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A Day in the Life of a Truck Driver

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Understanding the career of being a long-haul trucker and what it involves on a daily basis

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Our country’s economy depends on truck drivers hauling shipments of goods across the land every day. Although you’re surrounded by them whenever you’re on the highway, the actual career of a big-rig trucker is probably one you’re not familiar with.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like being a truck driver or are considering it as a career, here is an overview of what an average day driving a semi-trailer truck is like.


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What Is An Average Day for a Trucker Like?

Your morning starts off at around the same time that most adults wake up, between 5am and 6am. This might be the fifth day you’ve been on the road and you have another two to go. If you’re driving a day cab, then you probably slept in a rest area or facility that offers overnight accommodations. If you’re driving a sleeper cab, you utilized the bunk bed behind the driver’s seat.

Either way, you go through your morning routine, which includes washing up, getting coffee, grabbing some breakfast. As you eat, you’re checking your messages, seeing what the weather is like today, checking in with dispatch if necessary, and planning the next leg of the route. Then, you’ll look over the truck for any issues, like tire damage, severe leaks, or loose items. Swing by the gas pump on the way out and fill up before hitting the road.

Throughout the day, you’ll be focused behind the wheel, watching for tiny cars darting around you and slow vehicles ahead you could get stuck behind. you’ve got an audio book playing in the background as you’re in “the zone.” After crossing into the next state, you swing by a weigh station to get everything in order before continuing on.

When you stop for lunch at a convenience station, you check in with your family and chat with some fellow drivers who are also taking a break.

Back on the road for the next stretch until you finish at dinnertime (or until you need a restroom break). This afternoon, you pass through a rainstorm and consider if the weather is bad enough to warrant shutting down until it passes. But, the clouds break and you continue until you reach your next projected stop for the night. You get on the CB and ask for a good place to park and eat in town, then maybe take a taxi to go see a movie before heading back to your truck for the night to call home and get some rest.

In total, you’ll drive about 9 hours that day, unless you’re trying to meet a docking deadline that day. If you’re short on time, you might push through for longer in the night so you can get to the drop point the next morning, keeping an eye on the DOT clock to avoid committing any violations. Another couple days, and you’ll be done with this route and headed back for a couple days of Hometime.


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Sources: AllTrucking.com, The Guardian