The trucking lifestyle is one of great adventure, especially if your job takes you over the road with long haul loads. On good days when the sun shines it will make you feel like you’re sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of the world. Always following new routes to never before cities to deliver essential goods, all the while with no one looking over your shoulder to monitor your work. Your boss may be hundreds of miles away, making you the manager of your own destiny while on your trip.
When it works that way it makes for a great run if you can accomplish it within hours of service (HOS) regulations. Therein lies a problem. All kinds of delays face you in your drive to deliver the load. Things like loading and unloading rarely happen on time, traffic congestion, weather conditions, and forced rest periods get in your way. But you know you can handle the uncertainties, so you proceed to do just that.
What really gets in your way is the required rest periods during the daylight hours. If your ten-hour rest period occurs during the day when you’re supposed to sleep and you can’t because you’re wired to sleep at night as most of us are, you don’t get the necessary sleep you need to continue on your trip. And that can stress out many drivers who already have complicated stressors to deal with. Trying to stay awake during the nighttime hours should not make the trip worse but deadlines call for on time pickups and deliveries. Such circumstances place the driver and the motoring public at risk of a deadly crash.
Sources say that truck drivers require at least 7 hours sleep to be able to resume driving safely. But the rigors of a trucking trip just don’t always allow that much sleep. The reality of trucking is that some drivers are on the road for a week or weeks at a time. And the common myth that truck drivers can catch up on sleep during home time is just not true. Home time is sweet but so short and drivers don’t want to spend it without family interaction. That is what is wrong with trucking.
Trucking drives the economy throughout the world. Fleets with yard drivers need to step up and get shippers to agree with loading trailers during the night so that over the road drivers run the roads during the day and sleep at night. Otherwise, hours of service regulations are not really doing the job of making highways safer. Humans cannot always be forced to sleep when faced with daylight hours. We’re just not built that way. Sure, there are some professional drivers who like to run all night while the traffic is light and sleep during the day when safe parking is readily available. But those are exceptions to the norm. And are they really getting quality sleep? We hope so.
One great thing about trucking is that drivers’ pay is rising all over the US and Canada. We are finally getting what we deserve in compensation packages. And newly trained drivers are in high demand as older drivers retire. Trucking is already facing a shortage of qualified individuals who prefer the view through the windshield to an office cubicle. Training will expose new hires to hands-on teaching and mentoring that will prepare them and give them confidence to handle whatever they face in their new career.
If you would like to be in command of a vehicle sporting the latest technology and safety features, consider trucking as a challenging and rewarding career and go to new places.