There are as many reasons for becoming a truck driver as there are drivers. It's financial, or it's personal, or it's whimsical and nostalgic, or it's desperation or any and all of those things. The most important thing, regardless of reason, is understanding just what it is that you're getting in to.
Drivers get into trucking from every walk of life imaginable, from fresh-out-of-high-school kids, to older retirees entering their 2nd or 3rd or 4th career. The barrier to entry for truck driving is the same for everyone, no matter the age or former careers or educational backgrounds.
As the average age of truck drivers in the U.S. is almost 50 years old, many drivers have started their careers after moving on from old ones and come from every type of background imaginable.
Many of the old stereotypes of truck drivers also persist, and unfortunately some of that holds true for the attitude, appearance, and actions of many current drivers.
Article - A Look In The Mirror
If each truck driver would be a true professional...dress well, work with pride, talk kindly...the American public would respect us once again. We deserve a tremendous amount of respect after all.
Article - Stereotypes and Trucking
In part as well, the industry itself has perpetuated the stereotype of truckers because most companies simply fail at enforcing any Human Resource standard. The fear is the “driver shortage”.
Article - What Makes a Truck Driver: Dealing With The Stereotype
Everyone has their own version of what a truck driver looks and acts like (and sometimes what they might smell like). I'm even guilty of having an image of what a truck driver is. Once I became a driver, that all changed.
Forum - What did you do before becoming a truck driver?
I had taught middle school math and science for eleven years. Finally I had "had it" with both student attitude and administration pressure to get my students to pass the annual testing. Also, rookie truck drivers earn just about as much as rookie teachers do!
Forum - Ouch! I just got put down hard
As always, the conversation started with him saying "are you even old enough to drive a truck boy? You're one of those new 21 year old drivers that shouldn't even be on the road now aren't ya?" (If I had a nickel for every time I've got asked that I would be rich) I told him I was actually almost 24 and I have been driving for just about 3 years now.
Forum - What Kind Of Truck Driver Are You?
Not a guy who wears fancy cloths or fancy hats. Not a guy who drives drunk or takes pills. Not a guy who cares nothing about the other driver on the road or the driver who tells automobile drivers they are #1. And not some guy who is just in a truck making a paycheck, because, I can get by with shifting gears and turning a steering wheel.
It's not uncommon for people to change careers several times during their lives, as the era of retiring from your first job after high school is long past. Many people who have retired from their careers in their 50's and 60's have entered trucking as a second career, a supplement to their income, or as a way to travel the country while still earning.
Article - Why I'm Finally Becoming A Truck Driver
My plan is to bring you from day 1 (researching the industry), through all of the training, and into my first months on the job, and beyond. This blog is going to be like my journal that all of you can read to see exactly what I'm going through, right from day one.
Forum - Career change at 50 to truck driver
So here I am... 50 years old, and in a career I love. I'm a luthier. I have built electric guitars professionally since 2006. But, 2 main problems: It's hard to find buyers for instruments that cost from $1700 to $6000. And, I have developed an allergy to wood dust
Forum - Should I or Shouldn't I become a truck driver
OK, I'm about to be 37 years old. My youngest child is 13. Ive been in a few different positions from car sales to the desk jockey job I have now. Nothing seems to be paying the bills and I'm so tired of stressing over it. I have family that drives and I can't get a straight opinion out of any of them.
Article - Comparing Career Paths: Truck Driving Versus A College Degree
I decided to hypothetically put two people seeking professional careers, one a prospective college student, the other a truck driving school candidate, up against each other in a comparison of job training, annual salary, debt accumulation, and investment capability throughout their careers.
Forum - Truck Driving: An Escape From Poverty Or A Silly Fantasy?
After what I've been through and the life-long poverty I've endured the idea of getting paid even 12$ an hour blows me away, and I know trucking pays a LOT more than that. I'm not looking to match an attitude or take on some identity or lifestyle. I just want a living wage. But is truck driving worth it?
Truck driving is a career like no other, and takes an exceptional amount of patience, perseverance, and hard work, but for the right person, provides an exciting and rewarding career. More than just a paycheck, it requires embracing a whole new "lifestyle" in order to be successful.
Article - Why Do People Decide To Become Truck Drivers?
It seems like nearly everyone has considered the trucking lifestyle at one point or another. For me, it started back when I was just 4 or 5 years old. I can still distinctly remember looking out the window of our old family van on road trips, wondering what it must be like to drive those big trucks.
Article - Why Become A Truck Driver?
One other great reason to get into trucking is the chance to see some of this great country of ours. How many states have you been to? Are you one who hasn’t been to very many places? Get into trucking and you will have the opportunity to explore it. See why people consider it to be the greatest country in the world, and also the most beautiful.
Trucking isn't for everyone.. but
Every week there are thousands of drivers going into trucking, most won't make it. Most go into this industry not having a clue about it. A big mistake that I saw as an Instructor at Prime was how the older folk usually underestimated the challenges of the job.
Forum - Reaching One Million Miles
Reaching one million safe miles as a driver is a big goal that takes dedication and commitment, and maybe even a little luck. I throw in the luck part because I have discovered that most of the million miler club members I've come across will use that word.
While most of your time on the road will be spoken for, successful and experienced drivers will learn how to manage their time to find ways to get out and actually see this great country in a more tourist-y fashion. Especially in this digital age, drivers should have no problem finding things to occupy what little time they have left over.
Forum - How much of the country do you actually get to see?
"Wherever I was, I was home. And I got to do a ton of awesome things - college & pro football games, hockey games, NASCAR & NHRA races, and of course ran around during the weekends partying in Vegas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, etc."
Forum - Truckers 'traveling the country for free'
"I hear and read this a lot as one of the benefits of driving OTR but i think it's misleading. I could be wrong because I'm not a driver yet but one would assume you are mostly going to be on boring interstates and highways for the most part."
Article - My First Year as a Truck Driver
One of the main reasons I got into truck driving was to see as much of this country as possible. I'm pleased to say, I have been to all of the lower 48 states except for North Dakota. Some states I've only been through small sections, and others I've covered extensively. But the main thing is, I've seen a lot.
Forum - It's Been One of Those Days...
One of those days where you just can't hardly believe that someone is willing to pay you to do this stuff! I've been hopping back and forth all last week in the desert area of Southern California and Arizona. This area has a rugged beauty to it that is unique and intriguing to me, if you've ever crossed over into Southern California on I-8.
As a driver, you will still have incredible amounts of responsibility, and your movements will still be tracked and dictated by whatever company you are working for. That said, you will still be the captain of your own ship, and the "how's" of doing your job will be largely left up to you and your experience, on the road alone.
Article - My Truck Driving Career: A 6 Month Review
"Luckily, the one thing I expected to enjoy, I'm loving. The driving. Cruisin' down the open road. The solitude. Jamming to some tunes. The freedom. All of the previous jobs I've had, included answering to several bosses."
Article - My First Year as a Truck Driver
"Another reason I got into truck driving was for the independence. This has been a mixed bag of results. On one hand, truck driving is not as independent as it used to be. We are constantly tracked by GPS and our every move is recorded."
If you look at truck driving as simply a "job" that you can check-in and check-out of, and compare it to 9-5 hourly wage jobs, then no, you probably won't enjoy it, or be successful at it.
The more that you understand that trucking is a "lifestyle", and something that you "live", rather than just "do", the more you will be able to embrace it as a rewarding career, or realize that it just isn't right for you. It isn't right for everyone, and there is never any shame in admitting that.
Becoming A Truck Driver: Will I Enjoy Life On The Road?
"So in general, life on the road is a lot of fun if you're the adventurous type. The hours are long, the weather is tricky, and you're away from home a lot but it's always interesting, challenging, and full of possibilities. "
Trucking Question And Answer - Do truck drivers like their jobs?
"The lifestyle of an over-the-road or regional truck driver is very, very unique. And that's exactly what it is - a lifestyle. It really isn't just a job - it's how you live. You spend an enormous amount of time alone. You almost never know where you will be, nor where you will be heading to, more than 48 hours in advance."
Article - I Love Being a Truck Driver!
"Some of it might sound like great things to you, and some of it might sound like it's terrible. It takes a very unique individual to succeed out here and hopefully this will shed a little light on the traits necessary to make it in this business."
The short answer is "No", you probably won't get rich as a truck driver. However, drivers who run hard and run smart can do very well financially in this industry.
First year drivers can expect to make between $35-40,000, the average salary industry-wide was around $42,000 in 2014, and top earners can pull in $80-100,000. For instance WalMart, whose driving jobs are among the most sought-after in the industry, starts its drivers at around $82,000 annually.
Forum - Trucker pay has fallen when adjusted for inflation
"In 1993 when I got started in trucking people were making just about $40,000 their first year. If you adjust that for inflation you would need to make $64,000 today to have the same spending power that $40,000 had in 1993. That's nearly a 50% drop in spending power."
Forum - Whats the pay in 2015?
"I was a OTR trucker from 2006 to 2012, averaged about 700 a week maxing out my hours for the most part. Has the pay gone up? Minimum wage now in a lot of states including my own is now $10 an hour and I feel I was barely making that then when all the hours I was driving waiting were figured in."
If you are unprepared to work hard, listen more than you talk, and treat truck driving as a "lifestyle" rather than a job, then trucking is going to give you a hard time.
Successful and fulfilled drivers realize that most aspects of the truck driver's day-to-day are the responsibility of the driver himself. Learning to plan ahead, anticipating when things could go wrong, making sure they get fixed, and having the patience and flexibility to adjust to things going wrong, are all part of the learning process of a successful driver.
Article - When Will I Know If Trucking Was The Right Career Choice?
"Hey, it's only trucking, right? I mean, it's not rocket science or brain surgery. You haul stuff from point A to point B. How hard can that be? You've driven cars your entire adult life. You've even taken a few road trips and they were fun, right? So now you'll just be doing that in a huge, super-cool big rig. Sounds perfect, doesn't it?"
Forum - 10 things I've learned in 4 years of trucking...
Patience is a virtue. You will encounter impatient drivers all the time, whether they are in cars, or other truckers. Impatient drivers are accidents waiting to happen. Don't be that driver. And if you see another driver being impatient, stay out of their way.
Forum - OTR Trucking is HARD WORK???
"I know it's gonna be tough, and I'm apprehensive and anxious, heck, I 'm SCARED!! BUT I want to live and work hard and enjoy my life. Cube life ain't living y'all...It slowly eats away at you until you're just numb and DON'T CARE."
Article - Is Truck Driving A Good Career Choice?
"It's a myth that only higher degrees can earn you a secure, high paying job. If you look around there are many options that can offer you a good pay pack and keep you satisfied. Driving a truck is one good career option."