Choosing A Truck Driving Job Part III: How Your Family and Lifestyle Will Affect Your Choice

by Brett Aquila

In part one of our series, Choosing A Truck Driving Job Part I: Factors That Effect All Companies, we talked about different factors and considerations which will affect your experience at any company you go to work for, including:

  • The Elusive "Best Trucking Companies" and the Mythical "Perfect Trucking Company"
  • Competition and Politics Within Each Trucking Company
  • Different Divisions Working Together, or at Times, Working Against Each Other
  • Competition Within The Company

In part two of our series, Choosing A Truck Driving Job Part II: You and "Your People" Are The Most Important Factor, we talked about surrounding yourself with the right people, understanding factors that affect the freight you'll be getting, and things you can do to put yourself in the best position to succeed, including:

  • Be very patient
  • Communicate well with your company
  • Prove yourself as a driver first, ask favors second
  • Learn to understand your company and the trucking industry in general
  • Surround yourself with the right people
  • Get to know the right people
  • and many more....

Now, in part III, let's begin talking about how you should choose a truck driving job based on your personality and preferred lifestyle.140.jpg

First let's start with your lifestyle. Are you married? Divorced? Do you have children? Do you love adventure? Would you like to travel extensively and see the country, or have you already had that chance and would prefer to stay near home?

Home time is one of the most important considerations you should make when choosing a truck driving job. There is one point I can not stress enough – if you have a family of your own, please, please, please don't take an over the road truck driving job where you are gone for weeks at a time. It's been done by thousands of truck drivers over the years, and is being done by thousands today, but the stress it puts on every member of the family is enormous and is simply not necessary. There are tons of opportunities in the trucking industry to make good money and be home at least every weekend, and sometimes even every night. Countless numbers of families have split up because of the time they spend apart. I certainly don't want to see that number grow.

Even for those who have a family, regional truck driving jobs can be stressful, but I think it can be done - at least for a while. But it will definitely test your relationship with your spouse, and with your children. Ideally you would like to be home with your family everyday, but often times your financial situation dictates that you get a really good paying job, which you may not be able to find with a local company. Be forewarned though, even a regional trucking job will be a HUGE test of your family's strength, not to mention the fact that you will miss out on so much of your family's lives. 128.jpg

What if you're married, or in a serious relationship, but you don't have any children? There are a lot of couples that travel together. In some cases, both are drivers and share the driving duties, and in other cases only one drives and the other helps out in other ways like with navigation, phone calls, paperwork, and a variety of other duties. But again, be forewarned - the inside of your truck is the size of a walk-in closet and you two will be together nearly non-stop 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I don't know if you've ever tried to share a tiny space with another person practically ever minute of every day but it is not easy. At best it will take a lot of getting used to, and at worst you will be at each other's throats at times. Some couples can handle it, many can not. Often times the only way to find out is to try it. But if you do decide to give it a shot please don't give up your home or apartment right away. Wait a few months. If you can handle it for maybe three months then you should be ok. Often, though, both parties are glad that they can travel together sometimes, and at other times one person can stay home to give themselves a break and to take care of other responsibilities. There really is no easy answer for this type of situation. It's a matter of trial and error.

Now when I started driving I was 21 years old, hadn't traveled too much, had never been married, and had no children. The idea of traveling all of the time and living in the truck sounded awesome, and it was! The better part of my first 9 years of driving was over the road. I would stay on the road for weeks and sometimes months at a time. I just totally loved it! It really suited my personality and lifestyle perfectly. I was able to give up my apartment, my vehicle, and just let the money pile up in the bank. I usually found myself driving a lot during the week and having a lot of free time on the weekends to entertain myself. I'd go to bars, sporting events, concerts, and do the "tourist thing" like in Las Vegas or New Orleans. It was spectacular! trucks.jpg

So your first consideration should be home time. But please be honest with yourself. Don't convince yourself to do something that deep down inside you probably have some serious doubts about. If you have a family, please try to find a job with as much home time as possible. If you absolutely NEED to make as much money as possible, at least for a little while, then try to formulate a solid plan that will get you out of your money crunch and into a position to take a job with more home time as soon as possible. I'm telling you, too much time away from home can ruin a family. Try to avoid it.

In the next part of this series, we will talk about the difference between working at one of the larger trucking companies, versus one of the smaller trucking companies. I've worked at companies with over 5000 trucks, I've worked at one with eleven trucks, and everything in between. There are some major, major differences between them and we'll cover them in detail next.We'd really appreciate it if you would leave a quick comment so we know how we're doing and we can provide you with better content in the future. Thanks so much!

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

by Brett Aquila

Related Articles:

Choosing A Truck Driving Job Part II: You And "Your People" Are The Most Important Factor

by Brett Aquila

A well-known blog on choosing the right truck driving job. Outlines which factors affect your happiness and success the most.

FMCSA SAFESTAT: The Grading System For Carriers And Their Employees

by Rhonda

it's far easier than you might imagine to get the safety records of trucking companies, and these records have a big effect on a company's drivers.

Recruiters, Companies, And Schools - Choosing The Right Path Into Your Trucking Career

by Ranting Warrior

Its funny how much getting started in trucking is so similar to getting started in the military. It takes much thought and soul searching for both.

The Long Road Back

by Low Plains Drifter

I was in real estate for many years, but at heart, I'm a truck driver. I helped many people into their own homes, but driving is what I truly enjoyed.

Made It Through Your First Year As A Driver? Great! Now What?

by Guyjax

What comes after the first year of truck driving? You have a lot of new options open, including leasing a truck or becoming an owner operator.

The Completion Of CDL Training (After A Lot Of Stress!)

by Philosopher Paul

I've completed my CDL training and I now have my CDL but there was plenty of stress and some rough teachers to deal with along the way - here's the story

Understanding Pre-Hire Letters: The What, Why, And How Of This Important Step

by Tanya Bons

Pre-hire letters are a very important step when beginning your truck driving career. We'll cover what they are, why they're important, and how to get em.

How To Cut Through The Negativity And Choose The Right Trucking Company To Start Your Career

by Brett Aquila

With all of the negativity surrounding the trucking industry, how do you choose the right company to work for and what do companies look for in a driver?

Solitude Becomes Every Truck Drivers Heaven Or Hell

by Brett Aquila

Isolation from loved ones may be the hardest part of trucking. Sadly, returning home may not end that isolation. It may just reveal the worst consequences.

The Biggest Mistake New Drivers Make When Speaking With Recruiters

by Brett Aquila

Recruiters in the trucking industry are a valuable resource, but drivers make one big mistake when speaking with recruiters. Here's what it is...

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More