A day in the life of a truck driver
Posted: October 5, 2021
You’ve seen truckers depicted in the movies and watched them in real life on the road, but do you really know what it’s like to be a truck driver? If you’re thinking about becoming a trucker, knowing what you’re getting into is an important part of the process. This job is more than simply driving a vehicle - it takes the right person to do the job well and enjoy the work. Think you’re up for the challenge? Let’s take a look at what kinds of things can shape your day-to-day experience as a truck driver:
The kind of route you drive is probably the biggest influence on your daily schedule. As an over-the-road (OTR) driver, you would expect long hauls and long days behind the wheel. These types of routes also mean you’re probably getting home infrequently because of how far you’re driving. Local routes are exactly how they sound - you’ll be picking up and delivering locally. Although this type of route means you’ll get daily home time, you’ll have multiple stops instead of a single destination, possibly have to deal with heavy local traffic, and likely have to load and unload your deliveries yourself. Regional routes are a little mix of both. You’ll get in more miles and make less stops than local drivers, but you’ll get home more frequently than OTR drivers - usually about once a week. At PTI, we offer dedicated, regional, local and intermodal routes to fit your lifestyle and driving preference.
Your home time will vary depending on your company’s home time policy and the kind of route that you drive. Some companies have a standard home time policy where everyone is on a similar schedule. At PTI, we offer a variety or home time options across our fleet to fit our drivers’ needs. Our home time options include getting home daily, weekly, or every 1-2 weeks.
Employee or self-employed
When choosing a driving career path for yourself, it’s important to know whether you want to be a company driver or a self-employed owner operator. Being self-employed gives you more freedom over the loads you take and can increase your earning potential, but this means you’ll also spend more time during the day on business tasks and tracking your own expenses. Company drivers won’t have the same business responsibilities since the carrier they work for handles all of that. PTI has both company (employee) drivers and owner operator opportunities with an excellent lease purchase program.
What kind of freight you haul will also determine your daily schedule. For instance, drop-and-hook/no-touch freight means you’re usually picking up pre-loaded trailers and dropping them off at their destination. With this kind of freight, you’re not spending time loading, unloading and securing your loads. If you’re driving flatbed, an oversized load could require a slower speed and additional caution, adding more time to your trip. Refrigerated trucks use up fuel faster, so you’ll have to plan for extra stops to fuel up. If you’re hauling hazardous materials or liquids, you might also have to conduct additional inspections or paperwork to ensure the safety of your load. Dedicated freight means that you’re delivering to the same customers on a regular basis. This type of freight typically comes with a more consistent schedule, plus you’ll get to connect with customers you see on a regular basis. At PTI, our drivers pull van or container freight on a variety of runs.
If your carrier has a pet or rider policy, this means you can take a spouse, family member or your favorite fur friend on the road with you. Each company will have their own rules about who can ride with you, how old they have to be, and what size or kind of pet you can bring. Here at PTI, riders can include spouses, dependent children and immediate family who are at least 10 years old, and non-family members who are over 21. We love pets at PTI and are thrilled to see them out and about with our drivers! If you’re a PTI driver, you’ll be able to bring up to two pets with you at a time.
Regardless of what route you have or how much home time you get, as a truck driver, you can expect your day to include an early start. You’ll spend your morning inspecting your truck and completing any required paperwork before you hit the road. Most of your day will be spent driving, taking breaks when needed, before parking someplace for the night. Here, you’ll have a chance to rest, recharge, connect with loved ones and enjoy some free time.
At PTI, our CDL Finishing Program was created for people like you in mind - new drivers wanting the training and support to help them launch successful trucking careers. You’ll get the opportunity to go through our orientation for recent CDL graduates that provides both classroom and hands-on experiences as well as 1-2 weeks of on-the-job training with one of our talented driver trainers. Did we mention you’ll get paid too?
Our Finishing Program is great, but don’t just take our word for it:
“I like the fact that the accelerated program gives you real world experience instead of just a classroom setting. Being shown the tasks allowed me to be more hands on, figure it out and ask the right questions.” - John Ballenger
“The instructors showed a level of patience that can’t be measured. They helped build our confidence by demonstrating tasks and offering professional critiques for improvement.” - Angela Day
“This was exactly what I wanted and hoped for as a new driver. I was very impressed and pleased with the instructors, the material and the training.” - Timothy Nichol
Ready to take the next step in your driving career? Give us a call today!