If one of your main goals in life is to travel cross-country, becoming a truck driver practically guarantees that all of your sightseeing dreams come true. You are paid while getting to see some of American's greatest sights and landmarks — it seems almost too good to be true. Although truck driving has its obvious perks, the sporadic schedule, extra-long hours, and cramped quarters are not all they are cracked up to be. With over 3.5 million people in the U.S. employed as truck drivers, this business is definitely booming. One out of every 15 employed citizens in America work in the trucking field, but before you sign up to get your CDL you should consider some of the downsides of the open road.
Sitting in a cubicle during your 9-5 is enough to make anyone's muscles a little tense and sore. Slouching in a desk chair for eight hours a day can lead to long-term illnesses such as arthritis, and staying stationary all day could even lead to a shorter life overall. A health survey conducted by the CDC revealed that truck drivers are more likely to suffer from obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease — making it possibly a dangerous profession for those in it for the long-haul. Despite the health risks, the trucker industry shows no signs of stopping. The daily life of a truck driver is no joke, and you have to have what it takes to drive the big rigs.
Spending the majority of your time on the road can definitely take a toll on your mental health. Being away from home for days and weeks on end can really get lonely, and truck drivers are especially susceptible to mental health problems. Truck drivers are more likely to suffer from stress and lack of a social support system. It doesn't help that a trucker's schedule can be extremely demanding, leaving little room for a normal sleep schedule.
Some truck drivers hit the road long before the sun is up, while others drive all night without blinking an eye. It comes down to preference and possibly adhering to a loading and unloading freight schedule. Thankfully, the way truck drivers are paid, it all comes down to how you travel before pay day.
Although some truck drivers do get paid by an hourly rate, the majority of truckers get paid by the mile. The average trucking company across the country pays between 28 and 40 cents for every mile, which can certainly add up when you are crossing state lines all day long. You can cash in even more if you drive a more dangerous rig.
Ever wondered how tired a big-rig driver must be, driving through stretches of highway at 3 am? Many truckers are expected to work a total of 70 hours over eight days. Fitting in time to sleep can be tricky — but don't forget to load up on tons of caffeine! If this doesn't stress you out enough, you may not know your salary until after an entire year!
Your Salary May Be A Mystery Until December Rolls Around
The life of a truck driver can be unpredictable at best, and this includes your yearly salary. Truckers are paid per mile, so it's pretty impossible to determine how far you will travel in a given year. Most truckers make an average of $35,000 in their first year, but you won't know until 365 days have passed!
Many truck drivers are required to help load and unload freight when they get to a destination. This process can take between two and three hours, and it definitely requires some serious muscle power. One type of driver isn't required to participate in live loading, but they still have to worry about other rules of the road!
Truckers are usually required to cover around 125,000 miles a year. This is no small feat and is enough open road to make anyone's head spin. Driving almost 3,000 miles per week would mean getting an oil change practically four times per month in a regular car. Yikes.
This Equates To A Daily Spring Break Trip To Miami Beach
Truckers are estimated to drive 500 miles every day, which is around the distance from Savannah, Georgia to Miami, Florida. This equals around an eight or nine-hour drive, which is way more tiring than it sounds. At lease truck drivers gets to sleep in their cab instead of grabbing a hotel room, but things can get super cramped.
Spending your day in a tiny 8' by 8' space can get sort of claustrophobic. Luckily, some truckers get innovative when it comes to their sleeping arrangements. The interior of this truck cab looks like a luxurious suite — life on the road is really what you make of it!
With a sporadic schedule and being away from home for weeks at a time, truckers can really get the short end of the stick. It takes an emotionally-strong, sometimes sleep-deprived person to do this job. It's not for everyone, but some wouldn't trade it for anything.
Seeing the country and driving for miles with only yourself as company are just some of the perks of being a trucker. Although it sounds like a sweet deal, you have to consider the emotional, mental, and physical effects this occupation has on even the strongest of drivers. It's not for the faint of heart — or those who can't stray far from home!