Being a professional truck drivers, as is the case with every other job out there, has its pros and cons. There are moments when the scenery is just breathtaking and it leaves you in awe, and then there are times when you’re surrounded by other vehicles on the highway and you’re stuck in traffic.
Life is full of challenges, and that’s what makes it interesting, but it’s nice to know at least some of the challenges you might come across as a professional truck driver.
Spending a Long Time Away from Home
Truck drivers are the connective tissue that holds the whole country together, transporting everything from medicine and food to clothes and various materials, and doing so from one coast to the other. Oftentimes that means that they have to spend a long time away from home. Depending on the load and distance, truckers can spend on average around 2 to 3 weeks away from home. This is definitely a serious challenge to overcome, especially if you have a family and kids. However, it’s possible to work around this challenge.
With smartphones, tablets, and apps that allow online video and audio communication, it’s much easier to stay in touch with your family now than it was 20 years ago. Talking with your spouse or parents is just a few clicks away nowadays, so it all comes down to organization – both you and your family need to make a conscious choice to find time for each other.
Sitting All Day
One of the biggest challenges humans have to face at work is sitting for extended periods of time. We simply weren’t built for it. Our mind evolved very quickly, and our body just didn’t have the chance to catch up. Truck drivers, unlike people who work in offices, are working in a risky environment, which actually has physical consequences – such as muscle tension and backaches – that only become worse under pressure. Sitting not only becomes uncomfortable pretty fast, but it can also be the cause of several health issues. This is something every truck driver has to be aware of and should address it.
One way you could make yourself more comfortable is by investing in some extra gear, such as a quality cushion. However, nothing can beat a few minutes of exercise. There is no need for a full workout every time you stop for a break; light stretching will make a world of difference.
Although truck drivers are an essential player in our economy, the infrastructure needed still hasn’t met all of their needs. Namely, finding suitable parking is something drivers have to deal with practically every day. It requires planning and research, so that you aren’t forced to spend more money on gas than you already are just to find a suitable parking space. You can work with your dispatch to try and map out every truck stop and parking before you leave on your trip. Another option is using apps on your phone that shows every truck parking available on your route.
Poor Truck Maintenance
Trucks are expensive vehicles to buy and maintain, so sometimes drivers have to deal with old or broken equipment. That’s not only annoying, but it can be dangerous as well. Fines can be really high, and the risks are serious. Remember, when you’re on the road you are surrounded by drivers who have probably never driven a truck and aren’t aware of the magnitude of the consequences if something goes wrong. You can very easily hurt yourself and the people around you if you’re working with malfunctioning equipment. That’s why we at Rakmark take truck maintenance seriously, and we make sure our drivers are safe and calm during drives.
Long Working Hours
There is a misconception about truck drivers that because they just sit at work, they must not get tired. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Truck drivers can work up to 14 hours a day, thinking about everything from the deadline and cargo to other drivers on the road and weather conditions. Getting a good night’s rest isn’t the easiest thing in the world when you’re a trucker, considering that not every hotel, b&b, etc. can accommodate a huge, 18-wheeler truck. The Department of Transportation has strict Hours of Service rules and regulations, and they need to be followed and respected in order for a driver to stay safe on the road.
Loading and Unloading
Technically, truck drivers are only drivers, but in real life, you can expect to be asked to help with loading and unloading cargo. Usually, you’ll know whether you need to help out before you reach your destination, but every now and then you’ll find out that you have to help lug around cargo once you arrive at the final destination.
After making it to your destination, you’ll need to wait for the receiver to handle all the paperwork. This can take anywhere between 10 minutes and a few hours, depending on how much cargo there is and how many people are unloading. There’s nothing much you can do during this time, especially because you are on duty, but you can use that time to relax, eat, or talk to your family and friends.