The Trucking Industry - Frequently Asked Questions
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Truck Driving General Questions
What is the demand like for truck drivers?
Demand for drivers is always high. Demand for quality drivers is even higher. If you can prove yourself as a high quality driver, you will never have an employment problem.
What is the turnover rate in trucking?
The turnover rate in trucking seems to hover around 100%. Most of the turnover can be attributed to drivers moving from company-to-company, and then flaming out when they realize that the company they drive for matters less than their attitude and ability to adjust to the lifestyle.
Will I lose my driving job to an automated or self-driven truck?
Not likely any time soon. While there have been successful tests on the highways, the minute details of driving in congestion and densely populated areas make it a logistical and legal nightmare for the time being.
Is driving truck a hard job?
Yes, probably harder than anything that most people have ever done. For most drivers, the physical aspect is not that grueling, but it takes a special type of person to adjust to the lifestyle as a whole. Between long hours behind the wheel of a dangerous machine, to sometimes erratic sleep patterns, and being away from home and friends and family, many people just aren't cut out for it, or can't adjust to it.
What makes truck driving different from other jobs?
Because trucking is not just a job, but a lifestyle. Most people are used to regular day jobs with set hours that get them home every night and most weekends. Over-the-road trucking, by it's erratic nature, is a 24/7 commitment that can keep you away from home and a "normal" life for, literally, months at a time.
What kinds of truck driving jobs are there?
Most new Class A CDL drivers will start as over-the-road (OTR) drivers. Regional , linehaul and dedicated routes will typically get drivers home every weekend, or possibly daily, where local routes will usually have drivers home every night. We highly recommended that new drivers get some experience OTR before tackling the more localized routes, which tend to involve more close-quarters or city driving and so better odds of an incident or accident.
Will I get lonely or homesick on the road?
Yes, you probably will. Everything about the lifestyle will probably be different than anything that you are used to, especially if you're leaving family behind. Today's audio and video technology, however, make it that much easier to stay in touch on a daily basis.
Is it even worth becoming a truck driver, anymore?
Each individual has different criteria on what makes it "worth it", or not. You won't get rich, but top-tier drivers can do very well financially. Some drivers get into truck driving for the pay, or for the travel, or for the challenge of something different. Whatever the reasons, it takes total commitment and the right attitude to be successful as a truck driver.
What is Qualcomm?
Qualcomm is the messaging system, (or, more accurately, the name of the company that makes it), that is tied into the trucks computer, allowing the company to truck and monitor where the driver is, as well as communicate with the driver. Most trucks are equipped with them, and it will be your main lifeline with the company.
What is GPS?
GPS (Global Positioning System) is a system of 24 or more satellites flying above the surface of the Earth. Each one circles the planet twice a day in one of six orbits to provide continuous, worldwide coverage, in order to tell you exactly where you are. By "where you are", it means as in a spot on a map.
Are there trucking-specific GPS units that I should use?
While most trucks will be equipped with a Qualcomm unit that includes GPS, many drivers prefer to purchase their own, higher-quality and more accurate GPS systems. Garmin and Rand McNally are the two best known brands with the best reputation.
Should I find a job driving a truck with a manual transmission, or automatic, or does it even matter?
It won't really matter. Most drivers will have trained and tested on a manual shift, and regardless of what you drive for your job, shifting manually is generally like riding a bike, where it should come back to you in short order should you switch between the two.