A Day in the Life of A Truck Driver

October 14, 2022

You're driving down a long, dusty road. The horizon stretches out in front of you, seeming to go on forever. You can see the sun shining on the horizon, and the sky is bright blue. The air is warm and the wind is blowing gently through your hair. You can hear the engine roaring as you drive. As you look around, you see a group of cows grazing in a field next to the road. It's a peaceful sight, and it reminds you that there's a lot of world out there to explore.

Curious about what an average day in the life of a truck driver is like?

  • As you drove by a truck driver, have you ever wondered what they do all day?
  • Do they get bored?
  • Do they get homesick?
  • Do they enjoy driving alone?

 

In this article, we will take a look into a typical day for a truck driver on the road, from waking up to going to sleep. We'll talk about the benefits as well as the drawbacks of being a semi driver. While it's not a profession for everyone, it is a perfect profession for some people. Truckers are a vital part of our economy, and it is important that everyone understands their profession and the demands that it makes on them. Let's take a look into a world that most people know nothing about.

 truck driver at MigWay

Trucker Life - home time, pay, and hours of service

Before we get into what a truck driver’s day looks like, there are a few aspects you should know about a truck driver's job. You should know that while all trucking jobs and positions vary, drivers are most commonly paid for each mile that they drive. Drivers must also log their hours of service so any delays such as traffic can affect the rest of the truck driver’s day, such as being late for their delivery or not having enough hours to reach their destination. Here are more details below: 

How many miles do truck drivers drive a day?

A sometimes-challenging aspect of being a truck driver is accounting for delays. If you have a delivery to make 1,500 miles away, you have to figure out when you will take your mandatory breaks and when you will sleep. For safety reasons, a semi driver is not allowed to drive 1,500 miles straight through. An electronic log device is connected to your truck's computer and collects data about your trips such as speed, the miles you've driven, and the amount of time the truck has been running. These electronic logs are there to prevent drivers from breaking the hours of service regulations and to ensure safe driving. Depending on the driver and their logs, a truck driver can drive anywhere from 400-700 miles a day.

How many hours do truck drivers work?

After 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time, a truck driver has an 11-hour driving limit for the day. Additionally, a driver may not drive past their 14th hour of duty. Also, drivers are required to take a 30-minute break for every 8 hours they are driving. Finally, truckers cannot drive more than 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days.  These rules don't apply to short-haul drivers.

To recap, that's: 

  • 10 hours of rest in off-duty
  • 11 hours of max driving time per day
  • 14 hours on duty - drivers must stop driving
  • 30-minute break for every 8 hours driving
  • 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days 

How often are truck drivers home?

There are many types of driving positions such as local, regional, and over-the-road (OTR). The differences between these job positions are how far drivers will drive and how often they will be home. Local drivers drive within a 250-mile radius and are usually home each night. Regional drivers will cover a specific region of the United States and will be home a few days out of the week. Lastly, what’s an OTR driver? OTR drivers can range from being out Monday through Friday and back for the weekend to being away from home for weeks at a time.

A typical morning for a truck driver

Most truck drivers like to start their mornings early. It gives them plenty of time to take a shower and brush their teeth before the truck stop gets too crowded. After waking up and getting themselves together, drivers will usually eat breakfast at a truck stop or the food that they've prepared. Most truck stops have fast food restaurants, allowing drivers to grab something quick to eat without spending too much time.

After breakfast and coffee, it's time to perform a pre-trip inspection on the truck. A pre-trip inspection is a mandatory, daily check of a driver's equipment to make sure the truck is safe to drive. After finishing a pre-trip inspection, it's time to hit the road! Truck drivers who are expecting morning traffic will leave out earlier to try and avoid the traffic.

A truck driver will head to their delivery (or pickup)

If a truck driver is delivering a load in the morning, they will get as close to their delivery as possible the night before. This helps drivers to be the first to be unloaded and quickly move on to their next pickup. If a truck driver is waiting for a load assignment, they will head to the shipper after first getting the info from their dispatcher.

Once a truck driver makes it to their delivery (or pickup), they will usually either "drop-and-hook" or "live unload".

  • Drop-and-hook: the driver "drops" their trailer and "hooks" to another trailer
  • Live unload: the driver waits for their loaded trailer to be unloaded so they can leave with the same trailer

 day of a truck driver

A typical afternoon for a truck driver

Once the afternoon rolls by, a truck driver should have arrived at their delivery, been unloaded, and made it onsite at their next pickup facility. While drivers will start with a similar routine each morning, the rest of the day will depend on what their dispatcher dictates. 

In the afternoon, drivers will usually take their 30-minute break required by the Department of Transportation (DOT). It's important for truck drivers to get out of their trucks, stretch their legs by going on a walk, and refresh with either lunch or a light meal so they can be ready for the second portion of the truck driver’s day.

Drivers are typically health-conscious and understand the impact that food has on their ability to work. So they will prepare meals to eat inside the truck that are healthy, easy to make, and will give them the energy they need to take on the road. Around lunchtime or while being loaded, a truck driver will begin to plan the next phase of their trip.

A typical night for a truck driver

Once a truck driver has finished loading and has planned their trip, they will drive as far as their clocks allow and will try to make it as close to their delivery as possible. Once it is time to wind down, drivers will start looking for a place to park for the night. Generally, truck drivers will park at a truck stop for a small overnight parking fee.

Once they have found a place to park, a truck driver will complete a post-trip inspection to confirm that no damage occurred throughout the workday. Drivers will check the tires, lights, and other parts of their equipment to ensure they are working properly.

After finishing their post-trip inspection, a truck driver will finish their daily paperwork and their hours of service log. They will document in their logbook how much they drove that day, how much they worked but didn't drive, and how long they rested while off-duty.

After they finish their paperwork and document their hours for the day, drivers will then find a place to eat dinner. They might dine at a truck stop, take a stroll to a nearby restaurant, or eat their own food. After eating dinner, drivers will finish their day by resting in the sleeper cabin of their truck. Most drivers have TVs, laptops, tablets, or even gaming systems in their trucks so that they can wind down with a movie, their favorite TV show, or play video games.

 

Advantages of being a truck driver

While the truck driver lifestyle isn't for everyone, it can be a great career choice for those who are looking for an adventure and are willing to work hard. As a truck driver, you get to travel the country, see different sights, and meet new people every day. It's a great way to see the country and get paid to do it! 

If you're the type of person who likes to travel and explore, then the trucker life is perfect for you. You get to experience new things and meet new people on a regular basis. And, of course, there's the open road. There's something very freeing about being behind the wheel of a big rig, with nothing but miles of highway stretching out ahead of you.

Plus, life as a truck driver can be an excellent career for those who are looking for a stable job with good pay and benefits. Trucking companies are always in need of drivers and there is a high demand for truckers, so it's a great industry to get into if you're looking for a secure job. Of course, it's not all fun and games. Being a truck driver can be a demanding job, and it's not for everyone. But if you're up for the challenge, then it can be a great way to see the world.

Disadvantages of being a truck driver

As with anything, the trucker life certainly has its disadvantages. For starters, you're usually on the road for long stretches of time, which can be lonely. You also have to be careful about getting enough rest, since fatigue can be a serious hazard when you're driving a truck. And then there's the fact that you're often away from home for days or even weeks at a time. It can be tough to stay in touch with your family and friends when you're living out of a truck. Of course, there are some advantages to being a truck driver as well. You get to see a lot of different places, and you meet a lot of interesting people along the way. But all in all, it's not an easy life.

The life of a truck driver is what you make it

Trucking is a demanding profession, but it's also a very rewarding one. It's important to remember that the life of a truck driver is what you make it. For some people, driving a truck can be a great way to see the country, meet new people, and have a sense of independence and freedom that most other jobs don't offer. For others, it can be a lonely and demanding job. It all depends on how you look at it. So if you're thinking about working in this in-demand profession, remember to keep an open mind and be prepared for anything. The life of a truck driver is full of surprises, both good and bad. But in the end, it's all up to you how you want to live your life behind the wheel of a big rig.

The trucking life is a unique and rewarding career that largely depends on the people and company you work with. If you are an experienced truck driver looking for a great company to switch to, don't hesitate to call us today!

MigWay offers drivers industry-leading pay, a work environment you'll be proud to tell your friends about, and the latest, well-kept equipment for you to drive. Thanks for reading and we hope you'll consider joining us at MigWay!

 

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