They carry everything from consumer products to fuel from coast to coast – but what is a day in the life of a truck driver really like?
The unspoken heroes of America’s supply chain are a common sight on our roads, 18-wheelers steadily making progress along the slow lane. Transporting their loads, drivers often clock upwards of 8 hours of solitary driving time per day, eyes fixed to the road, often away from their families for long periods – certainly not for the faint-hearted.
And as America faces an increasingly severe shortage of drivers, recognition of the importance of this role is crucial to recruiting the next generation of truckers.
This article is for you if you’ve thought about taking to the open road as a freight driver. We’ll explore what a day in the life of a truck driver looks like, the pros and cons of jumping into this career, and ultimately ask you the question: are you up to the challenge?
A day in the life of a truck driver
Like any career, every experience will vary.
However, certain aspects of a truck driver’s day will remain consistent despite employment setup, shift schedule, or location.
Let’s explore what a typical day in the life of a truck driver could look like!
Before your shift
Most runs start early, and drivers need to be awake and alert before setting off between 3-5am.
This can be a great time to take a quick shower and grab your morning caffeine hit to go before checking your vehicle is in perfect shape.
Whether you’ve come from home or spent the last night in your cab or at a truck stop motel, you might be on-site or need to travel to collect your truck and its load.
Before setting off, a quick weather and route check will ensure you’re prepared for the drive ahead. Then it’s time to hit the road.
On the road
Once out on the road, truckers are often kept to a strict schedule. Federal regulations on drive time, incidents on the road, and traffic and weather conditions all affect the time it takes to get from A to B. Drivers may need to make quick decisions to adjust and keep the delivery to schedule.
Throughout your shift, you’ll make pit stops for food, coffee, and comfort breaks – and many long-haul drivers have facilities on board to make their time in their vehicles more comfortable. Regardless, it’s likely a good idea to keep your cab stocked with water and snacks for the road, as pay is often based on drive time – not total time spent until the load is delivered.
After your shift
After your shift is complete, you may or may not have made it to the load’s final destination. This could mean spending the night at a roadside motel or truck stop, in your cab, or back home – routes vary, and so do many truckers’ routines.
Once your load is delivered, you’ll be able to head back home to enjoy time with friends and family. Then it’s time to accept a new load and hit the open road again.
Pros and cons of working as a truck driver
Not sure whether a career as a truck driver would suit you? The following pros and cons provide some extra information on what you can expect from a career as a truck driver on America’s highways.
Pros of working as a truck driver
Some of the benefits of working as a truck driver include:
- The opportunity to travel and see new locations – adventure awaits!
- Working independently: drivers can select their loads and work
- The salary: truck driving offers one of the highest salaries for non-college-educated workers in America, at around $40,000 for entry-level drivers without their own truck
- Job security: the American logistics industry has an ongoing need for truckers, meaning you’re unlikely to be short of work
Cons of working as a truck driver
While working as a truck driver has many positives, there can be some drawbacks. It’s worth considering how important these aspects of the work are to you – what’s a downside for some may be a bonus to others!
Working as a truck driver can involve:
- Time away from friends, family, and local communities
- Working solo and concentrating for long periods
- Working (and sometimes sleeping) in an enclosed space
- Long shifts (federal regulations prohibit a driver from spending more than 11 of every 14 hours driving)
Ready to hit the open road?
If the open road is calling, then Jansson is ready to welcome you into our experienced network of drivers.
Competitive benefits, the freedom to independently complete the loads you choose, and the support of an experienced and dedicated logistics team are just a few of the benefits of driving with Jansson, an independent agent of the Fortune 500 company Landstar.
We welcome drivers from all walks of life with driving experience and a valid commercial driver’s license. With plenty of load types to choose from, we can help match your vehicle to the most appropriate runs – it’s over to you! As an independent business owner, you’ll be free to carry out your work your way. Simply complete your load and let us know when you’re ready for the next one – it’s that easy.
To find out more about how you can kickstart your truck driver career with Jansson or explore the range of other logistics careers we can offer, reach out to a team member at Jansson today!