What Is the Truck Driver Lifestyle Really Like?
Truck drivers, commonly referred to as truckers, play an important role in the American economy. They move approximately 70% of the nation’s freight each year. That amounts to about $671 billion dollars worth of goods annually! Although that’s an impressive figure, there’s more to the transport industry than numbers. Much like cowboys, truckers are symbols of American culture, and the truck driver lifestyle has intrigued, inspired, and fascinated people for decades. Apart from the folklore and tall tales that surround trucking, what is the truck driver lifestyle really like?
This piece examines the truck driver lifestyle by answering questions that non-truckers often have.
What Is a Typical Day for a Truck Driver?
The amount of hours in a typical workday is a big part of the truck driver lifestyle. It’s no secret that long-haul truck drivers, or OTR (over-the-road) drivers for short, pull some serious miles in one day. However, there are some misconceptions surrounding the average OTR trucker’s day-to-day.
Contrary to popular belief, truck drivers have plenty of down time in their work weeks. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) outlines very strict regulations that govern a truck driver’s work day to prevent driver fatigue and promote the healthiest possible work life on the road.
In short, truck drivers are permitted to drive for a total of 11 hours within a 14 hour window. After 8 hours, truck drivers are required to take a 30 minute break before they resume. After the 11 hour limit is reached, truckers are required to take a 10 hour break before driving again. On top of that, truckers are required to take at least 36 hours off after every specified work week.
How Often Do Truck Drivers Come Home?
This varies depending on the type of driving you do. For example, the average OTR driver comes home every 2 to 3 weeks. On the other hand, regional drivers can potentially come home every night.
One of the most surprising things for non-drivers is the variety of careers within the truck driving industry. From long-haul driving to regional driving and everything in between, there’s a transport job that fits every truck driver lifestyle.
Are Truck Drivers Lonely?
Unfortunately, some studies have shown that truckers are more prone to loneliness than workers in other industries.
When considering loneliness on the road, however, you have to remember that driving trucks attracts people with personalities which are compatible with the trade. In reality, many truck drivers love the freedom that driving on the open road provides enough to accept that fleeting loneliness is part of the truck driver lifestyle.
Additionally, there are plenty of social outlets that truck drivers enjoy. The truck driving community is a tight-knit group, and truckers love to stay social with one another at restaurants and truck stops. Plus, with modern technology, drivers can call, text, email, and video chat daily to stay in touch with their loved ones while they’re on the road.
One of the most surprising aspects of modern truck driving is that there are several job opportunities and programs that allow drivers to bring loved ones with them on the road or even drive in pairs.
Much like the question of how often drivers can come home, loneliness on the job has a lot to do with the preference and personality of the driver.
Where Do Truck Drivers Sleep?
Life on the road is the essence of the truck driver lifestyle, but getting off the road and resting up is important, too. Truck drivers have several options when it’s time to get some rest. Let’s look at 3 of the most common.
- Many truck driving companies have company facilities dotted along their routes. They commonly provide their drivers with comfy places to bunk up at night.
- Truck drivers also sleep at rest stops, truck stops, and hotels. This is a good option if an OTR driver is in a pinch.
- Lastly, some truck drivers drive sleeper cabs, which are rigs that have beds behind the seats of the truck itself. These come in many shapes and sizes, including singles, doubles, or double bunks for team drivers. Some of these rigs even include showers!
The reason we included this question in our blog is because truck drivers don’t all sleep in their trucks. Transport companies are as accommodating as possible to their drivers, and there’s no shortage of options for drivers to get a good, refreshing night’s sleep.
What Do Truckers Eat?
Answering this question clears up plenty of misconceptions surrounding a trucker’s lifestyle. Although many people think truck drivers have unhealthy diets because of the rest stop food and gas station snacks, many truck drivers try their best to lead healthy lifestyles and eat a balanced diet.
Truck driving is a sedentary lifestyle, and much like office workers, drivers need to put forth the effort to eat well and stay active. In that regard, you can bring whichever health-conscious snacks and meals with you on the road, and many rigs have the space for minifridges to store food in.
Along with that, the food at truck stops isn’t all burgers, steaks, and hotdogs. Many truck stops and rest stops offer healthy options like salads, fish, and other light meals that truckers enjoy across the country.
The Truck Driver Lifestyle: Start Your Journey With TDI
While it’s safe to say the truck driver lifestyle isn’t for everyone, it’s not as grueling or lonely as many non-drivers would think. Above all else, people choose the truck driving industry because it offers them a profound feeling of freedom that can’t be beat. The mystique and culture that surrounds the trade is an added bonus.
Are you considering a career change, or are you looking to enter the workforce? Truck drivers also enjoy high starting salaries and competitive benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and generous retirement plans. To learn more about the benefits of truck driving, check out our salaries page.
If you’d like to inquire about getting your CDL here at TDI, don’t hesitate to contact us online or give us a call at 800-848-7364 today!