Driving for long hours can be stressful and tiring. It’s true even when your destination happens to be a rest house or your vacation home. Imagine how it would feel if you’re driving on your own for hours and hours and you’re doing it to haul freight that needs to be delivered at a specified deadline. Imagine doing the same thing for days, weeks, months, and even years. It’s a tough job and not many can be up for the challenge. In fact, even those who feel they can do it eventually end up quitting.
Like all other jobs, truck driving has its own highs and lows. We’ve outlined them below and hope that the information proves useful to those who are thinking of taking their shot at becoming a truck driver.
The Highs of Being In The Road
Due to a shortage in the number of truck drivers, many companies have become willing to grant pay raises and bonuses. Most companies also offer benefits like dental, medical, and life insurance, and retirement plans. Which means the work may be hard, but the compensation will be commensurate to it. Truck driving is a great way to see the rest of the country, soak up the views and enjoy the changing scenery because you get to do it while working. You get to do it nearly every day.
A number of trucking companies offer flexible driving schedules and work conditions. Instead of driving alone for hours, some companies allow their drivers to bring along their family and even their pets.A truck driver has the kind of freedom that someone who works in an office doesn’t. Instead of an enclosed cubicle, his work space is the open road where he doesn’t have any boss looking in from time to time to nag him about his work performance.
As long as a truck driver does his job well, he can be assured that he will always have a job because there are always products to transport and the number of drivers isn’t always enough to haul the goods.With truck driving, no two days are ever exactly alike. It’s the best kind of job if you’re looking for one where you get to encounter different kinds of experiences every day.
The Lows Of Being On The Road
They work long hours (sometimes up to 14 hours a day), they can’t expect regular sleeping hours, and they only get one day off per week. Even with existing laws regulating the amount of driving a trucker is allowed to do, the rules are never really strictly followed.
They mostly have to eat at truck stops, and they seldom get the chance to eat 3 regular meals a day. Sometimes, truckers have to rely on pre-packaged snacks to get through the day. And when they get a chance to dine at truck stops, the food served is rarely the healthy kind. The combination of unhealthy food and no exercise (since they’re always sitting in their truck) makes truckers prone to getting overweight or obese.
They have to be by themselves, far from their home, their family and their friends for long periods of time. This can affect their mental, emotional and psychological health. Oftentimes, relationships become strained and they need to exert major effort and energy to make things work. It’s not uncommon for truck drivers to experience depression as a result of constantly being away from home. It’s also not uncommon for married drivers to end up getting divorced because they are unable to sustain their relationship.
Always being on the road makes it difficult, if not impossible, to schedule medical appointments. So even if a truck driver feels sick, he tends to simply ignore the symptoms until it becomes too much to continue working. And if he gets sick on the road, there’s no one to take care of him.
Finding a place to sleep is a nightly challenge. Even though some large trucks have sleeping quarters, the driver still has to find a place to park. While while the National Transportation Safety Board estimates that there are about 20,000 vacant truck stops every night, those may be too far away and staying at one might create problems for the driver the next day.
Truck driving is a high risk job and based on the latest available statistics, transportation-related fatal occupational injuries rose to 28% in 2014, the highest it’s gone since 2008. From this figure, 56% of fatal injuries (725 out of 1,289) involved truck drivers.
If you’ve been considering making a career out of truck driving, carefully consider whether the benefits outweigh the risks, or vice versa. When you figure out the answer, you’ll be able to make your decision.