What Is It Really Like To Be A Semi Truck Driver?
Being a truck driver seems pretty easy. You pick up your load then drive it to where it needs to go and drop it off. Simple. Well, the reality is that it is more complex than that. There is far more that goes into it that many people don’t realize.
For instance, many drivers are private contractors that have to buy their rigs and then maintain it. Even pay for their own gas.
Besides just the expenses it can be a very difficult job that takes you away from your home for long stretches at a time. And, it is extremely tiring. At the same time, there are a lot of benefits. The pay is great and it is quite an adventure traveling to every corner of the country.
In this article, I will shed some light on what it is really like to be a truck driver these days. Maybe after reading you will want to become one yourself.
You are your own company
Most truck drivers are private contractors that get jobs by different distribution companies. Some companies have their own fleet, but most contract the work out to independents.
As an independent driver, you are your own company. Which means that your truck is your business. You buy it yourself and maintain it yourself. You’ll pay for your own gas and when it breaks down you pay for it to get fixed.
As such, you have to be very careful about your expenses so you can keep more of your money in your pocket. Shopping around for International Truck Parts is your best bet to save some money if you need repairs.
At the end of the year, you have to make sure that you have kept all of your receipts and have your books in order because you will pay taxes. Since you don’t get a paycheck, you have to pay an estimated tax every quarter or once per year depending on how you do it. Make sure that you set aside a portion of your income to pay these taxes when they are due.
It can be dangerous
Believe it or not, truck drivers come in spot number seven on the list of the 25 most dangerous jobs. That makes it even more dangerous than being a police officer. Truck accidents can happen frequently due to truck driver error or that of their fellow drivers on the road.
Truck drivers are now required to drive a maximum of 11 hours within 14 hours. Which helps keep them from driving while overtired, but that is still a lot of monotonous driving. Not to mention that many drivers attempt to manipulate their log books so it looks like they are driving less. The result is that they are very fatigued and prone to making mistakes that can be dangerous.
Then there is the increase in traffic on the roads combined with a lot of distracted driving. Truck drivers often see drivers texting while they drive, eating, reading a newspaper and doing other dangerous things. These people are not aware of what is going on around them and so can cause a lot of accidents. And since there are a lot of trucks on the road making them prime targets for an accident.
To make things safer for truck drivers and the other drivers on the road, the government has enacted a lot of regulations. For instance, many trucks have sensors on them so the government knows exactly where they are. If they are driving over their 11 hour limit then they face heavy fines. They also have sensors to track how long they idle and if they are speeding.
These measures obviously make a lot of sense. It keeps everybody honest and makes sure that everybody is safe on the road. However, it also makes it very difficult for a truck driver to do their job. And if they make a mistake which everybody does at one time or another, it can cost them their job.
There are some trucking jobs that have drivers able to sleep in their own bed every night. These jobs are not very well paid, however. The ones that pay well are the ones that nobody wants to do. Like long haul trucking that has you away from home for weeks at a time.
Though you will meet a lot of interesting characters on the road, you have a tough time making connections. And you’ll miss your family and friends back home that you only get to see occasionally.
It is an adventure
One thing that is for sure is that it is an adventure traveling all over the country. The things you will see in a year are more than most see in a lifetime. If you are not the office type then being your own boss and being on the move all the time is a very big draw for your type of personality.
When you have downtime you can find yourself in places like Las Vegas, the Rocky Mountains or New Orleans. Sports fans love being truck drivers because when you arrive in a city and unload your trailer you can take in a local MLB or Nascar event and then head back to your cab to sleep and not pay for a hotel.
When you get back home to your family and friends, you will have a lot of tales to tell.
It pays well
Many truck drivers are able to buy themselves their dream home in their ideal location in the country. And, often they retire early because they have made a boatload of money over the years.
Sure, the expenses are also high so you do have to be careful about how much you spend, but when you are a contractor, and show that you’re a good reliable driver then you will get the highest paying routes. It’s not unusual to have a year where you net $100,000.