5 Facts About a Truck Driver’s Way of Life
Odd Driving Times
Some drivers like a very early start so they can move with the light; other drivers prefer the relatively clear roads at night. Over the road (OTR) truck drivers don’t have distinct starting hours unless they’re calling in to dispatch after returning from “time off.”
Some companies may expect you to work up to 70 hours over an eight-day stretch. After that, you cannot drive again until you take an entire 34 hours off duty. You cannot drive for more than 11 hours in a day and you must conclude your hours with a 10-hour break.
Pay Can Vary
The majority of companies compensate drivers by the mile. Although, people are trying to get more companies to pay by the hour because delivery drivers don’t get paid when they aren’t delivering.
“Practical miles” pay based on every mile driven while on the job, but “paid miles” only pay for the miles required to go a straight-line from point A to point B (even though routes aren’t always straight.) Ways to increase your salary include becoming a trainer, being willing to haul oversize freight or hazardous materials, or your employer paying you a percentage of each load you move.
Expect to either do “drop and hooks” or live loading and unloading, which takes two to three hours each (unpaid). An OTR driver pretty much never has to unload any freight, but you are reliant on various shipping and receiving departments to stick to your strict schedule.
Perks of the Job
The first and most obvious perk is the unique view of the country most people never get. For the most part, you drive modern trucks with comfortable, ergonomic seats to keep you alerted and focused. These seats also keep you from tension injury. This is important because your working days are spent in a cab — don’t let that limit your imagination or ambition.