The Realities Of A Trucker's Life
Arranging to ride with an experienced trucker is one of the best ways to determine if it will be the life for you. Although the internet now provides web videos, audios, and blogs from truckers that will answer many questions, there's nothing quite like experiencing it yourself first-hand to really get a feeling for what a life on the road will be like. This can often be arranged through individual companies or many driving schools as they understand this need.
Some company trucks have regulators on them. This means despite how hard a driver pushes on the accelerator, the truck will not exceed a predetermined speed, often 62 or 65. This is not because of fear you might get pulled over by the police, although this happens and costs both the driver and company they work for points. Rather, it is for safety reasons.
A life as a trucker is never boring, but can be challenging, frustrating, and rewarding at the same time. The hours are long, usually beginning between 5 and 7 in the morning and lasting many hours each day. There are specific regulations now about how long a driver can be behind the wheel and when breaks are mandated, but it doesn't take long to set a workable schedule that ensures you are alert while on the road yet also have plenty of leisure time.
Along the way there are pre-trip inspections of the truck and trailer, loading and unloading, route planning, paperwork such as maintaining the log book, weigh stations, and much more. Traditionally, trips are between 500 and 2500 miles each and are completed during the 11 to 14 hours driving time allowed per day. One of the most important aspects route planning since, especially in the Midwest, the bathrooms, dining facilities, and fueling stations are few and far between.
Different truckers have favorite routes and it's not long before you can determine which suits you the best. Some prefer the western states because of the beautiful scenery, reduced traffic (except in city centers), higher speed limits, fabulous food, and expanded maneuvering room within urban areas. On the other hand, those that prefer eastern states find the friendly people, challenging terrain and weather conditions, and classic cuisine more to their liking.
Many people believe that driving a big rig is nothing more than holding a steering wheel for extended periods of time. In fact, truckers never know what's ahead on the highway, but with each new thing they see and do they fall more in love with the job. Just as with any job there are downsides, but for many truckers the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.