A Freshman's Questions About Trucking

Topic 15592 | Page 1

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Atraeu R.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello there! My name's Atraeu, I'm a freshman at a Performing Arts school as a theatre major, and I've just discovered the wonders of trucking.

Now 2 hours ago, my eyes were dead set on becoming either a video game designer or an actor, depending on how high school goes. My dad fully supported me of this, didn't want me to end up where he was, wants me to go to college and be wall off unlike him. And that's what I was going to do. That was up until I was reading an article on a man's journey across America afoot, and he talked about how his father was a truck driver and his passing inspired the man to walk the miles his father never did. In the comments of the article a guy talked about his 35 years of trucking, and of course that got me curious. So I made the fateful google search "is trucking fun". And then I read an article on this site, absorbing every word and wonder, mystified at this prospect I'd always blindly ignored or shrugged off. And suddenly my whole view on my life had a big hole in it. Should I really go to college? Is being an actor or a game designer really worth it? What will my Dad think? So I thought about it.

A little about me; I have always loved to travel. Seeing the beauties of nature, the wonders of our many cities, the faces of our people. On long trips i would stare out the window at the beautiful scenery, like our trip back up to WNY from Florida that summer. Passing through the mountains in Virginia, smelling the refreshing air of the sweet countryside, I wanted to just stay at our rest stop. It felt amazing to drive through great big passes in the mountains during the storm that was passing, looking over the cliffs at the forest below. It was breathtakingly beautiful; mother nature is the most beautiful woman there is. And thinking now on what 2 hours ago was my supposed dream job, I am much more enthusiastic about becoming a traveling truck driver than a video game designer or an entertainer (not that I don't want to do that either). But I want to know your experiences. I, being only 13, have no experience with driving at all. I would like to do this for the experience and the fun and he knowledge I will gain on the road. (And, to a lesser extent, the great yearly salary) So, is this a good career choice? Can you give me some of your experiences as truckers? I'm mainly worried about my family will take it... oh well. I'll be waiting here for some responses, and I will respond as soon as I see them.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello, Atraeu. Welcome to the trucking lifestyle!

Here is more reading about what truck work and living is like:

You can, of course, all more questions!

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hi Atraeu.

I wrote a book that's free to read here on the website - Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving. It has a lot of stories and insights about life on the road. There are aspects of over the road trucking that do indeed fit into the romantic view of this industry - the adventures, the scenery, the time you get to spend alone with your thoughts, every day is completely different than the last, etc. But of course the job is incredibly difficult and dangerous, the hours are incredibly long, you're alone an awful lot, and you're away from your home and family for extended periods of time.

What it really comes down to is whether or not trucking suits your personality and life goals or not. But the reality is it's going to be at least 8 years before you're old enough to take a shot at this. You can get your CDL when you're 18 but no one is going to hire anyone under the age of 21. So we always recommend waiting until you're 21 to get started in trucking.

So do a lot of reading and talk to people from all walks of life. Talk to truckers and scientists and television producers and accountants and computer programmers. Learn all you can about your options later in life and pursue those that really get you excited, regardless of what others think.

Best of luck to ya!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
member avatar

Atraeu, welcome to TT. You came to the right place. One thing to consider is that as a trucker you could teach yourself to design video games and start a side business. Also, you can fulfill your need to entertain by having a YouTube channel. Look for truckers on YouTube. There are women like Allie Knight, younger guys like The little guy show and older more experienced guys like Big Rig Talk. So, with this site, YouTube and whatever else you can learn about trucking you can be an expert by the time you are 21 and ready to jump into trucking. Good luck.

ChickieMonster's Comment
member avatar

Check out others on YouTube too:

Indiana Jack

Jade and John

Trucker Josh

Each one of these people (or couple) have a different style of video. Some are more educational and talk about the actual trucking part, while others focus more on what their life is like on the road.

Either way, you get a good idea of what this life is all about, the good AND the bad.

Atraeu R.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Atraeu.

I wrote a book that's free to read here on the website - Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving. It has a lot of stories and insights about life on the road. There are aspects of over the road trucking that do indeed fit into the romantic view of this industry - the adventures, the scenery, the time you get to spend alone with your thoughts, every day is completely different than the last, etc. But of course the job is incredibly difficult and dangerous, the hours are incredibly long, you're alone an awful lot, and you're away from your home and family for extended periods of time.

What it really comes down to is whether or not trucking suits your personality and life goals or not. But the reality is it's going to be at least 8 years before you're old enough to take a shot at this. You can get your CDL when you're 18 but no one is going to hire anyone under the age of 21. So we always recommend waiting until you're 21 to get started in trucking.

So do a lot of reading and talk to people from all walks of life. Talk to truckers and scientists and television producers and accountants and computer programmers. Learn all you can about your options later in life and pursue those that really get you excited, regardless of what others think.

Best of luck to ya!

I'm reading the book now, a few pages in, and I just want to spread some Buffalove for our home city!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mark L.'s Comment
member avatar

Atraeu,

First of all, welcome to the board. I've been a member here for awhile, but just recently started posting. As you've already learned, there are some very interesting posts on here.

For some people, the call to be a truck driver seems natural, perhaps they grew up in a trucking family. Others, such as myself and probably you, never thought we'd ever even consider a career in trucking. I remember when I was growing up, I'd always be fascinated whenever my mom got on the interstate and then whenever we'd pass one of the big trucks, I remember just looking up at it and smiling. Maybe the idea of trucking should have been a natural consideration for me, but it wasn't. Now, so many years later, I'm finally about to start CDL training as long as this recruiter calls me, which will probably be tomorrow. If not, I will contact other companies and find a way in to the industry.

I bring up that story for a reason. You actually have an advantage over some of us. You've taken what seems to be a serious interest in the industry before you're old enough to have a job in the industry. You're also going to college. As somebody above said, you can get your CDL at 18, but you won't find a job until you're 21+. So my suggestion would be for you to keep going to college. You'll get a couple years in anyway and then when you're old enough for a trucking job, you can still go for it if you want.

Friends of mine that are or have been truckers have always told me that driving the truck is the easy part. When you become a truck driver, you get a completely different lifestyle. You're away from home for extended periods of time, then go home for a couple days, and then back on the road again. You live in the truck, have to take showers at truck stops, eat in the truck or in truck stops/fast food places. You do get to see the country......at 60mph. If you keep the truck moving, you can make some really good money, especially at your age where your bills are pretty minimal.

I will end on this note. No matter what you decide right now about whether to pursue truck driving, the desire won't go away. I'm sure all of us in this forum have felt this way. I know people that wanted to be a trucker when they turned 22 and didn't get their CDL until they were in their 50s. Things like this happen because life gets in the way. I say this because even if you decide not to be a trucker when you turn 21 or 22, I still believe that at some point, you'll try it out. Maybe it won't be the career for you and there's nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, maybe it will end up being the best job you've ever had and you'll kick yourself for not doing it sooner (assuming you don't do it right away).

Anyway, best of luck to you.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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