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Poll

Should I become a truck driver?

yes
- 18 (85.7%)
no
- 3 (14.3%)

Total Members Voted: 21


Author Topic: Considering doing truck driving as a career  (Read 5298 times)

US 41

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Considering doing truck driving as a career
« on: May 19, 2015, 07:48:40 PM »

Well I really want to travel a lot, and long haul truck drivers definitely get to. I have no issue driving 10 or 12 hours in a day. I really just love to drive. I drove to Chicago and back from Terre Haute for no reason on Saturday. I only stopped once the whole trip (6 hour trip) and that was to get gas. I feel as if I have a calling to be a truck driver. A big plus would be that I'd actually get paid for doing something I love to do anyways. Any thoughts on this.

I don't know if this is possible at all, but I wouldn't have a problem taking loads to Canada and Mexico either.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2015, 07:51:33 PM by US 41 »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2015, 08:22:34 PM »

I am not a truck driver and never have been, but it has become a pretty rigidly regulated business over the past 20 or 25 years.

Companies track their drivers (and trucks) with GPS units these days, and the federal hours-of-service regulations apply if you venture more than 100 air miles from your home base.

I do not believe it is especially well-paying these days either.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2015, 08:40:49 PM »

Remember that depending on the job you get, you may be travelling all around the country...or you may travel the same route.  Every day.  For years.

And depending on the job, there's more to it than just driving a truck.  Will you have to load and unload the truck?  Are you going to get stuck at truck weigh stations?  Are you going to get stuck in traffic, with the destination not caring that you are stuck in traffic?  What if you get to your destination and it's closed, and now you're waiting around for someone to arrive?  What if your truck breaks down?  Are you mechincally inclined?  Do you know all the safety checks you have to perform before you get out on the road?  Are you willing to take the ticket for bad brakes or bad lights or improper load or any one of thousands of regulations trucks have to follow?

Truck driving is definitely way more involved than just a road trip!
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briantroutman

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2015, 08:42:02 PM »

I don’t think anyone here can answer that question for you. The driving aspect—being on the road—is what you really want. But I think whether you can be a successful professional driver and enjoy your job or not will come down to whether you can tolerate (and adjust to) the other things that separate being a full-time trucker from being a car driver on a road trip.

First, there are the differences that separate a truck from a car. Not only does that typically mean driving a vehicle with a manual transmission, but it’s a non-synchronized manual transmission, and so you have to double-clutch to shift gears. Just look up “double clutch 10-speed” on YouTube to see some examples. Also, it takes time to master the peculiarities of managing such a large, articulated vehicle—not the least of which is backing up to a loading dock. But don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that you can’t do it—you probably can—but I don’t think you’ll really know whether you like it until you get behind the wheel of a Freightliner or International.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle, though, is learning to live with the lifestyle. If you’re driving OTR across the country, you’ll probably be showering less often (and at truck stops), using public toilets that might not be impressively clean, and sleeping in a berth with constant diesel engine noise around you. And it might strain relations with family and friends—which may or may not be an issue for you. Of course you could get a more local or regional job (perhaps with a less-than-load or LTL company) where you’d be home regularly and might avoid some of these challenges. But I gather that LTL and regional runs are considered more attractive jobs and are harder to get—particularly when you’re starting out. Also, if you’re interested in driving from a roadgeeking perspective, you might tire of driving the same route—say Indianapolis to Effingham and back—every day.

But if you decide to go ahead with it—I do have one piece of advice from drivers I’ve spoken with: Get trained on your own dime through a trucking school or community college and then apply for work. Some companies will claim to offer “paid training”, but they’re really calculating an inflated cost for their training program, then subtracting that from their already low per-mile pay rate when you start driving. So you end up stuck in a contract with a carrier for several months to a year while your take-home pay might be as low as a couple of hundred or less per week.

If you decide to go for it—good luck.
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SignGeek101

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2015, 08:56:31 PM »

Don't forget about self-driving trucks. I'm not sure how long you want to work in the trucking business, but I think within 30 years, we'll have self driving trucks.

Want to do it for a few years? Go for it. As long as you can drive long distances and enjoy it.

hbelkins

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2015, 05:08:07 PM »

One roadgeek whom a lot of us have met -- Ed Szuba from the Pittsburgh area, who may or may not be a member here -- began driving a truck when he lost his job several months ago. Best I can tell, he seems to like it.
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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2015, 05:18:45 PM »

One roadgeek whom a lot of us have met -- Ed Szuba from the Pittsburgh area, who may or may not be a member here -- began driving a truck when he lost his job several months ago. Best I can tell, he seems to like it.

There's a couple of others as well, SteveG1988 and Crazy Volvo Guy (who I've met - St Louis meet).
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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2015, 01:24:26 PM »

Also keep in mind that "professional driver" is one of the most dangerous jobs you can have in the United States.  Not many other careers where at least one person doing that job dies every single day of the year.
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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2015, 03:11:33 PM »

Don't forget about self-driving trucks. I'm not sure how long you want to work in the trucking business, but I think within 30 years, we'll have self driving trucks.

Want to do it for a few years? Go for it. As long as you can drive long distances and enjoy it.
30 years is much more than "a few years".

I'm convinced that we won't see completely autonomous, driver-less road vehicles in less than 10-15 years, perhaps more. His potential job is not in jeopardy in the least.
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SteveG1988

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2015, 03:32:49 PM »

It is a long hard job, some parts of the industry is full of hurry up and wait while you get unloaded or loaded. You have to change your sleep schedule at a moment's notice for some of these loads.
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allniter89

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2015, 03:40:07 PM »

Well I really want to travel a lot, and long haul truck drivers definitely get to. I have no issue driving 10 or 12 hours in a day. I really just love to drive. I drove to Chicago and back from Terre Haute for no reason on Saturday. I only stopped once the whole trip (6 hour trip) and that was to get gas. I feel as if I have a calling to be a truck driver. A big plus would be that I'd actually get paid for doing something I love to do anyways. Any thoughts on this.

I don't know if this is possible at all, but I wouldn't have a problem taking loads to Canada and Mexico either.
Well I really want to travel a lot, and long haul truck drivers definitely get to. I have no issue driving 10 or 12 hours in a day. I really just love to drive. I drove to Chicago and back from Terre Haute for no reason on Saturday. I only stopped once the whole trip (6 hour trip) and that was to get gas. I feel as if I have a calling to be a truck driver. A big plus would be that I'd actually get paid for doing something I love to do anyways. Any thoughts on this.

I don't know if this is possible at all, but I wouldn't have a problem taking loads to Canada and Mexico either.
Here is a truck driver forum I read. http://www.thetruckersreport.com/truckingindustryforum/
You will find alot of helpful/interesting info there.
Quote
A big plus would be that I'd actually get paid for doing something I love to do anyways.

That was the exact same thinking I had when I considered truck driving.
I drove 20 yrs 1989-2009. I also enjoy driving, I routinely go driving with no destination in mind. As others have mentioned there is SO MUCH MORE to truck driving than just driving & weigh stations, for example shippers taking 9+ hrs to load your trailier, receivers taking 9+ hours to unload your trailier (I'm looking at you WalMart Distribution Centers & most grocery whs), also heavy or stopped traffic, weather, bears & so much more to delay you & put you behind schedule. :banghead:
You will eat & sleep irregular hours, often working on less than the mandatory 10 hrs. You will probably eat ALOT of fast food, no time for a sit down meal! You might live in the truck for 6 wks or more before they allow you to go home for a few days. What I've mentioned is only a small part of the "bad" things about driving, there are too many for me to go into.
But don't get me wrong, truck driving is not all bad, there is alot to enjoy There is continuing debate among drivers whether truck driving is only a job or actually a lifestyle. If you drive otr & spend weeks at a time in the truck I think its a lifestyle because there is very little that is "normal" in truck driving, sleeping/eating odd hours, very little contact with anyone except truck drivers, spending alot of time alone in the truck talking to yourself & cursing the day to choose this career :eyebrow: :banghead:, umm, never mind /rant.
I enjoyed the 1st 12 years of driving, after that it was like "been here done this", same road, same load, you will drive the same hwys many many times. If you want to "sightsee" it will be as you drive by at 60 mph, and even then your attention should be on your driving.
I don't regret choosing truck driving as a career but it is not for everyone. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Quote
It is a long hard job, some parts of the industry is full of hurry up and wait while you get unloaded or loaded. You have to change your sleep schedule at a moment's notice for some of these loads.
Well put Steve  :clap:
« Last Edit: May 22, 2015, 03:47:25 PM by allniter89 »
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golden eagle

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2015, 12:19:40 AM »

To be honest, I don't think any of us can tell you what you think you can be. That's totally up to you. I do, however, believe that it's great that you're asking questions and getting advice about this. Also, do you know any truck drivers? I'd suggest talking to a few of them to see what they did to break into the business.

I wish you the best if you decide to do it.
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Crazy Volvo Guy

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2015, 08:34:40 AM »

It is a long hard job, some parts of the industry is full of hurry up and wait while you get unloaded or loaded. You have to change your sleep schedule at a moment's notice for some of these loads.

Doing dry vans, for a large carrier, I can count on one hand the number of times I've had to flip-flop my schedule in 2.75 years.

24-hour drop&hook windows FTW.

Flatbeddin' is better about this too, and especially about the unloads, if you can handle the physical work. (Many can't.)  You're dealing with a totally different bunch of people, waiting 7+ hours to be unloaded is pretty uncommon in the flatbed world, as are deliveries at times humans are not naturally meant to be awake.
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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2015, 06:21:17 PM »

If you enjoy driving, I think being a courier or an insurance claims adjuster (or a Google Street View driver) would probably be a more interesting career than driving a truck: more manageable vehicles, for starters. But I have no real idea how you get that sort of work.
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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2015, 12:56:10 AM »

What about driving for Uber or Lyft? Most areas don't require a CDL or anything special to do it, and it will at least give you a better idea if you really want to drive for a living. You might even be able to combine your hobbies and make a weekend road trip to somewhere that will have heavy demand for service (say a big convention is in town), get paid to drive around while you're down there, then head home with your trip paid for at the end of the weekend.
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SteveG1988

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2015, 02:18:53 PM »

For an example of just how weird it can get out here.

Loaded up 5/22/15 (1400 Hrs) Deliver 5/26/15 (0830) in Atlanta GA. From Dayton NJ. Due to a holiday i have had to space out my time on this load.

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US 41

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2015, 07:03:44 PM »

If you enjoy driving, I think being a courier or an insurance claims adjuster (or a Google Street View driver) would probably be a more interesting career than driving a truck: more manageable vehicles, for starters. But I have no real idea how you get that sort of work.

I've seriously considered driving either for Google or Bing. I'm just not real sure how to get hired for it. I need to do some more investigating. Driving the Google car wouldn't be a job at all for me. I'd be getting paid for what I love to do (drive). I read it pays $15 an hour, but I'd rather only make $15 an hour doing something I love than $20 or $30 doing something I don't really like to do.

EDIT: Apparently there are companies that will pay you to put advertisements on the side of your car. I might have to look into that too.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 07:30:36 PM by US 41 »
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Crazy Volvo Guy

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2015, 02:54:05 AM »

What about driving for Uber or Lyft? Most areas don't require a CDL or anything special to do it, and it will at least give you a better idea if you really want to drive for a living. You might even be able to combine your hobbies and make a weekend road trip to somewhere that will have heavy demand for service (say a big convention is in town), get paid to drive around while you're down there, then head home with your trip paid for at the end of the weekend.

The problem with this is the scumbag cities who think the best plan of action against these organizations is to go after the drivers rather than the company itself... so you risk being arrested and having your car stolen by the city.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 09:03:37 AM by US71 »
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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2015, 09:10:15 AM »

What about driving for Uber or Lyft? Most areas don't require a CDL or anything special to do it, and it will at least give you a better idea if you really want to drive for a living. You might even be able to combine your hobbies and make a weekend road trip to somewhere that will have heavy demand for service (say a big convention is in town), get paid to drive around while you're down there, then head home with your trip paid for at the end of the weekend.

The problem with this is the scumbag cities who think the best plan of action against these organizations is to go after the drivers rather than the company itself... so you risk being arrested and having your car stolen by the city.


A lot of that is pressure by local taxi companies to eliminate competition.

When I drove taxi, we were the only game in town. Then another company moved in, despite protests from my boss. It then became a game of trying to steal each other's fares.
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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2017, 11:41:58 AM »

Thread exhumation time!  If you're considering it, at least try to get your Class-A CDL and at least try to get hired and trained by a good trucking company.  Parts of it will be very difficult, but you'll never know until you try.

Truck driving is something I personally wanted to do a long time ago, but I went years without trying, because I kept talking myself out of it for multiple stupid reasons.  So I made myself miserable with office jobs and college degrees that would mostly only lead to more office jobs.  After I finished a degree in computer science because that's what I thought I should do, I decided, why not try to do something I actually want to do?  So I went to school for another four weeks, got my Class-A CDL, and immediately got hired as a trainee with an excellent trucking company.  A few days ago, I got my own company truck and started driving solo!  I've already clinched I-22, and I can only guess as to what highways I'll get to clinch next.

This is probably the best job for a roadgeek, unless you would prefer to be a traffic engineer.  This job is especially good for people who prefer to work alone.  Personally, I had considered traffic engineering, but people told me computer science/programming would be better for me, so I got that degree instead, but I found myself incredibly bored with it.  And, while I'm not certain, I suspect traffic engineering would have you in an office most of the time, and I imagine it would be frustrating to be physically removed from the sites for which you're trying to design.  I'd kind of rather be an architect/urban designer than a traffic engineer, but architecture has too many pretenses and too few jobs.

Also, when you get a CDL, I would advise that you at least try to learn and test on a truck with manual transmission, because if you test on a truck with automatic, you'll have a restriction on your license.  However, many of the big companies are going with automatic-transmission trucks these days.  They're easy to drive.  But the one thing that's difficult in any tractor-trailer is backing!  Backing will cause you hours of frustration, and you'll probably feel like giving up a few times.  It's a puzzle that you need to approach with your best problem-solving skills and persistence.  But you will get better at it the same way people get to Carnegie Hall.

And ignore all the talk about self-driving trucks!  Yes, they're a thing, but they aren't going to take over the industry for a very long time, if at all.  Truck driving jobs are still very plentiful.  Companies will come to you, offering sign-on bonuses, etc., because drivers are still very much in demand.

Trucking has also kept me very busy lately, which is why I haven't posted much to the forum in a while.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2018, 08:04:20 PM by stridentweasel »
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US 41

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2019, 05:59:49 PM »

This thread is 4 years old, but I finally decided to go to truck driving school.

I just got through the first week of school and I have no regrets. I absolutely love driving a truck and trailer. If you had told me on Monday (my first day driving) that I'd be driving through large towns and on the interstate comfortably I would have thought that you were crazy. My shifting today was really good. I was honestly shocked at how good I did. My straight line backs are really good. My offset needs a little work, and my parallel will definitely need worked on. I still have 2-3 weeks before I take my test, so I'm feeling good about where I'm at right now. Pre-trip is also a pain, but I know most of it now. I study it at least an hour everyday. I definitely have a lot to learn, but I think it will be a fun experience.

Trucking is definitely a big responsibility and I have a lot more respect for truck drivers in general. Once I get my license I plan on doing OTR in the US and Canada.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 06:11:11 PM by US 41 »
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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2019, 10:36:01 PM »

This thread is 4 years old, but I finally decided to go to truck driving school.

I just got through the first week of school and I have no regrets. I absolutely love driving a truck and trailer. If you had told me on Monday (my first day driving) that I'd be driving through large towns and on the interstate comfortably I would have thought that you were crazy. My shifting today was really good. I was honestly shocked at how good I did. My straight line backs are really good. My offset needs a little work, and my parallel will definitely need worked on. I still have 2-3 weeks before I take my test, so I'm feeling good about where I'm at right now. Pre-trip is also a pain, but I know most of it now. I study it at least an hour everyday. I definitely have a lot to learn, but I think it will be a fun experience.

Trucking is definitely a big responsibility and I have a lot more respect for truck drivers in general. Once I get my license I plan on doing OTR in the US and Canada.

Best of luck and safe travels!
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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2019, 08:52:54 AM »

I drove a truck OTR for 3 years. Been to 47 states (never made it to North Dakota in a truck), into Canada, and all 4 corners of the US. I was really good at it, but only did it to pay off debt. Now I am back in my older career of teaching.

Any questions, feel free to ask me...I'd be happy to help!
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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2019, 10:41:41 AM »

Since nobody will hire me in my preferred field of GIS mapping (I've had two jobs but I've been laid off due to external factors from both places), I have considered at times to go to truck driving school as they are advertising all over the local radio stations.
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jon daly

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Re: Considering doing truck driving as a career
« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2019, 06:22:14 PM »

Not sure if this is too much of a digression, but I saw a pickup truck hauling an intermodal container yesterday. Not sure if this is a trend. I've seen them haul cars before, but this is a first for me.
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