Long haul truckers have a strange stigma in the media. Either they are men who have conflicts with the law as some sort of anti-heroes, or they are lazy workers riding out retirement on union benefits. But the media rarely showcases the real truckers, who dispel the myths shown in the news and in movies.
Long Haul Truckers Work Earlier (and Later) than You Expect
Being a long haul trucker means avoiding traffic to stick to a schedule. This doesn’t mean outrunning the cops like in those glorified movies from the 70s and early-80s. It means getting up before the sun rises or starting out well after rush hour to make good time on the open road. Truckers work hard during hours when most people are fast asleep.
Playing by the Book
Long haul truckers have to adhere to some pretty strict regulations. Day or night, truckers have a federally-mandated number of hours they can be on the road. Working outside of those hours of service can result in fines or suspension of work.
Take Home Pay Varies Greatly
Despite electronic logging devices keeping track of hours of service, a steady paycheck isn’t always guaranteed. Fuel, food, lodging, and other expenses can eat into a trucker’s revenue.
Remember that Cross-Country Trip in Your 20s?
To most people, those holiday trips to visit relatives can take a toll. Traveling across a state or even a few cities over can tire out a driver. For long haul truckers, covering 500 miles in a single day is the average. In a single year, the average trucker can cover over 125,000 miles – and there’s no apple pie or gifts to unwrap at the end of those journeys.
Yes, the American version of the open-road trucker is that of a solitary and rugged figure. However, many truckers ride with companions, such as cats, dogs, and even birds. Never confuse a hard work ethics with a lack of compassion. Our pets make some of the best companions on the open road.
Long haul truckers aren’t single-minded. They work very hard to prevent crimes, such as human trafficking, while on duty. Truckers work hand-in-hand with local, state, and federal law enforcement to make our roads (and society as a whole) safer.
Long haul truckers make up the backbone of our economy and have much more depth than the news or movies give them credit for. They deserve thanks.