Is Over-the-Road Trucking Worth It?

Orange Lorry on a motorway in motion near London, United Kingdom

There are many types of truck driving jobs, truck drivers, freight and loads, benefits, truck driving job lengths, and many more categories to consider when deciding to become part of the truck driving industry. One such opportunity is over-the-road truck driving. Below, you’ll find out what over-the-road truck driving is, why it’s essential within the transportation industry, the pros and cons of driving as an over-the-road trucker, and overall answers to the question: is over-the-road trucking worth it?

What is Over-the-Road Trucking?

Over-the-road truck driving may sound derivative. After all, aren’t all truck drivers driving over the road? Yes and no. While over-the-road trucking does involve driving over the road, another way to think about it is by its other name: long-haul truck driving. Long-haul truck drivers are those you’re probably most familiar with; they’re the ones you see driving across the nation’s highways, byways, and interstates–transporting a majority of the goods Americans use every day. They cover between 1,200 and 1,400 miles per trip! That’s a lot of asphalt! Over-the-road truck drivers spend days traveling to and from different states, delivering the goods we need and want in our average lives. 

Other Types of Truck Drivers 

What’s the difference between over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers and other truck drivers? Here are the different types of truck drivers that make up the majority of the truck driving industry:

  • Over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers: the long-haul drivers who deliver most of the goods Americans use
  • Regional truck drivers: these drivers haul loads to shorter distances. They can haul multiple loads daily because of their shorter distances, unlike over-the-road truck drivers, who typically only take one load every few days or weeks. 
  • Dry haul drivers: This is one of the most common forms of truck driving. Dry haul drivers haul rectangular trailers with pallets of goods on semi-trucks. Unlike other truck drivers, dry haul drivers don’t typically have to unload their freight. 
  • Freight hauler: these drivers haul everything else that dry haulers don’t! 
  • Flatbed hauler: this truck driver hauls freight that is usually too big to keep in a trailer. They typically move large types of dry goods, freight or machinery on flatbeds. You’ve probably seen these carrying construction equipment, machines, or construction materials!
  • Tanker hauler: these truck drivers haul some of the more dangerous freight: liquid. Driving gallons and gallons of liquid across the U.S. can be dangerous because the liquid sloshes around–moving its weight back and forth as the commercial vehicle moves. This liquid can be both hazardous–like gasoline–or non-hazardous. 
  • Refrigerator hauler: as its name suggests, these truck drivers haul refrigerated goods or goods that must be kept at a specific temperature. This includes food, liquids, chemicals, hazardous materials, and more. 
  • Less than truckload haulers: these drivers drive solely based on load size. This means they typically only haul small loads locally, haul their own company’s loads, and load and unload their freight. 
  • Hotshot haulers: hot shot drivers are just that–coming in hot. They deliver fast and typically deliver multiple loads a day, too. 
  • Auto haulers: these drivers and trucks are designed to carry cars and other automobiles. You’ve most likely seen these on the road carrying up to 7 or more cars!

Why Do We Need Over-the-Road Trucking?

How vital are OTR truck drivers? The truck driving industry alone transports about 72.2% of goods in the American economy. We don’t realize how critical OTR truck drivers are! They allow us to live the lives we want, and they get compensated pretty well! Truck drivers are a vital component of our economy, yet a shortage affects the economy.

How Much Money Do Over-the-Road Truckers Make?

The salary is one of the many benefits of being an over-the-road truck driver. Although it may differ from company to company, state to state, and driver to driver (depending on experience), over-the-road drivers can make a higher salary because they spend so much time on the road. An entry-level OTR truck driver alone makes $43,000 a year. With more years of experience, the more OTR truck drivers make. The average OTR truck driver’s salary is $62,119 annually or $29.86 hourly! With that, over-the-road truck drivers make some of the highest salaries.

What are the Benefits of Being an Over-the-Road Trucker?

What other benefits are there to being an over-the-road truck driver? There are quite a few!

  • High salaries: as mentioned, OTR truck drivers make a very high salary. You’ll be well compensated for your time and energy as an OTR trucker. But how else are you to be compensated?
  • Although this may depend on the company or employer you work for, truck drivers have several options regarding truck driver insurance. Medicaid, Medicare, individual and family plans, and short-term truck driver health insurance exist. 
  • Company: OTR truck drivers can bring companions with them! This can include family members, friends, or pets! You have to get approval from your company. There may be a few rules, but it’s possible for longer-time hauls.  

What Makes a Good Over-the-Road Trucker?

Who can become an over-the-road truck driver, and what makes a good one? Like most non-commercial drivers, the best traits for truck drivers include the following:


  • Having a CDL,
  • Having vigilance and attention, 
  • Being able to be flexible and adapt to the situation, 
  • Being able to follow safety rules and regulations, 
  • Having defensive driving techniques, 
  • Able to gauge one’s abilities at the time. Self-reflection is huge for truck drivers! You never want to drive when you’re tired or distracted, 
  • Have clear communication skills, 
  • Being able to learn vehicle maintenance and mechanical basics,  
  • Being able to ask for advice–just in case!

How to Become an Over-the-Road Trucker

Now that you’ve discovered the answers to the question: Is Over-the-Road Trucking worth it?–you can become one yourself! If you’re interested in becoming an over-the-road truck driver, contact us today to get started on earning your CDL and gaining all the well-worth benefits of an OTR truck driver!

Get Started

Get your Class A CDL in our friendly, supportive CDL training program. TRAIN with experienced instructors – multiple good-paying, secure job choices with benefits available for eligible graduates. EARN $700 – $1000+ / week to start as a truck driver. Get started today by filling out the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!