There was a time in US history, and not even that long ago, when truck drivers were in the same category as cowboys. There was an air about them that had a little bit of mystery. After all, they did an unusual and thankless job that also allowed them to see the country and meet lots of people.
These days, truckers are not really thought about much anymore. Maybe it’s because country singers don’t really sing songs about truck drivers anymore. Or, maybe it’s just because they are taken for granted.
Whatever the reason, it is a bit sad. However, if you are thinking of becoming a truck driver you probably want to know if it is worth it and not if people will think you’re cool. Well, there are pros and cons to everything and only you can decide for yourself.
But, in this article, I will give you some food for thought about what it takes these days to be a trucker so you can decide if it’s right for you.
The trucks are much nicer now
Taking a look at the inventory at Beltway International, you’ll see that some of the trucks that truckers are driving are like mini houses on wheels. They are comfortable to drive and have incredibly cozy cabins where you can enjoy your downtime. Since you can only drive so many hours in one day, it is really nice to have a little apartment behind your driver’s seat.
You can outfit it with a small fridge and comfortable bed so you can truly rest and relax as if you were at home while you are on the road.
The cabs are also incredibly quiet to drive now as well. I had a friend who was a truck driver and he used to call me from the road to pass the time. I could hardly hear a word he said because of the noise from these trucks. As the years went on, I was able to hear him much better as he had upgraded his truck.
This is good to be able to handle those long drives but also to maintain your health. Those old cabs were bad on your back and could cause massive headaches. This also translates into more money as you are able to stay on the road longer and spend less time recuperating from the previous haul.
The pay is great
Americans love to shop so there is always going to be high demand for trucks to bring goods to the big stores all over the country. And lucky for potential truckers is the fact that trucks are the most efficient way to do this. There is no other way to supply the distribution centers all over the country.
Even new cars have to be shipped by trucks so there is hardly anything that money can buy that isn’t being sent out over the road.
The more people spend, the more goods are shipped. Which means the more that a truck driver can make. No matter how many people go to truck driving school there will always be a shortage of drivers. There is no truck driver out there that has seen his earnings per mile decrease over the years. It has only increased.
Technology makes it easier than ever
We touched on how the trucks are better now, but that is only half of the story. Besides being more comfortable, they are outfitted with better technology. Safety is much better thanks to the higher degree of engineering and the onboard computers. Navigation equipment is much better so you can shave off a lot of time getting to where you need to go.
Regional trips are more common
Ask any trucker that’s been at it a while what one of the best things about driving a truck these days is and they’ll mainly say one thing. That they spend more time sleeping in their own bed than ever before.
Supply chains have gotten way more efficient due to the increase in technology so regional driving is more likely than those long haul cross country trips that used to keep people out for weeks at a time.
Most guys are able to be home on the weekends and sometimes even more frequently than that.
Lots of limitations
Though it’s easy to get a job as a truck driver, it is also easy to get fired. There are strict limits on how many miles can be driven in a day. And GPS installed on your truck will alert the authorities to your driving time. Break it and you will pay the price. Speed a bit faster to get there on time and you will pay the price. If you idle too long while sitting then get ready to get fined.
These things all make it much more rigid than it used to be.
The traffic is awful
No matter what part of the country, or what time of day it is, you are going to be in traffic. It seems to be a nationwide problem right now that there are a lot more cars on the road. This slows you down and since you can’t drive longer to make up for it, you end up losing miles. And it is really stressful to be in traffic all day.
To make matters worse there are so many people that are texting while driving. It is far more hazardous to drive between the traffic and distracted drivers than ever before.
Depending on how you weigh the pros and cons, this list could help you decide that being a trucker sounds pretty good and you want to take the plunge. Or, you could say that you’d rather have a job that isn’t so intense.
It all boils down to personality. And how you want to live your life. It can be quite the adventure to drive a truck and the money is a bonus if you enjoy spending time on the road.