This is a guest blog written by Nadeem Ghori for CDL Knowledge. Nadeem Ghori is the Content Manager and Web Developer at Webplex Inc. with over ten years of professional experience. He’s an expert in e-learning and online course generation.
When it comes to choosing a career, a life on the road as a truck driver may seem like the perfect move. The freedom of the open highway, good wages and the opportunity to see every corner of the country beckons many to take this lucrative career path every year. But, as with anything in life, with the positives come negatives, too.
Life on the road is not for everyone, nor is it for the faint of heart. While there are many advantages to becoming a truck driver, you should not dive into this line of work without considering the downsides. So before you launch into getting your CDL, achieving relevant endorsements and sitting for your air brakes test
, to give you a better insight into the life of a truck driver, here are 5 realities about life on the road that you need to consider.
1. You’ll Be Away… A Lot!
This may seem like an obvious part of being a truck driver but when you really consider what it means to be away from home, you may rethink your career options. Most truck drivers can’t fully determine their schedules, so missing birthdays, family get-togethers and other major events are par for the course.
And it’s not just the big events that you’ll miss out on. While you’re away, life at home continues on as normal. For some, that may not be a huge problem, but for others, especially those with young families, it can be a tough pill to swallow. When the only real communication with your children is via phone or video messaging and you cannot be there to do the normal ‘mundane’ things with your family like making breakfast or watching a movie, the time you spend away from them may take its toll.
2. Burnout Is Real
Many truck drivers work huge hours with minimal days off during stints out on the road. While there are laws determining what is considered safe in terms of driving hours, sometimes burnout is inevitable. With the knowledge that they’re getting paid by the mile, some truck drivers end up working under conditions that are not conducive to keeping stress and burnout at bay.
Most truck drivers sleep in the cab of their truck and don’t get as much sleep as they would in their own bed at home. Often, they drive at night so they can reach their destination without traffic hindering them, which in turn, flips their body clock, making it harder to sleep when they do try.
When truck drivers do get downtime in between their driving time, the environment they’re in rarely allows for adequate rest. There is no comfy couch to kick back on, nor a bath to ease your tired body into.
3. Forget About Creature Comforts
Truck drivers generally have to make do with what they’ve got in their cab and what they can find on the road. There are no creature comforts here!
And while you might think that the lack of luxuries is something you can live with, first think about the situations in which you might need them. What about when you’re sick? When you’re tired? When you’re bored?! Can you go without them then?
4. Relationships Can Be Hard
Maintaining a relationship can be extremely challenging when you’re away all the time. That’s not to say relationships will not work between truck drivers and their loved ones at home, but it does add another layer of complexity to life on the road.
Between missing your partner and dealing with the stress of not being with them, being able to deal with this kind of long-distance relationship takes time, effort and understanding from both parties.
5. Staying Healthy Can Be A Challenge
Being on the road can often lead to a somewhat unhealthy lifestyle. Often you’re at the mercy of what you can pick up at gas stations and diners for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Many truck drivers do have a small fridge or pantry in their trucks, but space for fresh fruits and vegetables and the option for a home-cooked meal is not realistic. But it’s not just about what truck drivers eat, it’s about when.
So many drivers just want to get to their next destination and they frequently skip meals or eat at random times during the day.
What’s more, a truck driver may become sick more often than if he was at home. Between not properly looking after themselves, not sleeping properly, and constantly moving through different environments, drivers regularly pick up colds and the flu.
With all that said, life on the road can be a lucrative and enjoyable career for those who are happy to take the good with the bad. For some, the solitude of driving throughout the country every day may actually be just what they’re looking for! As with anything, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and make a decision that’s right for you.