Chances are we pass them every day on the highway, but when you see a tractor trailer pass you, do you ever wonder what a typical day in the life of a truck driver is like? Much like the world of corporate office jobs, there are some truck driving jobs that are fairly routine, these typically have drivers with dedicated runs, and then there is expedited trucking where the driver is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. For the latter, there is no typical day. One week, it may be totally dead; the second week, the same run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with nothing in between; and the third week, a run from Chicago to New York City, followed by pick up in New Jersey and going to Oklahoma City, and then driving back home, tired. But supposing we can generalize the typical truck driving day, here is a small snapshot of a likely day behind the wheel. Today, the telephone rings at 8:30 in the morning, and the dispatcher has a load that picks up in two hours approximately 30 miles away in Rockford, Illinois, and delivers straight through to an automotive plant in Kansas City, Missouri. Agreeing to take the load, the driver takes a shower, eats a quick breakfast, packs a travel bag, and heads out the front door. Upon approaching the truck, the driver does a visual walk-around inspection, pops the hood of the truck, and checks the oil. After all, this truck is six years old and has nearly 700,000 miles on it: Good trucks only make it this long without any major engine overhauls because a good driver takes care of it. The driver programs the GPS with the destination address and takes off, down the road. After making the pick up on time and securing the load, another walk-around inspection and entering the next address into the GPS, the driver sees that this 480 mile trip will take approximately seven and a half hours of driving, not including a stop to fuel up the truck. At this point, the driver has a cushion of when it has to get there of almost two hours. The basic route is I39 south to I88 west to Iowa, where the driver will pick up I80 west to I35 south into Kansas City. Runs like this are routine as most of it is interstate highway. Some runs require extensive travel on secondary two-lane highways that go through many small towns. The driver pulls into the automotive plant in Kansas City at 6:15 p.m. The customer is delighted that the package arrived safely in good time. As the customer signs for the freight, the driver’s phone rings. It is the dispatcher eager for an update on the driver’s progress. Whether being a truck driver interests you or not, learning more about what other’s do on a day to day basis can help provide you with a better understanding of people and the diversity of jobs out there.
Shelly is a contributing writer for truckertotrucker.com, a site where people can buy and sell used trucks and learn about options for bad credit semi truck financing.