This is something you must decide for yourself as a driver. Test the market. There will be a number of companies in your area that offer the chance to be home each weekend. Sometimes you will have to make a trade-off between higher pay with an older truck or a little less pay with top notch equipment. You should not have to compromise on safety or reliability though.
Ask thoroughly about their maintenance program. Look at the trucks they have parked in the yard. If you see things like loose mirrors, cracked windshields, missing mud flaps, etc then obviously they aren't spending the time and money on maintenance that they should. I'll talk more about this later.
As far as job duties go, there are a few more options when it comes to regional. In some cases, you'll be asked to drive the truck and nothing else. You will simply get paid by the mile like over the road drivers do. Keep in mind that sometimes the miles you get each week can vary tremendously from week to week or from one company to another. Ask about their average weekly mileage per driver. Other jobs will involve a significant amount of unloading.
In fact, you may make the bulk of your money unloading as opposed to just driving. If you are asked to unload trucks, you should be able to make quite a bit more money per week than if you were just driving. This seems obvious, but with some companies it certainly is not the case. Do your homework.
I drove regional for several years. I actually made just as much money as I used to as an over the road driver, and when I took a regional job that involved a significant amount of unloading I made $15,000 per year more than with any over the road job I had ever had.
Regional is also an interesting mix of traveling and home time. You get the fun of living on the road and seeing the sites all week long, but then you get to enjoy your home time each weekend. You will be able to maintain a relationship, a home, a vehicle, and a social life while still making very good money. You wont be traveling as far from home as you would be while driving over the road.
Generally you'll cover an area within a radius of about 1000 miles from your home. Over the road you may have the opportunity to drive coast to coast. But even an area that large provides an interesting variety of places to go to which keeps it fun. I personally loved over the road when I was younger, but once I decided I wanted a home life regional was the perfect solution. Again, it just depends on what suits you the best.
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