Being a CDL driver can become more of a lifestyle than a job, especially if you do long-haul routes. A driver can spend upwards of 300 days per year on the road, which certainly limits the time you spend at home. If you have valuable, close relationships and a family to consider, there should be a collaborative discussion before taking on a truck driving position. However, because of the demand for drivers, plenty of regional opportunities are available. Think about the following points before taking a long-haul position.
Living in a Truck
Many truck drivers have a home-base, but there are also some who make the commitment to solely live in their truck. Either way, you have to remember that everything you take with you has to fit, so having the right amount of space to accommodate your belongings and lifestyle is important.
Flat roof, mid-roof, and raised roof cabs are popular for long-haul trucking. The less vertical height the less space, if you plan on living in your cab a raised roof or condo-style cab would be the best decision. These cabs give the most amount of space to potentially accommodate a couple who wants to travel the road together while maintaining a minimalist lifestyle. Getting creative with storage solutions is also a must. Try using hanging cubes to store close more efficiently and use the outside pockets for toiletries. Another great option is to find hanging travel toiletry bags that can instead be used for cutlery, seasonings, and quick-grab snacks.
Many drivers find this to be the most challenging part of long-haul driving. Being alone can also make it easy to get in your own head and make situations worse, so stay out of there. Also, think about investing in some audiobooks or some upbeat music to keep your mind full of entertainment during those long stretches of highway.
You can also switch it up and do some local routes if that’s an option. If local routes are out of the question makes the absolute most of your time when you are home or even see about taking your spouse/significant other with you. Plan in advance of your trip some fun activities with your family or friends so you know you have something awesome to look forward to once you’re home.
As a long-haul driver, there may be opportunities to create a schedule that better fits your preferences. If you’re an early riser, then you can get up early to start your route or if you consider yourself a night owl then driving through the night may be your preference. That may sound great but it’s also important to consider the potential for the long days and work weeks. Currently, truck drivers can work up to 11 hours per day and no more than 70 hours per week before they are required to take a break for 34 hours consecutively.
These rules are also strictly followed. Employers can face fines of up to $11,000 per offense and drivers up to $2,750 per offense.
There are numerous pros and cons to making the choice to be a long-haul trucker. Educating yourself and knowing what is the best choice for you is incredibly important. If you find yourself not being cut out for long-haul routes that’s okay because of dozens of other ways to utilize a CDL and make a living behind the wheel.