Day Or Night Driving

Topic 21027 | Page 1

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NeeklODN's Comment
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How much decision making does the driver have over wether he/she drives during the day or at night? I think at first I would prefer to drive during the day. Any answers would help. Thanks.

Susan D. 's Comment
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You drive whenever you have to, to make your appointments on time. Sometimes you'll be able to drive days and at times, nights will be necessary, but as long as you can make your appointments you can pretty much set your own schedule. You'll learn more about trip planning in CDL school.


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.
Errol V.'s Comment
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Neek, most of the time it's up to you. Yes, appointments need to be met, but most of those are in the daytime. Your pickups and deliveries may be a set time, but even those may be "Just get it here by Thursday".

On OTR , I prefer to pull into a truck stop around 3-4 pm (the parking lot is almost empty!) Then start rolling between 2-3 am. No traffic anywhere!. You can work this schedule with almost any combination of appointments.

Most drivers prefer the usual daytime schedule, and shut down at about sunset. That's when parking gets crowded. It really is up to you.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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Let me throw this out there so you're aware of it. The traffic is much lighter of course at night, but otherwise I think most people would prefer to drive during the day when they can see better. But trucking is about getting the job done safely and on time. You're almost always going to be dealing with less than perfect circumstances. You'll be driving in the rain and snow, heavy crosswinds, on days you don't feel good, through heavy traffic, and all sorts of challenging situations all the time.

I would caution you against saying anything to dispatch about this. You really don't want to give them any indication that you're timid about your job or that you're only willing to be a "fair weather driver" who won't do the tough work when it needs to be done. Trucking companies need drivers who are ambitious and willing to push through the challenges to get the job done safely and on time. Those are the drivers that get the lion's share of the miles and pay. Those are the drivers that dispatch keeps busy and does extra favors for.

We all have our likes and dislikes. That's just being human. But you want to get used to the idea that trucking requires a lot of compromise, commitment, toughness, and ambition. So right from the start I would learn to accept the challenges and face them head on. Sometimes you're going to be a little outside of your comfort zone, especially that first year out there. Those are the learning experiences that turn a clumsy rookie into a Top Tier Veteran.

Here's an interesting episode from our Road Home Trucker's Podcast that will help you understand how to know your limits and what to expect of yourself out there:

Episode 3: Do You Know Your Limits?


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Big Scott's Comment
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What everyone has said so far is spot on. I prefer driving during the day. To allow me time to sleepnand talk to my wife, I like to start my clock around 07:00 local time. This allows me to drive during the day. This works for me about 90% of the time. I do what's needed to get the load delivered on time. I just finished a reset because I ran my clock out to get a load delivered on time. It was a 2172 mile run. Some days I drive 8 or 9 hours others I drive out my 11. My appointment times usually range from 07:00 to 17:00. Every now and then you get a night time appointment. I drive dry van. Refer can be more early am and night appointments. Good luck.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Chris M's Comment
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I prefer to drive during the day too. I have definitely noticed that pulling dry van I have more daytime appointments than when I pulled reefer. I had a lot of midnight to 6 am appointments then.

The only positive to driving night for me is going through a major city. Otherwise, I strongly prefer daytime. But yeah it is all almost 100% dependent on appointment times.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.


A refrigerated trailer.

Gladhand's Comment
member avatar

It depends for me. When I am running out West I like to run during the day. If I'm around the major cities i.e (Atlanta, Los Angeles, etc,) then I like nights. Nights have a lot of advantages it's just tough to get used to.

Most of the time I start at about 3 AM and finish around 1pm or so.

Garth M.'s Comment
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Most of my first deliveries of the day are for 6:30 or 7:30 and I may have to drive 4 hours to make them so its dark when I start and light when I'm done for the day. Less traffic is the best part of starting that early if I have to drive in the city, but if its raining then thats a different story, I don't enjoy driving in the dark in the rain, especially if I"m on a road I haven't driven before.

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