There are many things that determine success or failure in any given career. Trucking is no exception. Suitability for the career is one consideration. Job satisfaction is another. Proficiency in the career is another. The life of a longhaul trucker is unlike any other which is the reason it is referred to as the trucking lifestyle.
Numerous drivers love the life of a longhaul trucker and are very successful. They also make a good living. Other drivers despise it, become miserable, are not able to earn the income anticipated and fail. Truck driving is not a career choice which should be make lightly. Trucking can be a great career but it is not for everyone. Do your own research to determine if it is the right career for you. Ask yourself the following questions to assist you in making your decision.
1. If you are married or have children does your family support this career choice?
Family considerations are very important in making a career choice such as trucking as it is unlike others. You may go days and weeks without seeing your family. This may be stressful for you and your family. You may also miss important events such as birthdays. weddings, school functions and funerals. A truck driver spoke about how devastated he was when his trucking company didn’t make any effort to get him home for his father’s funeral.
2 Are you able to spend days and weeks alone in a truck?
As a longhaul truck driver you will be alone in your truck for the majority of the time. Solitude is one of the negatives of truck driving. You will need to decide if you can handle this for days on end.
3. Can you handle the expenses of living on the road?
It is expensive to live on the road. You have limited shopping options when on the road. Truckstop food is very expensive. The cost of doing your laundry is also expensive. You will find out that many things are expensive on the road.
3. Are you able to make an adequate income in trucking?
This is a major consideration. New drivers typically work long hours for low pay. If you are looking at high salaries for truck drivers advertised in various publications these may not apply to new drivers. You will need to decide if the salary is worth the sacrifice of going over the road or if you would be better off working at a job close to your home.
4. Can you handle the stress of truck driving?
Truck driving is a very stressful career due to long hours driving and pressure to meet delivery schedules. Furthermore, drivers deal with delays due to road construction, accidents, etc.
5. Do you get along well with people?
You will need to interact with various people such as dispatchers, shippers, receivers, dock workers, etc. Some of these people may be disrespectful to you and actually treat you like you are a second class citizen.
6. Are you able to manage with a limited amount of sleep?
You may have very erratic schedules which means you will not have a set time to sleep each night. Additionally, You have to find a safe place to sleep. Currently there is a shortage of safe places for truck drivers to sleep each night. This puts many drivers at risk when forced to park in unsafe areas.
7. Can you handle paperwork requirements?
One of the responsibilities of truck drivers is keeping up with paperwork. This includes logbooks, bills of lading, receipts,etc.
8. Are you willing to work in a career which often leads to poor health?
Truck drivers have a higher rate of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea and other conditions than the general population. Consequently, they also have shorter life spans.
9. Can you handle different weather and road conditions each day?
On any given day you can go from sunny weather to rainy weather to snow and ice conditions. Can you prepare for all of these varying weather conditions? Furthermore, traffic and road conditions vary. Accidents can have you stuck on highways for hours.
This information is not to discourage you from becoming a longhaul driver but rather to enable you to make an informed decision. There are pros and cons to every career including trucking. Take your time to consider this information and other factors to determine if longhaul trucking would be a good career choice for you.