I Am A 58 Year Old Woman Who Wants To Be A Long Haul Trucker

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Tammy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, I am a 58 year old woman who has been interested in truck driving for 35 years. I used to go on the road with my sons father 35 years ago and went all over the U.S and Canada. I drove the rig a few times but was a little scary. I always said if I were to go back in my youth I would have been a truck driver. Well now I see alot of people my age are starting this career. Of course my fear is backing up between 2 trucks. It always amazed me how my kids father did it. It looks so scary. My question: If I get my CDL what are my chances of getting a job doing long haul? I dont want to do day trips AT ALL. My dream is to be on the road for weeks at a time. Are there alot of long haul jobs out there? Also this is where I would get my experience. I drove a 40 ft 5th wheel for years but the backing it up part always stressed me out. If I do this then it will disrupt my family. EVERYTHING will change but at this point of my life I have to think about me and everyone else needs to figure out their life. I just dont want to make a drastic move and then have to start over. I will only take jobs long haul!

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Tammy, congratulations! You want everything that OTR truck companies want!

Maturity, respect for your truck (safety in maneuvering), and no regrets for being far from home & family for long periods.

With a CDL (and medical card) you might never be unemployed again. The demand for drivers is so great that many companies will finance your CDL training, often at no interest.

Here's a good way to get started:

Brett is the owner/operator of Trucking Truth. His book covers most of the life & situations a truck driver may encounter.

The High Road program is your key to study and pass the first step - your CDL permit.

Check out the Training Diaries section of the forum. Read other topics here and feel free to ask questions.

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.

OTR:

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
My question: If I get my CDL what are my chances of getting a job doing long haul? I dont want to do day trips AT ALL. My dream is to be on the road for weeks at a time. Are there alot of long haul jobs out there?

I am not exactly sure about your terminology. You can certainly get an Over The Road Job after getting your CDL. We don't really call that Long Haul, but it will include some long haul work. I am an OTR driver. Sometimes I may get dispatched from Los Angeles to New York. I can cross the country like that in about four days. Other times I may get dispatched from New York to Pennsylvania and be able to do that in one day. You say you don't want to do day trips at all. A day trip might be 600 miles - you can do that in a day, but it's still a pretty long trip.

I guess I am not sure what you are wanting. OTR jobs involve a mix of both very lengthy trips and some shorter trips. Usually you will determine how you get dispatched by your performance, not so much by what you demand you want. A typical OTR driver usually strives to run about 3,000 miles per week. There's no reason you can't do that, but it will be a mix of short and long trips. You can stay out on the road as long as you like. The companies will love having someone who doesn't necessarily want to go home, and that driver is likely to be dispatched on some good long runs.

Can you explain your aversion to what you call day trips? If you are fearful of parking and or backing you have got to realize you will still do those things on long trips. Everyday you will have to park and rest for ten hours. Maybe I am reading more into your post than I should, but I just wanted to help you clarify a few things.

Welcome to our forum! Please ask all the questions you want. We are glad to help you. Your age nor your gender are going to be hindrances to you. The trucking industry welcomes all who can do the job, but it isn't a job for just anyone. It is a special job that requires special people.

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.

OTR:

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.

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.
Tammy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Not sure if im posting this in the right place but doing short runs I mean like stop and shop or 5-6 stops a day. I wouldnt mind doing a trip from point a to b if it took me all day. Eventually I want OTR or as I call it long haul trips.

OTR:

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Yes, you want to get on with an OTR company running all 48 states. You are in good luck too - that's the most easily accessible job available for new drivers!

We highly recommend you go through one of the many Paid CDL Training Programs. You'll get the best training at little to no out of pocket expenses. You'll need to commit to them for a time period, but it will just be a drop in the bucket compared to your time in the career.

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.

OTR:

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.

Vicki M.'s Comment
member avatar

Tammy you are singing my song. I am a 54 year old woman and just got my CDL yesterday. I have been on the road training for 2 weeks and am now going for 2ish months of team training.

I left a very stable job job that I had for 22 years. I left a career I was in for 32 years. I told my adult son and husband that I’d see them when I see them. We talk on the phone and FaceTime right now and honestly they are missing me more than I miss them. I’ve been homesick once but that was when my trainer told me I wouldn’t get home for 3 months. Fortunately our fleet manager was more forthcoming with the fact that my trainer hates to go to Cali and that’s why she was telling me not to put in for home time lol guess what? She’s going to Cali every time she takes home time. Because I’m going home too.

Even with all of it, it still feels like it was the best decision for me at this point. I lived my life pleasing others and now it’s my turn. And backing sucks. But it’s something you can learn. I am.

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.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

Tammy, your description of five or six stops in a day sounds like local work, or day cab work. As OldSchool said, your best bet is to hire on with a company that will pay you to train with them for your CDL , and give you a job driving Day One when you get the approval from the inspectors. Enjoy this adventure - it's a lifestyle unlike most others. I spent 28 years doing one thing, retired, and started driving after that.

I miss driving more than I miss the other job.

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

Tammy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Oh wow CONGRATULATIONS! Me too, Im sick of taking care of everybody lol. Im so scared of the backing up part too. I wonder if they have like back up cameras that you can stick on the back of the truck lol if not maybe I should invent one. I am starting a driving school within the next couple weeks. Its 5000 dollars and four month to get my cdl doing 3 days a week. Do you have a CB? Do they use them any more? Well I wish you all the best and maybe someday we will cross paths on our travels. Im in Massachusetts.

Tammy you are singing my song. I am a 54 year old woman and just got my CDL yesterday. I have been on the road training for 2 weeks and am now going for 2ish months of team training.

I left a very stable job job that I had for 22 years. I left a career I was in for 32 years. I told my adult son and husband that I’d see them when I see them. We talk on the phone and FaceTime right now and honestly they are missing me more than I miss them. I’ve been homesick once but that was when my trainer told me I wouldn’t get home for 3 months. Fortunately our fleet manager was more forthcoming with the fact that my trainer hates to go to Cali and that’s why she was telling me not to put in for home time lol guess what? She’s going to Cali every time she takes home time. Because I’m going home too.

Even with all of it, it still feels like it was the best decision for me at this point. I lived my life pleasing others and now it’s my turn. And backing sucks. But it’s something you can learn. I am.

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.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Tammy A.'s Comment
member avatar

I am starting a private driving school in a couple weeks and he said he would help me find a job when I get my CDL. Im now wondering if I should do the CDL with a company who will get me a job right away with them. What do you think is the better way to go. This company I am going to told me its 4 months and within 15 minutes of starting driving school Im already in the truck. Also I can go as many days a week as I want. The more I go the faster I get my license. Im not in a hurry I would rather take my time and learn,

Tammy, your description of five or six stops in a day sounds like local work, or day cab work. As OldSchool said, your best bet is to hire on with a company that will pay you to train with them for your CDL, and give you a job driving Day One when you get the approval from the inspectors. Enjoy this adventure - it's a lifestyle unlike most others. I spent 28 years doing one thing, retired, and started driving after that.

I miss driving more than I miss the other job.

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Tammy is wondering:

Im now wondering if I should do the CDL with a company who will get me a job right away with them.

Any Company Sponsored Training is offered to applicants who could work for that company. In other words, you all but have a job if they invite you to their school. They will arrange the financing (often at zero % interest) and debit your paycheck for the next year or so. Almost painless.

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

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