Trucking Day To Day- What To Expect From A Trucking Job
Unless you get lucky to find a truck driving job that is strictly a dedicated or daily run, chances are you will be quite familiar with trucking life on the road in a couple years. But, until then, we can try to fill you in a bit on what it is like to live out here in your truck. What it takes to be prepared, what to watch out for as far as pitfalls, scams, danger zones, etc. There is a lot of really great things to do out here too, don’t let me get you worried about all you may encounter out here. There are just a few normal happenings or encounters you may face in certain places to park around our nation.
Having a cell phone and a cheap plan to start will be a given. Should you need to call a customer or call for help, you will need one eventually. Get a nationwide, no long distance plan. Even if you are going local or regional after training, you still will most likely to be all over the place in training. Being away from home can be a drag, especially if you never have ventured away from home for any great length of time. Keep in my potential students, you will be away from home for 2 months more than likely, without many breaks. Some companies have a program to go home midway, just be advised and prepared for this. I will tell you this only from witnessing it many times over, I want you to know what you have ahead of you.
I stayed out 8-13 weeks at a time in past years. But, now that seems a little long since I do not have to train drivers anymore. My wife doesn’t see me much, but we have got used to the job and what it brings. Since I changed companies this last year, I made it home more often, and my wife didn’t know what to do with me… just kidding.
Having entertainment aboard, no..not lot lizards…, may help break the boredom. I use my laptop and do web publishing as you see here. This website was written from my truck. Books are a great pastime and make time go by. You may have a hand craft that can bring along. Pc games are my thing, you may elect for a console gaming system to pass the time and save you a bunch of money not feeding the video games in the truck stops. You can run a small 350 watt inverter that plugs in via cigar lighter and get away with it even in a company truck. Check and see what the wattage requirements are for the new systems.
Be Prepared For Downtime
Having a good supply of food for emergencies and general munching is a good rule. I have a frig and microwave to heat food up. You can keep micro meals too, but you may have to use the micro in the truck stop to heat it. They use a lot of juice and company trucks do not allow wired in inverters in most cases. I own my own truck, so I do what I want. Make that a goal if you want to. Carry water in bulk as you can, several gallons so you do not get dehydrated out here. You change altitude and climate a lot. Keep hydrated, especially in summer heat. Keep medicines that you may need for a case of bad food, headache, etc. Truck stop food is generally good, if you order fresh and not the buffet. It depends on how busy they are and if they keep the buffet supplies up. You will need soap and paper towels, personal wipes also do very well for getting freshened up.
Keep a can of Gunk engine cleaner and lots of paper towels when you get close to the 5th wheel area and get grease on you, yes, it’s gonna happen at least once. Spray soap to take off the gunk cleaner, it’s the only thing to effectively clean that kind of grease off you. Keep larger amounts of personal supplies as it’s expensive to buy at a truck stop. You will need a nice duffle bag with a shoulder strap to walk in for your shower. You should be able to fit your shampoo, conditioner, etc. and your change of clothes in this bag. You get your showers for free if you fuel at least 50 gallons, sometimes 75. Get and keep a driver payback card for each truck stop brand you stop at, you will need this for swiping at fueling to get your shower. You also accumulate points that you can trade in for neat stuff like movies, gifts, stuff for the truck, etc.
Road Hazards When Driving Truck
Life on the road can be a lot of fun most days, but it is what you make of it. Try not to let the traffic bummers get you down. Watch out for people cutting in front of you to take an exit. This happens to me daily, so be prepared. Also, watch out for the people merging, they must merge and meet the traffic flow. They do not always do a good job of it, watch for the chicken who gets to the end of the ramp with you slowing to let them in, and them hitting the brakes. It happens everyday, watch for these things. Then the ones who roll down the shoulder, with a vehicle on your left you may not be able to get over. Then watch as they look at you like you are trying to kill them, and they tell you are number one by the salute you get, boneheads.
The people on cell phones really get me, even truckers who do it. Most of us have bluetooth or a wired headset, but some don’t. Try to keep the concentration on what you are doing. I try to use my bluetooth at all times, we have to make calls sometimes for the job. The drivers you see from your perch high above will give you a new idea as what goes on in these cars etc. Like the gal changing clothes while driving, or the guy reading the paper in morning traffic, or doing office paperwork while going down the road. We have to look at a notebook for directions to the shipper or consignee, that’s part of the job. Keep a handy size notepad for such info, you will be using it daily. I keep a record of every trip I have ever pulled going back almost 9 years. That way when I look back and see a problem, I can refer to my notes.
They have handy trip recorder notebooks for sale, or just use a cheaper plain notebook. I would say keep a supply of pens handy too. You will need a logbook holder and a ruler. This is if you are not working at a company that uses the qualcom like Werner. You will still have to do paper logs in training, so be ready for it.
As time rolls on and I have more time to produce more videos and and more information, I will try and post it here. I am a working trucker, I have to keep the wheels moving to make a living just like all the others, so check in from time to time and try to put me in favorites or bookmark me so you can find me again. Email me for help if you really can’t find the answer to your questions, I will try and answer it or steer you the right way.