Updated: Nov 1, 2021
Truck drivers live a very unique life on the road. Inconsistent sleep schedules, cooking in the truck, and finding places to park for the night are just a few of the things a trucker deals with every day that the average person does not. Many people would not be able to handle 250 days on the road like the average truck driver is able to.
However, it’s not all bad. When you spend enough time on the road, you are able to get used to this type of life. Also, over the years, many things have gotten better for truck drivers which has made living in the truck easier.
Let’s take a look at a truckers life on the road and learn a little more about the truck driver lifestyle.
What is it like to live in a truck?
Having to live your life in a truck can definitely feel crammed. This is because your whole house is basically an 8-foot by 10-foot box. These small dimensions make staying neat and organized a challenge. As you continue to accumulate stuff, it continuously gets more difficult to find a place for it all. This is especially true if you collect things that you think you need but never end up using again.
However, one of the nice parts about living in your truck is that it’s all your space. You can keep it as clean or as dirty as you want and it’s easy to have privacy. Whenever you want, you can get in the back of your truck, close the curtain, and nobody will really bother you. Also, the creature comforts have gotten better, which means it isn’t that bad to just hang out in the truck. The ability to use the A/C in the truck has become a lot easier and there are now microwaves, shelves, tv mounts, refrigerators, and nicer mattresses available. Lastly, living in your truck means there is no real commute from home to the office. When you wake up, you are already where you need to be in order to get the workday started.
What does a trucker's weekly and daily schedule look like?
Weekly schedules on the road vary from truck driver to truck driver. Some truckers drive the same set route every week. This means they are either home every night of the week or they are home the same day of the week, every week.
Other truckers drive irregular routes and don’t know what their schedule is going to look like week to week. Irregular routes can be caused by a variety of things from carriers telling their drivers to go wherever they are needed, to owner-operators using load boards to find one-time freight to haul. There are pros and cons to each type of weekly schedule and it really just depends on personal preference.
A truck driver only has so much control over what their daily schedule looks like. Things like hours of service, the time it takes to get loaded or unloaded, planning for parking, and many other factors will determine how their day will look.
Wake up times usually vary depending on the time they were able to get finished the day before. In the morning, a trucker may leave themselves some time before they go on duty in order to get ready for the day. After they are ready, they go on duty and do their pre-trip inspection before they hit the road for the day. After that, every day is different depending on the load. A driver can either drive the entire day or spend time at a receiver or shipper getting loaded or unloaded in order to go to the next shipper or receiver. When driving is completed for the day and the post-trip has been finished, truckers have time to do whatever it is they need to do before they get back on the road.
What do truckers like to do when they are done driving for the day?
What a truck driver will do when they are done driving for the day depends on if they are a company driver or an owner-operator. Company drivers don’t have much to worry about in terms of trucking when they are done for the day. They are able to unwind, go on their phone, watch TV, talk to family or friends, etc.
Owner-operators are able to do this as well, they may just have more responsibilities to tend to beforehand. Owner-operators have to be business owners as well as truck drivers, which means they may have paperwork to organize, maintenance on their truck they have to get fixed, customers they need to call, or other drivers that drive under their authority that they have to contact. Once all of an owner-operators business duties are done, they can go on to do whatever they want to do for the rest of the day.
What are the relationships like with other truck drivers?
The relationships truck drivers have with one another looks different today than it did in the past. Today, it’s not as common for drivers to get out of the truck and converse amongst one another. Instead, it’s more common to see drivers scrolling through their phones rather than speaking with others. This isn’t a knock on truck drivers as this is how most of society operates in general. Because of this, drivers don’t really sit at a counter anymore and have group conversations like they used to.
However, this doesn’t mean that truckers don’t have any type of relationship with other truckers. Many of the conversations that used to happen in person may now happen online on social media or trucking specific forums. Also, many still have truck driver friends that they are able to call while they are driving and others may have friends that they see at the truck stops each week on their dedicated route.
How do truckers stay healthy on the road?
Staying healthy as a truck driver on the road has been a big initiative for the trucking industry overall. There are now countless programs devoted to helping truck drivers live a healthy lifestyle through eating right and exercise. However, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t take hard work to stay healthy on the road.
When a trucker is done for the day, they are able to get out of the truck and walk around to stretch their legs out and try to burn a few calories. However, some drivers aren’t done until late at night and either don’t want to walk around in the dark or they are too tired and need to relax. With some of the amenities in the truck like refrigerators and crockpots, truck drivers now have an easier time cooking healthier meals on the road. Similar to exercising however, if a driver doesn’t get done until late at night, they may just want to grab a quick meal and go to bed.
With the proper mindset, truck drivers have the ability to stay healthy on the road. But the combination of the time, money, and effort it takes to live a healthy lifestyle makes it hard for everybody to do so.
How do truckers stay entertained on the road?
While driving, there are so many safe options for truckers to stay entertained. With satellite radio, music streaming apps on the phone, podcasts, and audiobooks it’s become easier to keep from getting bored on the road. Also, with hands-free headsets, it’s simple for truckers to talk to others on the phone.
Technology has also made it easier to stay entertained while being shut down. Some trucks have monitors that can be connected to laptops or Blu-ray players in order to watch T.V. or movies in the truck. Phones and tablets can also connect to the internet which makes it easy to watch videos or play games. Depending on where you are at, you can also walk or take Uber or Lyft to places like the mall, a movie theatre, restaurants, and many other places to stay entertained. Drivers can also spend their time cleaning and organizing the truck.
However, most places are pretty good about keeping truckers moving, so they don’t really have to keep themselves entertained while being shut down for too long.
What do truck drivers typically wear?
The wardrobe of truck drivers is as varied as what you would see anywhere. Some truck drivers don’t really care how they look when they are on the road and may not take pride in their appearance. However, many are clean, neat, and presentable.
For truckers, the image should matter a lot. This includes both the way you present yourself and how you look. Companies can get complimented about their professionalism just by the way their drivers take care of themselves. On the other end of the spectrum, drivers who do not take pride in their appearance can have a negative effect and carriers could actually lose business for unprofessionalism.
The Truck Driver Lifestyle Is Different For Everybody
Not every truck driver lives the same lifestyle. And, there are many other parts of this lifestyle that weren’t even touched on. This is just a glimpse of what a truckers life is like. As time goes on, it will be interesting to see how the truck driver lifestyle changes over the years to come.