Pros and Cons of Long Haul Truck Driving
The life of a long-haul truck driver is glamourized, to some degree, by TV and film. And by drivers themselves!
When I was looking to get into trucking, I had CB in my van. I got on the radio and connected with a couple of truckers working nearby and asked their advice about getting into the industry. Both gave the same advice: Don’t get into trucking.
Well, that wasn’t an option. I’d already made my mind up but I enjoyed hearing perspectives. They spoke the cliche ideas about dispatchers and shippers. They talked about wait times and layovers. But they also spoke of job security and different types of trucking.
As with any job, there are pros and cons. It’s up to you to weigh them out according to what you want in a career.
Spend any time on the highway and you’ll see signs, billboards, and trailer doors proclaiming the need for drivers. Having a CDL is your ticket to employment as opportunities abound. Now, more than ever, companies are adding sign-on bonuses and increased mileage rates to attract drivers as the industry grapples with a shortage of available drivers.
Truck drivers make a good living. Many costs are covered by the carrier (tolls, repairs, fuel, etc) so your paycheck goes into your pocket. Unless you are an owner-operator, you have comfort in knowing that the money you earn is the money you keep.
There is no requirement to have a high school diploma to acquire your CDL, however, some carriers require it. Commercial truck driving schools exist throughout the country and there’s likely one close to your home. There are two readily available alternatives to a traditional truck driving school as well: CDL courses through a local community college, and training available through major carriers. Courses range in length, content, and possible commitment to a company so it’s recommended that you research available programs in your area.
Paid to see the country
I love being on the road. Though I can’t stop at every interesting location, I see places I typically wouldn’t venture. On one particular run, I was given a tour of a bourbon distillery, and at another, I was given the history of the building that went back to World War II as a POW encampment. Aside from seeing the country, you will meet some intriguing people. I’ve had more than one meal with strangers, and it’s always rewarding.
You will be alone most of the time. Introverted drivers tend to savor the solitude, however, it can become excessive and result in loneliness. It’s vital to a driver’s mental health to stay connected to family and friends to stave off loneliness.
Traffic, weather, deadlines, and anything else that is out of your control contributes to the level of stress upon drivers. Stress left unchecked can negatively impact a driver’s health and wellbeing. It’s recommended that drivers develop strategies, including mindset strategies, to help manage the stress of life on the road.
Long hours on the road, truck stop meals, and a lack of physical activity can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle for long-haul drivers. Drivers need to make a concerted effort to make healthy choices for their physical and mental wellbeing before it’s too late.
Your sleep patterns will always be disrupted from noise, time of day, demands of schedules, weather, truck problems, and general location. You name it, something can cause disruption. Sleep is vital to your wellbeing and impacts every facet of your day from attention to mood.