The Truth About Trucking: Driven Too Far
October 20, 2022

Here’s the truth about trucking! This Driven Too Far article will discuss the following:

  • Hours on The Road
  • Living a Healthy Lifestyle as a Trucker
  • Dealing With Loneliness on The Road
  • Finding Communities
  • Keeping In Touch
  • Truck Driver Families
  • Communication
  • Location

Now, let’s dive in so you can learn the Truth About Trucking!

Truck drivers. They are the lifeblood of America, driving across the country to make sure businesses have all of the supplies that they need.

Trucks are the reason your favorite restaurant has its meat, the reason your gas stations have gas, the reason your construction projects have lumber and steel, and the reason your local hospitals have enough supplies.

The United States has about 3.5 million truck drivers making these deliveries across the country. Most people may not give a second thought to seeing these trucks on the road.

In reality, these people do not know the truth about trucking. They do not know about the blood, sweat, and tears that long-haul truckers put in to do their job and try to live a normal life.

If you are someone that is considering getting into the trucking industry, maybe you are concerned that you would have to give up on having any kind of personal life. Maybe you think that you would have to give up on having any location stability or even starting a family.

We are here to tell you that it does not have to be the case. However rewarding it is, it can be challenging at times.

Read on to find out the challenges you may face as a professional trucker.

Hours on the Road

When you are first entering the industry, something that you may underestimate is how many hours you are going to be on the road. This may end up being more than you anticipated.

On average, truck drivers can drive up to 11 hours per day on the road. This can result in having over 70 hours on the road every week.

Admittedly, there are measures put in place to prevent exhaustion such as typically having a mandatory 10-hour resting period. However, if you have ever driven anywhere long distance, you know that driving for several consecutive hours can take a toll on you.

Now, imagine feeling that toll while driving a big and heavy truck. This can get overwhelming and even mentally exhausting for people that are not prepared for it.

Life on the road can add up considering the number of hours that you have to drive. Be sure that you can handle that kind of driving before you sign up.

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

a dog sitting in the cab of a flatbed truck

If you live most of your life on the road, you are likely not going to have full access to a kitchen. This can result in people either getting a lot of their meals at fast food restaurants or convenience stores.

In terms of health, neither option is ideal regularly. Losing access to a kitchen means that you are more limited on what meals you can prepare for yourself.

Another challenging aspect here is that you may be too physically exhausted from your days on the road to put much thought into preparing your meal. However, there are ways around this.

The best way around this is to use your sleeper berth to your advantage. This is the place where truck drivers can eat and sleep after a long shift on the road.

Some truck drivers have a refrigerator and/or a microwave in this berth. This can increase your options for simple meals that you can prepare yourself.

That is not only good for having more options, but it can also save you money. So, you are now open to buying food like bologna, ham, and salami that can be refrigerated. Then, you can buy some bread and make yourself a few sandwiches rather than eating at a McDonald’s at a rest stop.

You can also keep food that does not need to be put away such as cereal and crackers. These can make for a great breakfast or a late-night snack. Take care of yourself on the road and think about what you are eating.

Life as a truck driver can be an adventure. You get to see new places across the country and travel down the open road. As you drive you will meet other drivers and, likely, their co-pilot dogs. Finding a dog-friendly company to drive with can be important to living a healthy lifestyle while on the road.

Research shows around 40 percent of truck drivers take pets with them on the road.

40% of Truck Drivers in America travel with pets!

If you have a four-legged friend at home, you may be able to make them your co-captain. Companies like Chief Carriers understands the health benefits of traveling with a dog.

The truth about trucking is that drivers can get lonely while on the road and traveling with your dog or a co-pilot may be beneficial to you as a professional truck driver.

Dealing With Loneliness

firefighters and police officers

One aspect of truck driving that you need to prepare for is possible feelings of loneliness. Think about it.

You are the only person in your truck and you are driving up to 11 hours per day on the road. When it comes to some drivers, they do not have a permanent home to go back to.

In these conditions, it is possible to start to feel isolated from the rest of the world. When that happens, people can feel lonely, and that can have a bad effect on their health.

When people feel lonely, they are more likely to feel anxious, depressed, and even suicidal. As far as other physical conditions go, lonely people are 29% more likely to get heart disease and 32% more likely to have a stroke.

You need to be aware of these risks when you sign up for this job because you are going to experience a lot of isolation from people. Luckily, there are ways to tackle this feeling.

Find Communities

The first thing that you should try to do is find a community of truck drivers that you can reach out to. This is great for getting more information and tips about life on the road, sharing stories with fellow truck drivers, and even just talking to people that understand the things that you go through on the road.

Some of these problems can be difficult to talk about with someone that works a typical 9-5 job. They may try to be supportive but it is not their fault that they simply cannot relate to the things that you are going through.

That is why finding a community of truck drivers can be extremely beneficial for someone new to driving on the road. Hopefully, our podcast can be one source that gets truck drivers together and starts talking to each other.

Other than that, there are forums, Facebook groups, and even radio channels that can help you get in touch with other drivers.

Podcasts

What do truck drivers listen to on the road? There are more options than ever, including satellite radio, audiobooks, and of course AM/FM radio, but one genre growing in popularity among truck drivers is podcasts.

There are countless benefits for truckers to listen to podcasts while on the road. Whether you’re looking for something to keep you entertained, or want to learn more about the industry, there’s a podcast out there for you.

Podcasts can be a great way to pass the time while driving, and many truckers find them to be more interesting and engaging than traditional radio. They can also be a great source of information and education on a variety of topics, including the trucking industry, current events, and even personal development.

Perhaps the most valuable benefit of podcasts for truckers, though, is a tight-knit feeling of community. In a line of work that can be isolating, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one out there on the open road. Listening to podcasts featuring other truckers can help you feel connected to a larger group of people who understand your unique experience.

Podcasts can be downloaded before hitting the road, and listening is becoming one of the go-to hobbies for truck drivers.

Because there are so many truckers out there, plenty of great podcasts cater to the profession. Listening to these podcasts can be a great way to pass the time while staying up to date on trucking news and hearing the stories of others in the industry.

Chief Carriers is hosting a new podcast called Driven Too Far: The Truth About Trucking.

Here is what this unique trucking podcast is all about!

Is it possible for a long-haul driver to have both a career and the family they love? Yes, and this podcast is where you’ll get directions to a destination not found on any map. Andrew Winkler is the only executive in the trucking industry willing to get in the cab and listen to you. He started out in the driver’s seat like you loving life on the road, missing a wife at home, and yelling at dispatch over the phone. He knows how it feels to be driven too far, which is why he’s giving you the truth about trucking so you can have both your family and your career.

The Driven Too Far podcast can be found on your favorite listening platform in the coming weeks. Until then, we’ve developed this guide to the best trucking podcasts to listen to! Be sure to check it out!

https://chiefcarriers.wpengine.com/trucking-podcasts/

The truth about trucking is that professional drivers need to stay in touch with friends and family members. Keep reading!

Keeping in Touch

This may not be an option for everybody, but it can be a great one for people that are leaving behind good relationships with family and close friends for a life on the road. You may start to feel lonely and forget about the people that used to be in your life daily.

Do yourself a favor and remember the people back home that still care about you. In your situation, you may have to be the person that reaches out more often to them.

That is ok because by doing this, you are showing the other person that you are thinking about them. You are also helping yourself by decreasing feelings of loneliness and reminding yourself that you have people to go back to when your route is finished.

In the modern era, there are luckily more ways than ever to keep in touch with people back home. You can simply send them a text or give them a phone call. Or, if you so desire, you can call them on a video chat.

No matter what you decide to do, try to have regular contact with the people that you care about most.

Truck Driver Families

Liz Alvarez, a professional truck driver, with her children. 

Believe it or not, it is possible to have a family while you are on the road. This is not always easy to accomplish considering how much time is spent on the road.

If possible, you should try to do this before you start a career in trucking. That can give you established ground and you have a better chance of screening out somebody that is by your side.

There are not a lot of truck drivers that do this for a long time. About 40% of all truck drivers do this for less than a year. You can assume that those people figure out quickly that life is not for them.

Only about 23% of truck drivers do this for more than five years.

What about the age of the truck drivers? Well, this is typically not a young man’s game.

About 75% of all truck drivers are over 40 years old. Only 8% of drivers are under 30 years old.

What does this mean? It means that the majority of truck drivers, they are not likely to be in their bachelor years by the time they decide to take this job on. Most do this temporarily, so this is a way that you can potentially sell it to your wife and any children that you have.

You need to figure out how long you are going to be in this. Once you are willing to commit, you need to remember a few things to keep in touch with your family.

The truth about trucking is that it requires great communication.

Communication

As mentioned above, it is important to keep in touch with your loved ones back home. For truck drivers with families, this means keeping active contact with them.

If you are driving in the continental United States, you are unlikely to be more than three hours earlier or later than where your family is living. This can make it easy to arrange a phone call.

Let’s say you have young children back home. One thing that you can do is give them a call every night when you are finished driving. Perhaps you can read them a story via video chat but more importantly, you can be there to wish them a good night.

Then, you can talk about your life every day and try to vent to each other about your problems. Communicate to your family what you want to do hear and when you can do it.

The Truth About Trucking is that location matters, right?

Location

The next thing drivers with families need to be concerned about is location. That is because while drivers can live anywhere for a temporary period, families are going to need a more stable environment.

You and your wife will have to discuss where you want to live and where you will base from. There are a few factors that come into play that you will have to consider.

The first is where your trucking company is based. That will be important considering this is where you may have to return the truck once your shifts are done. Are you willing to fly home from that base?

Another thing is if your wife works as well. If so, she could have a job that forces her to be in a certain location. In that situation, the family is going to have to stay in that location.

The third thing you can consider if you have more flexible options is where is it financially best to live. If you are just getting into the trucking industry and your wife does not have a job that forces her to be in one location, you could use this as an opportunity to move to a cheaper area.

Let’s say that you are living in the Los Angeles area. You take a job as a long-haul trucker that has you on the road for the most part.

However, your salary may feel like it does not get far enough in Los Angeles. If your wife does not have to work there and you have no real ties, move them to somewhere like Tennessee where the cost of living is significantly less.

Learn the Truth About Trucking

These are just a few things that you need to be aware of when it comes to trucking. The truth about trucking is that you need to plan your life on the road if you have a family. Also, you have to fight feelings of loneliness, prepare for extremely long hours, and make a more active effort to eat healthily.

Are you still interested in a career as a truck driver? If so, apply with us today. And be on the lookout about our upcoming podcast Driven Too Far!