Today, the trucking industry continues to flourish in America. After all, utilizing trucks is one of the best ways to ensure that several types of goods would reach their destination in time to meet market demand.
According to a report from The Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are as many as 3.5 million truck drivers working in the US. Moreover, truck driving was found to be the most common job in as many as 29 states.
Indeed, trucking is a pretty popular and common profession in the country today. Long-haul trucking is a way of life that seems to appeal to many. And in case you’re interested in trying out this lifestyle for yourself, you should probably do some research before you apply for a truck job.
Fortunately, some long-haul truckers are also willing to spill some secrets about the profession. Here’s what we’ve learned:
18 Getting a truck driving license can be pretty easy
If you’re serious about becoming a professional truck driver, you need to secure a truck driving license. Fortunately for you, the process is quite easy.
As truck driver Mallory Spline told Cracked in an interview, “Most people are fresh out of those diploma mills known as truck driving school," Spline told us. "It usually takes about three weeks to complete.”
17 Truckers tend to be paid by the mile
While most workers throughout the United States are paid by the hour, long-haul truck drivers tend to get paid by the mile that they cover. To be specific, drivers are usually paid anywhere between $0.28 to $0.40 cents per mile, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
On the other hand, there are also companies who pay a little more, up to $0.45 for each mile covered.
16 They have their favorite stops
Just like anyone else who go on long road trips, truckers also have their own favorite truck stop spots.
In an interview with the Travel Channel, trucker Brett Aquila said, “My favorite was always the truck stop in Holbrook, AZ -- Interstate 40, exit 292 -- now called the Hopi Travel Plaza. They had gigantic, beautiful spa suites with wonderful hot tubs -- private rooms, of course.”
15 They can do some cooking inside the truck
Yes, believe it or not, long-haul truck drivers don’t always end up earing out. Instead, some of them are capable of preparing meals (or snacks) right inside their truck.
According to a report from Mental Floss, trucks are like living quarters for their drivers. Hence, it comes with some small appliances, including a microwave and refrigerator.
14 Truckers have their own lingo
If you plan to have a conversation with a long-haul truck driver anytime soon, be warned that you may not be able to understand them readily. That’s because these truckers have their own lingo.
That means certain expressions may not sound familiar to you. Imagine hearing them say things like “Evel Knievel” or “weighing your wagon.” We bet you’re confused already.
13 They do anything to stay awake on the road
Because they keep driving for long hours day and night, long-haul truck drivers tend to get creative when it comes to staying awake.
As Aquila explained in his interview, “Unfortunately there are no real secrets to this. What I do is similar to what everyone else does: Drink a ton of coffee or energy drinks, roll down the window in the winter to make it freezing cold in there, blast the radio and sing at the top of your lungs or slap yourself repeatedly in the face.”
12 They still utilize CB radios
CB radios are dash-mounted devices that one can use to talk to other drivers. And from the looks of it, it’s not going anywhere despite the recent development in communications technology.
Nonetheless, truck drivers also carry around a cellphone, which they rely on for other communication needs. Moreover, they also send and check text messages at truck stops.
11 Truckers may blink to communicate
We don’t mean that truckers blink their eyes, because that would be incredibly unsafe. Instead, long-haul truck drivers may choose to blink their truck’s headlights to communicate with other truck drivers along the way.
As trucker Jim Simpson explained to Mental Floss, “If I’m driving and someone passes me, I’ll turn my lights off and on a couple of times to let him know he’s cleared the front of my truck [and can merge].”
10 They don’t mind if you call that 800 number
If you decide to do so, however, you might not like the outcome. As trucker Keith told Mental Floss, someone called on him while he was transporting Pop-Tarts filling in New York.
He recalled, “The stuff is liquid and shifts when you’re driving, so you take turns slowly. A guy didn’t like that and called the number. The safety supervisor ended up going off on him.”
9 A lot of truckers drive with their wives
When it comes to making a marriage last, spending quality time together matters a great deal. And so, it comes as no surprise that some long-haul truck drivers would be traveling along their route with their wives in tow.
After all, they are going to be gone for a long time and they could use the company.
8 They don’t always like driving with someone else
Now, long-haul truck drives may like having their wives around in the truck, but that doesn’t mean they’re always up for some company. This is especially true if they’re going to end up with a perfect stranger.
As Simpson has explained in his interview, “You’re basically locking two strangers in something smaller than a jail cell.”
7 Their route is plotted out to be short, not necessarily safe
When it comes to transporting the goods inside the truck, the goal is to always get it to the destination as soon as possible. Hence, there may be times when a route is chosen for the shorter distance, but not necessarily for safety reasons.
As trucker Donec Quis told Cracked, “The primary reason trucking companies want us using GPS is because they plot the absolute shortest route possible, regardless of how efficient or safe.”
6 Some truckers choose to personalize their truck and make it weird
In some cases, the truck driver is also the owner of the truck. In this case, they have the option to personalize their truck, no matter how weird it could end up looking in the end.
According to Simpson, “I sometimes see a truck with weird add-ons, like an 8-inch chrome duck or a weird paint job…” Yikes.
5 They don’t stay long on the job
For a lot of truckers, staying on the job for years is not exactly the plan. That may explain why there’s an annual turnover rate of 88 percent for truck drivers, according to the American Trucking Association.
So, if your friend is a proud trucker right now, it won’t come as a surprise if he or she takes on another job next year.
4 They are sometimes allowed to sample the goods
Yes, you can call this one of the perks of the job. In some cases, long-haul truck drivers are allowed to sample the goods that they are transporting.
As Keith has explained to Mental Floss, “Some of the bigger ice cream or candy companies, when you pick up or drop off a shipment, someone might give you a sample.” Yum.
3 Truckers are not allowed to give anyone a ride
Sure, the truck does come with a passenger seat in the front. And although a trucker may be driving alone, that doesn’t mean that he or she can just pull over and help out a hitchhiker.
After all, there are some strict rules about this. In fact, picking up an unauthorized passenger can be the deed that gets them fired.
2 There are instances when they also call for an Uber
They may have trucks, but there are instances that these truckers also need to call for an Uber. As Simpson told Mental Floss, this would typically happen if they finished making their delivery early.
In this case, they might choose to do some sightseeing. He explained, “When that happens, we might park a quarter-mile away and then call an Uber if it’s an urban area. That happens all the time.”
1 They’re working with engines programmed to discourage speeding
Since the trucks that these drivers tend to be long and heavy, speeding is pretty much not a good idea. For starters, they put themselves at greater risk of crashing. Even worse, they can also readily endanger other motorists around them.
Hence, some companies would reportedly put a speed limit on their trucks. This is done using the engine computer.
Sources - TeletracNavman.com, Cracked, U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics & Mental Floss