Learning to drive a truck is the easy part, learning to exist in a truck and living over the road, is a whole different story.
Truck driving life, to some drivers, is the basic form of existing. Existing, as defined in Webster, is “to have being in a specified place or with respect to understood limitations or conditions.”
When the truck driver climbs into the drivers seat of their big rig they have entered the specified place. They will be in this seat for a maximum of 11 hours, driving. The other area of their truck cab is their home which is dotted with reminders that this area is also their work space.
Once they hit the open road, the truck drivers limitations become clear quickly. They are on a tight daily schedule depending on their dispatched load. The total length of a truck and trailer is approximately 70′ and the ensemble can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. At this length and weight, truck drivers can not stop anywhere they wish and they will be reminded of this periodically with signs saying “No Trucks Allowed”.
Their dispatched load may require that they start their day at 1:00 a.m. while the majority of the world sleeps. This means their 11 hour driving limitation will put them back in the bed somewhere around 11:00 a.m. the next morning. While the rest of the world goes on about their daily activities, the truck driver must attempt to get some sleep.
It doesn’t take long for the condition of diet to become a hindrance for the truck driver. With a limited amount of time to stop and a limited number of places to stop, fast food becomes a necessary evil. This unhealthy diet will soon become yet another condition of long haul truck driving. Weight gain for the professional driver is inevitable.
The sleeper compartment on a cab is normally 72″deep and approximately 90″ wide. The professional truck driver must use this limited amount of space for their living room, bedroom, and kitchen. Forget the SubZero fridge, the king size bed, and the wide screen TV. The truck driver will have to make do with a cooler, a twin size mattress, and a 15″ portable television.
Generally there is no place for extra’s. All extracurricular activities; such as a bicycle, exercise equipment, boat, motorcycle, etc. will have to wait for the driver at home. There’s no such thing as physical recreation once they step into the cab. Living over the road dictates that internet gaming and reading are about the only recreation the truck driver can participate in.
These are a few of the limitations in a long haul truck driver’s life. They have the basic essentials for existence due to the conditions of being a professional truck driver. Other professions have understood limitations as well, but with long haul truck driving you must adapt to an entire change in lifestyle to succeed.