Over-the-road (OTR) truckers deliver freight across the nation. These drivers have the opportunity to see the country from behind the wheel of their semi-trucks and provide an essential contribution that keeps our economy moving forward. The life of a truck driver is very different from someone working a typical 9-to-5 office job, and it’s as much a lifestyle as it is a career. If you’re interested in becoming a trucker, it’s helpful to understand what day-to-day life on the road looks like.
Starting The Day
Exactly when a trucker wakes up to start the day depends on many factors. Some types of freight require more frequent night driving. Team drivers also typically have one individual driving at night while another drives during the day. Many solo OTR drivers are able to choose their own schedule and can choose to wake up and get going whenever they prefer. In general, waking up earlier helps drivers beat traffic and find parking, but this isn’t necessarily the case for every driver.
No matter what time a driver starts their day, they’ll need to perform a pre-trip inspection of their vehicle to ensure it is safe to operate. They may have additional tasks to complete in the morning and outside of any specific requirements for their freight, they can tailor their morning routine to their preferences.
Driving And Breaks
Truck drivers spend the bulk of their time behind the wheel, and most of this is on highways. Drivers have to be able to stay focused and drive safely in a variety of conditions. Each day is a bit different for long-haul truckers depending on the route they are driving that day, the time of year, weather conditions, and other factors.
The trucking industry has safety requirements drivers must follow, including limits on how long they can drive before taking a break. This includes a 30-minute break during the driving window, as well as a long break once the limit for daily driving time is reached. Beyond these required breaks and necessary fuel stops, individual truckers can determine how often they’d like to stop and where in order to meet their delivery deadline and maximize their mileage.
Pick-Ups And Deliveries
Not every day on the road involves a pick-up or delivery, but when this does occur, a driver will need to follow directions for that particular customer. Some loads are drop-and-hook, meaning the driver simply drops off a loaded trailer and picks up a new one. Live loads, on the other hand, require a driver to wait while loading dock staff unload the trailer.
Ending The Day
By the end of the day, an OTR trucker is in a new location entirely from where they started. Once they’re ready to shut down for the day, they’ll need to find a place to park. Truck stops are the most popular, and typically the safest, destinations for this. They also have amenities truckers can take advantage of like showers, lounges, and even gyms in some locations. Many truck stops also have restaurants, although bringing pre-prepared food on the road is often a healthier option.
Getting high-quality sleep as a trucker can sometimes be challenging, but drivers have many methods to make this easier. They may customize their sleeper berth, use methods to block out light and sound, or add comforts from home. Having a regular routine also helps.
Interested In A Trucking Career?
If you’re interested in becoming a truck driver, Yuma Truck Driving School can help you get started in as little as four weeks. We also offer job placement assistance so you can start earning as soon as possible.
To learn more about our CDL training in Yuma, contact us today.