But on the other hand, there are long hours behind the wheel and endless stretches of monotony which can take their toll after months of being away from home.
This duality attracts many people to life on the road; it is an escape from mundane routines or difficulties back home for some. For others, it offers an opportunity to explore places they otherwise couldn’t in a regular job. But regardless of why someone takes up trucking as a profession, life on the road can be challenging.
What a day in the life of a trucker looks like
A typical day for a trucker starts early with a pre-trip vehicle inspection. It includes checking all fluid levels, brakes, lights, and tires to ensure they are in excellent working order. Then they hit the road; while some truckers might be able to cruise at speeds over 70mph, others may find themselves stuck in slow traffic or construction zones.
Once they reach their destination safely, it’s time to unload cargo and rest. The following hours vary from person to person; Some truckers may pull over for another nap before returning home, while others will stay overnight in a motel or campground. In some cases, truckers can even visit family and friends in nearby towns if they are feeling homesick.
No matter the length of their shift or how they travel, one thing remains constant: the need for rest and safety. Long drives across long distances require sharp concentration, so truckers should take precautions regarding sleep deprivation and fatigue management.
What are the benefits of being a trucker?
Trucking is alright, though; life on the road offers an opportunity to see some remote parts of the country you have not seen or visited before. And despite its notorious dangers, there are also moments of joy along the way for truckers who genuinely appreciate it as a lifestyle choice. Whether passing by breathtaking scenery in rural areas or experiencing cultural diversity in cities, every trucker will have a different experience and take something away from it.
The profession has economic benefits; with its generous pay and flexible hours, trucking can be an attractive option for those wanting to make a comfortable living on their terms. And because of this, many truckers enjoy the freedom of working independently without needing to answer to anyone else, and they can simply do an online search for ‘truck stop near me’ to get a good night’s rest along their journey.
What are the drawbacks?
But the open road is only for some, and it takes a certain type of person to handle long periods away from home and spend hours behind the wheel with only their thoughts for company. Additionally, truckers face risks like dangerous weather conditions and potential accidents due to driver fatigue or other factors.
On top of that, there are non-driving duties such as filling out paperwork and dealing with customer service issues that can add stress to their day-to-day routine. Lastly, there is often limited access to healthcare and social activities while on the road, making it difficult for those who don’t have much support back at home.
How to become a professional long haul truck driver
Becoming a professional long-haul truck driver requires a lot of dedication and hard work. The first step to becoming a truck driver is to get your Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL, from your local Department of Motor Vehicles. To obtain your CDL, you must pass written tests, pass a vision test, and also undergo training on how to safely operate the vehicle you’ll be driving.
You must also register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as an interstate driver. It requires submitting paperwork proving that you understand the rules and regulations of interstate trucking, including hours-of-service limits, drug and alcohol testing, vehicle maintenance requirements, federal safety standards for cargo handling, and more. Once registered with FMCSA, you can apply for jobs at local or national trucking companies.
In addition to obtaining all necessary certifications, successful long-haul truck drivers have excellent communication skills and customer service experience. Long-distance trucking involves delivering freight on time while keeping customers updated on their delivery status; thus, communicating effectively with customers is critical in this profession. Furthermore, knowing different areas along your route is beneficial to navigate efficiently or quickly find lodging or fuel if needed.
Aspiring truckers need to remain organized to stay up-to-date on the latest regulations. To ensure compliance with laws and regulations, successful drivers keep all relevant documents like logs and licenses up-to-date so they can quickly answer any questions from authorities during stops along their route, which helps maintain a safe working environment for drivers and other motorists on the road.
Life on the road has its highs and lows, but it can be rewarding for those who are up for the challenge. With determination and a willingness to adapt, anyone can make trucking their profession. Though adjusting to the lifestyle may take some time, once you do, there is no telling what adventure awaits you.