With the shortage of drivers in the United States, now is a perfect time to apply to be a truck driver! However, do not be fooled. Being a truck driver is no easy feat. Many people get into this industry not knowing that they are not cut out to be a driver. This isn’t one of those “try and see” situations, so how do you know you actually have what it takes to be a truck driver? There are many other characteristics that you should consider before you decide to start your truck driving career, but if you think you want to be a truck driver, consider these four things!
So, You Want to be a Truck Driver? Four Things to Consider
1. First things first: You better love to drive – and safely, at that.
While this is super basic, it is a fundamental requirement. If you don’t like or aren’t comfortable driving long distances, how could you possibly lead a career in truck driving? If you get bored when driving short distances, or constantly stop every 45 minutes, consider a different career path. Driving a truck is not the same as driving a really big car. These trucks are not the same trucks you played with as a kid. Trucks are large, heavy pieces of equipment that drivers must operate safely. Enjoying driving, and having the attention span to drive for a long time, are key if you want to be a truck driver.
2. Driving is a waiting game.
If you want to be a truck driver, you are going to need patience and a lot of it! Driving is a lot of waiting: waiting at truck stops, waiting at loading docks, waiting in bad traffic. If you find that you have a pretty serious case of road rage, or have trouble being patient, maybe you don’t want to be a truck driver.
3. Gratitude for solitude
Truck drivers spend tremendous amounts of time alone. Unless you are driving with a partner, you can expect to drive upwards of 500 miles a day by yourself. You will be spending hours by yourself. When you have a tough day, there isn’t necessarily going to be someone there to encourage you for tomorrow. Of course, you get to listen to the radio and see our beautiful country in a way most people don’t, and never will, but if you cannot be by yourself for an extended period of time, truck driving is probably not for you.
4. A clean record
Crashes involving trucks are very expensive, and trucking companies want to do everything in their power to reduce that liability as much as possible. So, even if you are able to get your CDL, you’re going to have a tough time finding a job if you have any tickets or violations; the more serious the offense, the less likely you will get a job.
In addition to traffic violations, also consider drug and alcohol use. The law holds CDL holders to a higher standard when it comes to the legal alcohol limit. The legal limit for a person with a CDL is 0.04%, compared to 0.08% for non-CDL holders. In some states, commercial license holders are held to that standard even if they’re in their own car. As part of your pre-employment and thereafter, you will be subject to random drug and alcohol tests. If you’re involved in a crash, even if it is not your fault, you will be tested for drugs and alcohol. Any amount of alcohol that is detected in your system while you’re driving a commercial vehicle, even if lower than 0.04%, will result in a 24-hour out of service order. If you refuse to test, it is the same as testing positive, and that is a “kiss of death” in the trucking industry.
If you’re still reading this, you’re most likely thinking that you’re cut out for a truck driving job. Your next step should be to find someone who has been driving for a long time and talk to them. Someone with years of experience can answer the questions that no driving school is ever going to tell you. Truck driving can be a successful and rewarding career path. Find trucking jobs today!