10 Things You Should Know About Being a Truck Driver
At first, the life of a truck driver may seem quite glamorous. Endless travel, being able to work alone, and great pay all sound enticing. However, there is a lot more to it than what many people believe. It can be one of the most physically and mentally draining jobs, and there are a lot of other aspects to it that tend to be overlooked.
Below, we are going to take a look at ten things you should know about being a truck driver so that you can assess the pros and cons and make your final decision. Want to learn more? Then keep on reading!
You Need to Enjoy Driving
Obviously, if you are thinking of doing a job that requires driving, you need to enjoy it. However, you must ask yourself if you love it enough to do it every single day. You are sitting behind the wheel for several hours at a time, and if you think you will get bored of it, it isn’t going to be the right job for you.
You Will be Working Long Hours
It’s no secret that truck drivers work long hours, but it is still something that needs to be mentioned. Unless you choose to work specifically close to home, you may be working up to 70 hours a week. That being said, there are rules in place to prevent driver fatigue. Most truckers are limited to an 11-hour daily driving limit and must have breaks in-between to rest.
You’ll Need to be Flexible
You can have your week perfectly planned out, but that doesn’t mean that it is going to go the way you expect. Things like bad weather, unreliable co-workers, and shipment delays can all impact your schedule. You will need to be incredibly flexible and learn how to adapt to various situations. Some people like this lack of routine, while others may find it challenging. If you don’t think that you can cope with it, this career may not be the right choice.
Accidents Can Happen
While you may not like hearing it, truck accidents may happen at one point or another. With such large vehicles, even the best of drivers can make mistakes. You need to know how to avoid the most common situations and what to do if a crash does occur. This is certainly going to be stressful at times, but just like if you were another type of transport driver (bus, taxi, train, etc.), it’s all a part of the job. Just think of it this way. The more experience you have, the better driver you will become.
Your Relationships May Suffer
Above, we talked about the long hours and flexibility required to be a truck driver. If you are in a relationship, you have to be prepared that this may affect your situation. You need a partner who is understanding of your role while still being supportive.
At times the long-distance phone calls and messages can be challenging, so if you really want to go into this career, it is something that you need to take into consideration.
Communication Plays a Big Part in the Job
One thing that many people don’t realize is that communication is a big part of being a truck driver. While you do get to drive alone and work primarily for yourself, you still have to deal with a lot of different people. You’ll be in regular contact with your dispatcher, talk with customers while unloading, and may even need to speak with repair shop workers. In fact, it is quite a social job when you think about all of the people you will be communicating with.
Your Pay Will Increase Over Time
When you first start working as a truck driver , you may be a little disheartened at the pay. However, you must remember that it will increase quite favorably over time. The longer you work and the fewer accidents you have, the more experience you will gain. As an estimate, you may earn around $35,000 your first year and about $45,000-$55,000 after that. Your company may also offer different perks and bonuses.
Traveling Doesn’t Mean You Get to be a Tourist
Many people think that driving from state to state means that they get to explore and take part in adventures. While that might be nice, it is not the case. You have to get a shipment to a destination in a specific time frame, and after that, you will generally be driving straight back home. Yes, you do get to enjoy the sites along the way (and stop for some great food), but it certainly won’t be a holiday.
Driving Can be Both Relaxing and Stressful at the Same Time
Most individuals like driving because it can be quite calming. You can kick back, listen to your favorite music and unwind with your thoughts. While this is all very true (and a significant part of truck driving), there will also be a lot of stressful times. Maneuvering such a big vehicle can be complex, and you may have to work your way around other drivers out on the road. It will be complicated, fun, challenging, and relaxing all at the same time.
Your Truck will Become Your Second Home
Finally, the last thing you need to know about becoming a truck driver is that your vehicle will become your second home. You’ll be eating, sleeping, and jamming out to music in there, so you want to make it homey. Spend time buying supplies, decorating, and organizing. It would help if you aimed to make it as comfortable as possible. Here are a few other recommendations you should consider.
- Create a mini kitchen with a single electric burner and folding table. You may even be able to add a small microwave.
- Upgrade your mattress to something more supportive. Don’t forget a sheet, blanket, and a pillow!
- Organize your supplies such as toiletries, cleaning products, extra clothes, and snacks into baskets and hanging nets for easy access.
- Invest in a tablet to watch movies and shows while you rest and unwind.