They are not indeed the most glamorous jobs going around, but commercial truck drivers and a semi-truck driver operate large vehicles. These include tractor-trailers, hauling them over various distances, sometimes across the country. Some work within a defined local area making deliveries and there are those who take trips lasting many days. They can also carry non-traditional cargo such as hazardous waste.
Commercial truck drivers need no formal education. Because the job entails the responsibility of safe carriage of the cargo and promptness of delivery, some specialized training is imparted to ensure that the running of the vehicle is safe and secure.
The Semi Truck Drivers Way Of Life
Semi-truck driving is one select option that most certainly has to be discussed with family first before choosing the occupation. Your family will need to go it alone in your absence, kids, schooling, medical emergencies, etc., that’s a lot of coping and adapting to lifestyle changes.
In many ways, the job is more a lifestyle than an occupation for an over-the-road (OTR) driver, also known as long haul drivers. It can take you some 300 days away from home, say three weeks at a stretch, leaving precious little time with family and relations with those around you will be impacted. To get to a regional driving position, it would take a couple of years at least. But the benefit is you get to be home every week.
But if you are one of those who are drawn to flexibility, solitude and likes a routine different from the rest of the population, then you have hit gold. So as o help your family discussion and also to get a good grasp on what to expect, read below:
Some Food For Thought
- The day begins pretty early. Many a semi-truck driver pulls out at first light and like daytime passage. Others prefer Driving through the night; on the other hand, many prefer it this way. OTR drivers don’t have fixed starting times unless called in by dispatch.
- Over eight days, you might put in 70 hours. After working a full 70 hours, you have to take an enforced 34-hour break. Driving 11 hours at one go is the maximum. You must make a break of 10 hours in such cases.
- Payment is by the hour, but some operators prefer to pay by the mile. You don’t get paid if you are not delivering anything.
- Some contractors pay by the “practical mile,” which is every mile driven while on the job. On the other hand, ‘paid’ miles is like sticking a pin on point A and another on point B or as the crow flies. That roads have bends and curves are not taken into account.
- Becoming a trainer, hauling oversize, or hazardous cargo can boost your salary. You may be paid a percentage of each load you run sometimes.
- What your payment is something you will not know, but it is something like $35000 for the first year and $45000-55000 after that.
- 125000 miles is approximately what most drivers are cover a year, which is 2500 a week or about 500 miles a day. Think about that.
Among the perks of a semi-truck driver comes first a panoramic view of the country. Never the less, most trucks these days are very modern, comfortable, and ergonomically designed seats so that you stay alert and focused. OTR drivers share a unique camaraderie with their peers. They are held in high esteem by the public, nothing like Mad Max Fury I can assure you. Just remember that even if you are young, single and keen to be free, spending a good day for a driver is behind the wheel.
So does this occupation appeal to you?