The next time you find everything you need on the shelves of your local grocery store, say a silent prayer for the truckers. You may not realize it, but these guys are responsible for putting food on your table. Domestic shipping will come to a halt if the trucking industry suddenly has a downfall. And a truck driver’s life involves spending the majority of their time on the roads, away from their loved ones, and lack the recognition other essential services get.
However, the supply chain is heavily dependent on them. The trucking industry is a big part of the US economy: around 902,000 individuals find their livelihood by being on the roads.
If you have ever wondered what an average day in a truck driver’s life was like, we have the answers below:
What It’s Like Being a Truck Driver
Drive, drive, drive: this is essentially what a trucker’s average day is. Even as there is some talk of driverless trucks, the execution is so far unpromising, and the future will still need truck drivers. Here is how most truckers cope with their job:
The Average Routine of a Trucker
The majority of truckers hit the road before 5 am, if not earlier. A trucker checks the weather forecast and the route before taking their vehicle to the road. A thorough truck inspection is carried out to avoid any problems while driving.
Once they hit the road, they endure long, monotonous hours of driving. The federal law restricts the maximum time allowed for a trucker to be on the road to 11 hours per day. Truck drivers are also expected to make their delivery on time by the logistics company they work for, so an average driver is under quite some pressure to ensure they can get to the destination in time.
However, several factors are not in their control, such as slow vehicles on the road or faulty vehicles.
Coping With a Monotonous Routine
Truckers are unable to take many breaks while on the road, and are usually paid only for the time they drive, which cuts into their earnings. This means that truck drivers need hobbies to unwind once their shift ends and they are off the road. Some truckers keep a laptop with them and watch a movie, while others play games such as online poker.
Truckers are prone to several mental health disorders including loneliness, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. One of the biggest mental health problems truckers face is loneliness, affecting every one in four truckers in the aforementioned survey. Truckers have to stay away from their family for extended periods of time, and may not see them for weeks, causing them to get lonely and detached.
Being on the road offers few avenues to make friends as well, contributing to their loneliness which feeds into depression. The high occupational stress and few avenues to unwind make truckers prone to depression and anxiety.
Another major problem truckers face is chronic sleep disturbances. The average work day for a truck driver starts really early, so truckers often wake up before 4 am. Truckers cannot take naps due to their long work hours in which they have to be very vigilant, resulting in many truckers being chronically sleep deprived.
In earlier times, truck drivers would carry a handy toolkit which they would use to repair most of the issues with their trucks. It was rare for them to visit a mechanic. However, modern trucks are far too advanced for the truckers to tinker themselves!
Truckers usually still solve smaller issues by themselves, but sometimes they need to visit a truck mechanic. If a truck needs any repairs, they get it done from a truck repair service such as Cargo Fleet.
Some simple truck repairs any trucker can perform include replacing the truck battery. They also need to tighten serpentine belts every now and then. Changing brake pads and hoses are more complicated repairs but many truckers can perform it themselves. Besides this, truck drivers keep a keen eye on truck maintenance to avoid needing preventable repairs. Basic truck maintenance involves simple considerations such as changing the oil timely and ensuring the tire pressure is decent.
The Importance of the Trucking Industry
1. Delivery of Goods
Most of your domestic shipments are dependent upon trucking. Everything you see on the shelves in a store has been in a truck, and if it were not for truckers’ often hard overtime work and the sacrifices they make, these shelves would often be empty.
Even if you shop online, your parcel is in a shipment service’s truck most of the time. The next time your order from Amazon is delivered within days, you know whose work and sweat are responsible for your convenience.
Consider another scenario: the delivery of essential medicine and vaccines. COVID-19 took a heavy toll on all of us. Think about the many people who survived this deadly disease thanks to life-saving medication and COVID-19 vaccines.
While our frontline doctors and nurses deserve credit for their sacrifice, truckers played a part in averting the disaster by ensuring a steady supply of medicines and vaccines at every hospital.
2. Connecting Businesses
Companies rely on the trucking industry to ensure they get supplies steadily. The supply chain is made up of several businesses working together. One industry’s materials serve as the raw material for another industry’s product, and the cycle repeats.
The growth of businesses in the last few centuries has transformed the world into a global village and has connected countries through trade. Truckers are an essential link in this chain, as no work will ever be possible without them delivering the supplies to businesses.
3. Providing Livelihoods
The trucking industry is responsible for the livelihoods of many people as well. It helps create jobs and keep food on the table for several households. The number of truckers will likely rise as the demand for cargo movement increases.
While truckers have a difficult job, there are certain perks; for one, you get to travel a lot and explore many states. Trucking as a career also brings job stability and a decent payout. Becoming a truck driver is one of the most well-paying options for those without a college degree.
The entire economy is held up on the shoulders of truckers. Despite this, truckers happily do their jobs without much appreciation, and their sacrifices keep our stores full. Let’s give thanks to the truck driver’s life and those who choose to live it.