A Day in the Life of a Long-Haul Trucker

A Day in the Life of a Long-Haul Trucker
March 06 10:29 2017 Print This Article


At the crack of dawn, you can hear the low rumble of idling truck engines at any truck stop. The trucks pull away one-by-one, gradually leaving a virtually empty lot that will start filling up again just before lunch. It is an ongoing cycle that defines the typical day for a truck driver.

Truck driving jobs are in ample supply here in the U.S. Some statistics suggest trucking companies are short upwards of 40,000 drivers right now; that number could be off a few thousand depending on the statistics you believe. At any rate, to say that truck driving is an integral part of what makes the economy work is to state the obvious. We need to keep trucks moving. That means encouraging more young people to enter the truck driving profession.

Perhaps you’ve thought about driving truck yourself. If so, it might be helpful to know what a typical day in the life of a long-haul trucker looks like. Keep reading to learn more.

  • Setting the Daily Schedule

Long-haul truckers do not necessarily work on a set schedule. They agree to take a load and have it delivered on a specific date, sometimes at a particular time. It is then up to them to get to their destinations on schedule without violating federal hours-of-service regulations.

Some drivers prefer to follow a typical daytime schedule. They start driving as soon as the sun is up so that they are done for the day by mid-to-late afternoon. Others prefer to drive through the night when there is less traffic to deal with. It is a simple matter of preference.

  • Pickup and Delivery of Freight

Truck drivers who tend to haul dry goods vans, reefer vans and tankers rarely have to deal with loading and unloading. They have what are known as ‘hook and drop’ jobs. Truckers hauling flatbed trailers are not as fortunate. Flatbed truckers usually have to supervise the loading and unloading of freight as they are responsible for cargo from end-to-end. On the other hand, they tend to earn more because of the extra work they need to do.

  • Mandatory Rest Periods

Federal regulations require truck drivers to get a minimum of 10 hours of consecutive rest at the end of the workday. There are both 11- and 14-hour rules (that’s working hours) that can be used to determine how much time is spent driving and how much is resting. At any rate, drivers must also log their on- and off-duty time. Logs can be inspected by the authorities at roadside stops and weigh/inspection stations.

  • Exercise and Meals

One of the biggest challenges of truck driving jobs is getting enough exercise to stay healthy. At C.R. England, for example, company officials encourage drivers to get regular exercise whenever possible. It can be as simple as walking for 15 to 20 minutes per day or doing calisthenics outside the truck.

As for meals, too many truck drivers rely on truck stops, but there are those who have chosen to learn to cook so as to live by a healthier diet. It’s really up to the driver. But as with anything else, eating healthier leads to better overall health in the long run.

  • Off-Duty Time

Your average long-haul trucker operates a vehicle with an onboard sleeping berth. This is where the majority of off-duty time is spent. Sleeping berths come equipped with beds, small workspaces, and electronic gadgets such as TVs and computers.

Long-haul trucking is a great career for people who like the open road. You might consider it if you’re just embarking on your career.

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Alec Harris
Alec Harris

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