Why Drive For A Living???

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Bob J.'s Comment
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I'm new to this site so figured I would just throw this question out there. Why would someone choose to be away from their family for weeks at a time and basically see their wife and kids only 3 to 4 days a month to drive a truck for a living??? I mean not hating on the truckers out there cuz if you are single with no kids i'm sure its a great life but since most guys out there are married with kids, there certainly are better options/jobs out there than driving a truck. Even if you do not feel you have the skills needed to get a good job, then go to college and get a degree! Doing that would then allow you to get a great paying job (most likely way more than driving a truck) and be home with your family EVERY night. I couldn't imagine missing my son's t-ball games, my daughters dance recitals or even my weekend date night with my wife! I'm sorry if I am stepping on toes but I simply do not understand why the "family man" would choose such a life. Sure driving a truck can be tons of fun, however, you are missing out time with your kids that you will NEVER get back. Now is that really worth it???


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Rolling Thunder's Comment
member avatar

Bob, you say you are not hating on truckers then proceed to write a long paragraph chastizing our career and family choice.

There are many reasons we choose this lifestyle, but, I can only speak for myself.

I suck at "routine". Tried it and it is not me. I need new and interesting challenges to keep me happy while earning a living. Granted, I am single (after three divorces) with 4 kids. Two are grown and on their own, the other two live in Colorado with ex number 2 (I live in Tennessee). My 13yr old daughter and 12yr old son are both sitting with me right now... Happy and well adjusted. Being around the family everyday does not automatically make a happy home nor does it make a better parent.

Every single driver out here has their own story and reason for jumping into a big rig. If it is not your thing, don't do it. Please do not insult my brothers and sisters who do.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Snappy's Comment
member avatar

Hi Bob! Well, your question -- and the subsequent observations -- show that you are bringing a lot of assumptions to the table.

First, yes, if I was a family guy, doing what I do would be a lot harder. In fact, I would probably seek out a regional , dedicated, or local LTL position that would get me home every weekend, if not nightly or almost nightly.

As it is, I enjoy traveling and seeing new sights. My office is located in the continental United States and Canada. And the view is great. You know why office folks like corner offices so much? It's because they have two windows. My office has three.

As far as your recommendation to "go to college and get a degree," well, here's the thing. People who drive these wonderful 80,000 pound murder machines (let's face it, one slip and that's what they can become) come from a wide variety of backgrounds. I do have a degree -- a BS, actually. I spent eight years feeling miserable in one job, and two years feeling the same way in another. I've managed over 20 people, worked 17 hour days, and came close to ruining my health through overwork and stress. Life is too short for that.

Everyone will have different priorities in life, and everyone finds satisfaction in different places. Personally, I love what I do now. With a little bit of experience, I now have a base pay that is close to what I was getting before bonuses as a corporate manager with my own region to take care of.


Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.


Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Trucking is a good job, one of the very best I've had. I went to college, got a degree, helped win and lose millions of dollars in law firms, worked in corporate environments, managed hundreds of people. Guess what? While working lots of hours with a lot of stress and a lot of missed holidays, I missed a lot of events in my family's life thinking I was "getting ahead." I was a slave to the "American Dream."

I work roughly the same number of hours now, enjoy a much higher percentage of the time I'm working, and bring home more money since my expenses are nearly nil. When I'm home, I'm not distracted and stressed about what might happen tomorrow or Monday.

My wife definitely prefers this life over the old life. My daughter is grown and we get along better than ever, and my grandson loves the truck. I could soon get a different kind of trucking job that allows me to be home every weekend or even every night - lots of people do that in this business.

Best of all, it's honest work. I provide a valuable service that benefits lots of people. I know when I have finished a task, there are tangible results, and there is always a challenge where I can improve my skills and efficiency. My performance doesn't depend on other people with unclear motives.

I hope I'm not stepping on any toes, but the first job of any real "family man" is to work hard to provide for his family. Sometimes that means he misses a ball game or a dance recital or a birthday party. That's too bad. If Mom knows Dad loves her, and the kids see that, their memories of missed events will diminish, but the knowledge that they were loved will bear much fruit in later years.

Trucking can be hard work, but it also provides a decent income in a business that is nearly recession-proof for those who perform. It's a good job. No one here will argue that we make too much, and we'd all like to be paid better, but you can pay the bills once you've got a decent track record . . . and that only takes a year or so. Tell me another honest business you can get into so easily and be established so quickly.

So, it's a good job, it's honest work, and you can spend unencumbered time with your family. Now, can you please tell us what better job you have that allows you to troll websites in your underwear while your family is glued to the tv and their smartphones?


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
T.W.'s Comment
member avatar

I have a college degree. All it got me was a teaching career that ended in a lay off. I have struggled with sending resume after resume to get another job. No luck. I bounced around in sales for a while too. Its a tough economy out there -- even with a college degree. STEM degrees are the rave now--which mine is not STEM. I like to follow Mike Rowe's advice from Dirty Jobs. Dirty jobs are the best paying jobs for those that can't find work or if their college degrees are not paying off. I consider trucking a dirty job. Oil field trucking is another dirty job. Plumber, welder, ironworker, electrician -- any trade is decent paying. Trucking offers security. Yes, it can be single man's game - but hey some family men do it too to pay the bills.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Bud, you need to post more often. I absolutely love your posts!

Bob, you won't really understand until you've been out here, until you've seen what I've seen, until you've survived what I've survived, until you've seen the sights I see on a daily basis. Right now I'm in the Mojave Desert watching the sun set - I can't describe how beautiful it is. Being out here really shows you just how beautiful God's creation is. The scenery I've seen and experienced will follow me through the rest of my life and I can surely tell you this - I'll be your best friend around a campfire because truckers have a million stories to tell.

Old School's Comment
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I'm new to this site

Bob, let me welcome you, but why the heck are you even here?

You obviously are not interested in driving a truck. You obviously don't understand economics and how utterly vital to our nations economy trucking is. You seem to think that anyone who wants to be happy can just go down to the local university and get themselves a diploma and be making a ton of money while home with their families. I don't even want to pretend I understand why you are in this forum asking such a question, but I sure wish you would give us a little more information. I think it is a relevant question, and I can guarantee you every truck driver worth his salt has asked him/herself that same question many times over.

Some jobs require sacrifice, and not all folks are willing to make those sacrifices. But the same folks who wouldn't make the sacrifices that the truck driver makes would be upset very quickly if they couldn't make a quick little jaunt to the local store to get the things they need for life and sustenance. The clothes you were wearing as you typed your query on this forum came delivered in our trucks. The computer you used to pose your inquiry and all the various parts that came together to make it were delivered by a truck driver who would have preferred sitting around a warm fire at his home with his loved ones around him. The chair or sofa you were sitting in, the very materials that were put together for the home that keeps you warm and sheltered were all put in their place by the people you just can't understand. And when you go to your job in the morning you will be driving a car that I probably hauled the steel for the manufacturing process that caused it to come into being. You have no idea how miserable your life would be were it not for the men and women who give of their time for your benefit by moving this nations goods all across this great and prosperous land.

We love our families just as much as anyone does, but there is a need for us to be doing the thing that we do. Now if we could find enough professional responsible folks who didn't have any family ties then we could maybe have all of them be truck drivers. But, even the folks who don't have families are not willing to make the sacrifices that a professional driver makes. It is a special person who fills the American Truck Driver's boots, but you wouldn't have a clue about what type of people they are. You have no idea of the diversity of people who are out here making sacrifices for your daily needs and pleasures.

I seriously would like to know why a man, who has no interest in truck driving, is squandering the precious time he could be spending with his children perusing trucking forums and posing questions. If you can give me a satisfactory response to that question I will gladly give you an ear full as to why I am out here keeping this economy chugging along.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Sam C.'s Comment
member avatar

I am choosing this route because of 2 reasons, 1 I love seeing the country and 2 because the money vs years spent is better than college at my age. Sure I can go back to school for 4 years racking up thousands in debt while holding a full time job and not seeing my kids tball games because I am at school or work so I can graduate and get a job making 60k a year while being 20k in debt. Or I can get a job that will keep me away from home for a few years while racking up no new debt that I could be making 80k within 3 years and then have experience to go to pretty much any company I wanted and continue to make 50k a year even with local and be home daily. So lets do the math 4 years of schooling and fulltime job = not seeing your family and racking up debt to make 50-60k Doing otr for a few years = not seeing your family wile making 30-35k year 1, 45-50k year 2, Ive read up to 80k year 3, and finally finding a local run or union to make 50-70k til I retire.


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.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Greenhorn Trucker's Comment
member avatar

Well I can only speak for myself on some of this but I will toss my two cents in. I just recently was doing the college thing to get a degree, however I was finding it impossible to find work in my field within relative close driving distance (IE less than 100 miles one way). Relocating was not in the cards as I would need to be working first to save up money, and living out of a car for any length of time in the Detroit area is suicide. Now yes I do not have kids or major bills to worry about at the moment so by most common people's logic this would make me a fine candidate to become a driver, however these are not the only things that go into this decision for most.

First you have to be comfortable to be by yourself for weeks on end, and for me the less people I have to deal with on a daily basis the better for me. You must be able to drive, know basic road rules, navigate the highway system, have a basic knowledge of where things are on the engine, and read a map in the times the GPS screws up, again not many people can do these things and would most likely not enjoy trucking. If you cannot stand to be away from your wife and kids thats great for you, it seems a bit codependent to me that they could not function without you around or you could not deal with being away from them for any length of time. Remember truckers make life for the ordinary people, like you, more convenient by giving up their time with family and friends so products you like to buy are on shelves. Yet these same drivers are looked down upon by most people, like you, as being the one who is missing out, but to be honest truckers can spend a whole summer with their kids while doing their job and seeing the country. And with today's technology it is much easier for a trucker to stay in touch with their family from nearly anywhere on the road.

Other careers you might want to avoid; anything to do with the military. In the military if they call you up for deployment you could be gone for a MUCH longer time than any trucker could ever imagine, and they are doing this half a word away because it is their job.

Sorry if that was a bit ranty but it is just odd that you went out of your way to ask that.

Papa Bird's Comment
member avatar

I could have gone to college, trained in another field, an hoped that when it was all said and done, I would have been able to get a job that would pay off the college debt, and the mountain of debt that I had before i started, where I'm from, that probably would have entailed a costly move, and more debt. If i got lucky, mabey in ten or fifteen years i could have afforded (more debt) to take a week or two to vacation in a small part of our country. As it is, i didn't drastically increase my debt, (My company is paying for my schooling) I'm making a good wage, my debt is being knocked down, and I'm seeing a good portion of this country. The question is not why am i doing this, but rather, why wasn't I doing this years ago, when it would have done the most good for my family.

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