One of the best things about choosing a career as a truck driver is that trucking jobs are always available. Another thing are the numerous choices as to the type of truck you can drive, the type of freight you can haul and the types of routes you can drive. Nevertheless, trucking is not for everyone. Is it the right choice for you? Only you can make that decision. This post refers to life as an over the road driver also referred to as longhaul trucking and may help you make that determination.
Age Requirements: You must be at least 21 years old to drive a commercial vehicle across state lines. This is refers to an interstate driver or over the road driver. Some states allow drivers of at least 18 years old to drive within the state. This is referred to as intrastate driving. Currently, there is not an upper age limit for commercial truck drivers.
Physical Health: You must pass a Department of Transportation (D.O.T) Physical Exam. A DOT health exam is a basic health exam done by a licensed medical practitioner which determines your fitness for being able to drive a heavy truck. The examiner will ask you questions about your health and complete a health history form. Your vision, hearing, blood pressure, etc. will also be checked.
Family Considerations: An over the road driver lives a solitary existence. Friends and family members may just be a phone call away but how will it affect them if you are gone for weeks at a time. It is common for drivers to be away from home for 2 to 3 weeks at a time before getting a few days off to go home. Can you and your family cope with this? If not, this might not be a good career choice for you.
Personal Hygiene: Conveniences such as having ready access to bathrooms and showers are not readily available. Truckstops will become your home away from home where you can eat, have access to bathroom facilities and a safe place to sleep.
Long Hours: Trucking involves long hours. Commercial trucking is not a 9-5 job. A drivers work day can be as long as 14 hours with 11 of those being actual driving hours. Drivers often drive 600 miles per day.
Expense: Living on the road is expensive. A major expense is food which is quite expensive on the road. Laundry is another expense. Some truckstops provide free computer service. Others may charge a fee. You may also have to pay for showers. However, if you buy fuel there is no charge for showers.
Commercial drivers live what is referred to as the trucking lifestyle. Your truck is considered your home away from home. You will drive, sleep, eat, and perhaps even cook in the truck. You might also watch TV, movies and perhaps even do some exercises. In other words you will live in your truck. If you can do this perhaps you will enjoy trucking. If not please don’t consider becoming an over the road driver. Other types of jobs in the trucking industry are available.
As you can see deciding to become a truck driver is a life changing experience. There is so much newbie drivers need to consider. Evaluate all information carefully prior to making your decision. There is no point in spending the time and money to become a commercial truck driver only to find out that trucking is not for you.