There are hundreds, if not thousands, of careers in the world and long distance driving is one of the popular ones. Truck driving doesn’t take too much, in the same way studying to be a doctor or a lawyer does, but it does take some discipline. If you are the sort of person who really enjoys driving, then long-distance driving is going to be a fun challenge for you. It does take a special kind of grit to be okay with being on the road for long periods of time and being away from family for longer periods of the month. However, the job itself can be fruitful financially and it can give you a freedom to see new places you may not have visited before. Perhaps you’ve been stuck in an office and need a change in career, either way driving is a good option.
When you have your heart set on a career idea, researching the career is the next step. You need to know exactly what to expect as driving isn’t the most mentally stimulating role out there. The salary that you command will depend on the type of company you drive for and the type of trucking you’re doing. There are some trucking jobs out there that pay more than others and you can check out the types of trucking roles you can do versus the salary you can command here.
Always weigh up the pros and cons of your choices. Driving for a living has obvious pros and cons, and we’ve listed those for you here:
You don’t need to go through years of schooling to be a long-distance driver, which is a positive for those who want to start earning in a solid career but don’t have the time for school. The salary offers high starting rates, and the benefits are great. If you are working for a company instead of working for yourself, you will find you have a lot of support in case of an accident on the road. Having a good truck accident lawyer in your speed dial in the event of any road issues will work in your favour and be your back up if an accident isn’t your fault. One of the biggest draws for long distance driving is the flexibility on offer for you. Being on the road, you are the boss of your own journey and being able to listen to music as you go is going to feel so freeing.
On the downside of the role, driving is a slog. Not only are you on the road for up to twelve hours at a time, it’s lonely work. The deadlines for delivery can be very tight and you cannot control the traffic on the roads, which means that it can be stressful to meet those deadlines if you are stuck. The job itself pays well, but it can be dangerous. If you are transporting hazardous materials you are putting your life at risk. You could be the safest driver in the world, but as you cannot control the other vehicles on the road or how they drive, you still put yourself in a risky situation.
If you get the chance, talk to people already in the job. Make a point of meeting with people who have done it for a few years as well as those new to the role so you can get a clear picture of what the job is like. You don’t want to start a whole new career if you are going to hate it. The novelty tends to wear off for any job, but if you have your heart set on it you should be able to enjoy yourself. As with any career, contacts matter. Getting to know people who are in the industry and making contacts can connect you to roles and open up contracts. Chat to drivers at truck stops, get their opinions on the company they work for and choose between the type of truck driving you would like to do.
Do some studying on commercial driving. Read the manuals at the DMV, as you will need a commercial driving licence to be eligible to drive trucks. Traffic laws can change, so keeping up to date with the latest information is important. Manuals are printed on a yearly basis so make sure that you are reading the most recent one available. You need to earn your commercial driving licence and there are a few legalities that you need to meet before you can go ahead and get on the road. For most states, you need to be 21 and legally able to work in the state. You will need a clean driving record to be a long-distance driver, and you will need at least a high school diploma. Some companies will be okay with a parking ticket or two but you likely won’t be hired for reckless driving offences.
You may be a careful driver but you still need attend a trucking school to get a handle on larger vehicle driving. You won’t just learn how to handle a large vehicle, you’ll also learn the laws surrounding long-distance driving. Once you’ve done your studying, you will have a two-part exam to pass with a written test and a road skills test. You then need to pass the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation exam, with a written portion that covers traffic law and a physical part with vision and hearing tests.
The last thing you need to do? Get hired. Apply for jobs, attend interviews and dazzle companies with your charm and wit as well as your driving skills. You then can begin your driving career and start working your way up the corporate ladder, and as you gain years of experience advance to better roles. You can go places in truck driving, and not just state to state. Your salary will climb as the years go on and you’ll gain valuable road experience. Buy yourself a map to start putting pins in all the states you visit so you can keep track of where you’ve been. Overall, you need to enjoy yourself in your role.