The ability to travel on a daily basis while making money doing what you love most is a dream come true for many a truck driver. Truck drivers transport items throughout the U.S. and sometimes across the boarders into Canada and Mexico.
Truck drivers are an important part of everyday life in almost all industries including manufacturing, retail, automotive, food, and dining. Apart from getting a good salary, they also get the opportunity to see the country while developing their driving skills.
What is a Day in the Life of a Truck Driver Like?
If you’re planning to become a truck driver, then you may want to know what a typical day of a trucker looks like. This can be a bit tricky because CDL truck drivers have various positions and they differ from each other. However, if you want to join a truck-driving career with a good pay, then you should consider obtaining a class A CDL. Drivers with a class A CDL drive long-haul distances across the country.
Long-haul drivers drive approximately 100,000 to 110,000 miles annually. Currently, class A CDL drivers are permitted to drive for a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off duty. However, they cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after they have started their workday.
This means that truck drivers have to rest for at least 10 hours between shifts, and they cannot drive over 11 hours in a single shift. In case they are breaking up the day, they should never drive past the fourteenth hour from the beginning of the shift.
For truckers in Hampton Roads Area, a typical day starts by getting as many miles as possible.
Morning: Truckers get up between five and six am and walk into the truck stop to perform the morning rituals. The daily rituals include getting coffee, inspecting the truck and trailer, checking messages, doing the logs, and checking the weather and other safety conditions before they get rolling. They drive to a receiver or a shipper and either, drop and hook, live unload or live load.
Drop and hook: This means dropping a loaded trailer to the designated destination and picking another trailer, which eliminates the need to wait around for the truck to be unloaded.
Live unload: It is the process of unloading cargo from a trailer before it moves on.
Live load: This involves waiting for the trailer while it gets loaded before it can proceed.
When making live loads or unloads, then you will be sitting around for several hours without making any money, unlike as you would be paid by the miles you drive. In case you have time on your hands, then you will use this time to plan the route. Other daily events that you have to deal with include planning fuel stops, weather and road constructions, and dealing with weigh stations.
Important Skills and Abilities you need to perform your Job
Getting a CDL to launch your trucking career is a wise move. After all, you need a CDL to drive a truck in the United States. The CDL is the most important tool that you will need to pursue employment as a truck driver. Now that you know you need a CDL to drive large commercial trucks, you should also consider other skills that you will need in the trucking industry.
The BLS spells out a list of important skills and abilities that can help you get employment in the trucking industry. Those who acquire these skills find truck driving easier compared to those who lack these skills:
- Hearing: The federal truck driving regulations require all truck drivers to have an acceptable level of hearing. This can be either or without a hearing aid. You will be required to hear a “forced whisper” for you to qualify for a truck driving jobs.
- Hand-eye coordination: This is a very important skill when entering truck driving. You will need manual skills to move your hands, eyes, and feet at the same time while coordinating their movements to keep the truck safe while driving at high speeds.
- Visual ability: This is important if you’re planning to join the trucking industry. Drivers who don’t have a good vision cannot safely operate a vehicle.
A typical CDL training program will have a mix of classroom and hands-on driving training both in the yard and on the road. This way, you will gain theoretical and technical knowledge and familiarize yourself with concepts of machinery used in the trucking industry.
Additionally, your CDL training will prepare you to earn endorsements in tanker trailers, combination vehicles, and air brakes which will be of great help in your day to day job. If you’re interested in living the trucking lifestyle and want to earn a Diploma in Commercial Driving, visit Advanced Technology Institute and enroll for a tractor-trailer driving course.