We are not trying to scare you away from becoming a trucker. We are just trying to get you thinking about some of the harsh realities that drivers have to deal with. Remember, trucking is a lifestyle, not a job, but at the same time it can be very rewarding and it just might be the dream job that you never thought about.
The first year on the road for a new driver can be difficult and some drivers have a hard time acclimating to the new lifestyle. Truck drivers often spend days at a time on the road.
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This amount of time away from home can can be hard on the trucker and his or her family and its probably the 1 reason why people decide against becoming a trucker. If you become a trucker you will more than likely, miss school events, birthdays, anniversaries, and many more important events. This can be emotionally taxing on you and your loved ones. Most trucking companies will try their best to get you home for important dates, but there is never any real guarantees so keep this in mind.
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Fortunately, the advancements in technology make communicating easier. Drivers no longer have to use truck stop phones for their nightly call home and most trucking companies have a passenger program where you are allowed to have a rider with you while you are working. Most importantly, talk to your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend or partner about their concerns. Have a game plan in place.
Plan time each day to speak with one another. Talk about how you will spend your time together and make the most of your time when you are home. On top of the financial costs there is always the time commitment cost. We keep saying this over and over, but trucking is a lifestyle. Truckers have long days, they are always on the go, their job requires them to sit for multiple hours a day, constant vibration of the truck might wear on the body, difficulty sleeping on the road, limited food options that turns into unhealthy eating pattern from some truckers, and bathrooms are only available when you are stopped.
With all of this said what could go wrong. The good news is that many truck drivers find ways to cope and adjust to these issues. CDLLIFE has an entire section of our website dedicated to truck driver health and wellness so if ever in doubt or in the need for some healthy advice be sure to check that section of the site out.
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In order to freshen up, most drivers forced to use the bathroom facilities at various truck stops or at their companies terminal. If a driver is under a tight deadline for a load they may choose to forgo the pit stop and pass on taking a shower. What you need to know before you start driving a commercial truck is that whatever can go wrong, eventually will go wrong. So many things can go wrong on the road that you need to come into the trucking industry with strong shoulders and a persevering spirit.
Most truck drivers are paid by the mile which means that they are only making money when the wheels are turning. When something unexpected happens that prevents the wheels from turning your pay starts to suffer. This means that whenever any little problem comes up your first instinct might be to get frustrated, lash out at a dispatcher or customer, and then before you know it you are quitting your job or getting fired for something that might of honestly been outside of your control.
Lets list out a few common scenarios that might cause you some stress while on the road.
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This one problem caused a chain of events that were outside of your control, but you were the one the ultimately got hurt the most because of it. The point of all of this is to get you to understand that things will go wrong while you are on the road , but for the most part things should balance out. You might have a excellent mile week this week, but next week you had a couple curve balls thrown your way and you end the week with miles.
Most veteran drivers understand this and if you are going to last in the trucking industry you need to be able to adapt to the situation.
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If you have anger problems or are someone who has common road rage in a personal car, just think about what that would be like in a 80, lbs wrecking machine. What if the above situation we explained had just happened to you? You need an outlet for your frustration, but if you have a history or road rage then becoming a truck driver is probably the last profession you need to be exploring. Laws governing trucking get stricter and stricter each year. It can be hard to keep up and making a mistake and violating a regulation could be costly. Punishment for breaking a regulation can result in a warning, fine, termination from your employer, or even losing your CDL.
Be sure to check our site often. Layover time, or time in between loads, can be relaxing or downright annoying. You could be sitting for days with nothing to do but wait…and you may not be paid during this time. Plan ahead, take books to read or other things to do to keep yourself busy. Take a bike or running shoes. Drivers get to see some of the coolest things. Earlier this week, we asked drivers this question: What factors should a prospective CDL student consider before entering the trucking industry?
What might he or she not know about the industry? Think if you can handle isolation and long periods away from your family. Most folks quit when they realize that fact.
Decide what and where you expect to be in two years, and stick to that goal while putting up with low pay, long hours and the endurance it requires. They all suck unless they have a fleet of 50 or less. You learn on the road, not in CDL school. You can make a career, and keep your record clean while accepting every load. On-time delivery is the name of the game, and your reputation as an individual will let you stand out whether good or bad. Guard your CDL license. Treat it like a gold card. You will always be employed.
And stay away from negative people. Find a good company! No wild stories about miles or pay! Most of all, try it! Stop, think and reevaluate your options to find the safe way to perform the task! I have run OTR for years and have always got my home time. The very first thing you need to consider is that you will work twice as much as anyone else with a job. Have pride in what you do; be professional. Take pride in your ride. Always pay attention. Be mindful of your surroundings and conditions.
After a few years, I always suggest people try a smaller company. Learn about the business, not just the truck operation and learn about the truck. Be careful of anyone who has an ad in the pages of one of those truck stop books. Use your state workforce, Craigslist, indeed, etc.
Find a company based near you home office not just a terminal if you wanna be home. If you wanna stay out, look for good trucks, newer trailers and an APU.