C1 Truck Driver Training Blog

Making a Truck Driving Career Change Later in Life

Truck driving career changeMany students come to CDL training to learn the skills needed to start a 2nd or even a 3rd career at a later stage in life.  You can make a truck driving career change well into your adult life and there are still plenty of opportunities available.

We see folks from all walks of life coming through school, and each one of them has a vision, an idea of what they’re hoping to gain from a new truck driving career.  Hands down what I see more than anything are the people that come into school looking to start a second career.

A Truck Driving Career Change

There’s many reasons for this, and unfortunately the biggest reason is the current state of our economy. Let’s face it, things aren’t real good out there right now, and who knows when it’ll get better.  Trucking, however, is one profession that is virtually recession-proof.  Are there certain sectors of trucking that can slow down when times get hard??  Sure, but all you have to do is identify which carriers are still moving which products.  Goods are always going to move; you just have to stay tuned in to what’s current.

Another common theme I see is the retired professional that is looking for something completely different.  They have worked their entire adult life in a cubicle or some other sort of office environment and after retiring from that, decided they wanted to travel and see the country.  This is a great opportunity to not only travel the country, but actually earn a pretty good living while you’re doing it.

Apply for Springfield Trucking Jobs

Time To Make A Change Now?
Take a look at the Driver Solutions company-sponsored CDL training program.  This allows inexperienced drivers to begin a new truck driving career with no upfront tuition costs and the ability to make up to $40,000 in the first year!
Get more information here

Advantages of a Career Change

There are some big advantages to coming into trucking with some real work experience and age on your side.  Everyone has the potential to succeed in this business, but if you come into this field as a seasoned professional, whatever that profession may be, you WILL succeed in this business.

I recently had a student come through that was a retired university professor from Kenya.    He was a graduate of a university in London, England and taught in Kenya for 20 years.  In his homeland, you are only allowed to work 20 years as a professor, and must retire in order to allow the next generation to have a career.

He considered going back to London, but knew his opportunities would be very slim there as well.  He moved to the U.S. and worked odd jobs, and finally became a taxi driver.  He enjoyed driving and meeting people, wanted to see the country, so he applied for and got accepted by PAM Transport.  He came into school and excelled.  He excelled because his life’s experiences prepared him to do so.

His is just one of many stories that I could talk about, but one that will always stick with me.  I think of him often, and how he is an inspiration for anyone who has doubts as to whether they could retire from one career, and start something completely out of their comfort zone.  With the right drive and determination, you can learn anything you set out to do.

 

How Big is the Trucking Industry? Statistics About Truck Driving

How big is the trucking industry?

Image credit: MoDOT Photos, Flickr

The trucking industry is a huge sector of the American economy, but often doesn’t get the recognition or respect it deserves. The phrase, “If you bought it, a truck brought it” could not be more true, but many people don’t stop to think about where we’d be if trucks weren’t on the road!

So…trucks are a big deal. But how big is the trucking industry, exactly? Today, I’m going to briefly discuss some of the amazing facts on how crucial the industry really is. Keep reading to learn about total industry revenue, employment, and annual freight tonnage!

Trucking Industry Revenue

In 2011, the trucking industry raked in an astounding amount of revenue — $603.9 billion in freight. That’s more than 80 percent of all freight revenue (including air, rail, water, etc). The trucking industry is quite literally what keeps our economy running smoothly.

To give you an idea of how much of our nation’s product is actually shipped through truck…

  • $118,832,000 (82.7%) of agricultural products
  • Over 92% of prepared foods including dairy products and fruit, vegetables, and nut products
  • $501,445,000 (65%) of pharmaceutical products
  • $168,913,000 (91.9%) of lumber and wood products

Employment in the Trucking Industry

Nine million people are employed in the trucking industry — that’s one out of 13 people (who have jobs). Of those 9 million, about 3.5 million are professional truck drivers. Nine million people in the industry, 3.5 million drivers, and there’s still a shortage of truckers. Estimates show that the current shortage of 20,000 drivers could increase to 111,000 by 2014 if market conditions don’t improve. One thing is for sure — there’s never been a better time to become a professional truck driver!

Trucks on the Road

There are 2 million registered tractor trailers in the United States alone. On average, those trucks consume about 37.2 billion gallons of diesel a year. Those trucks on the road deliver 70 percent of all freight in the country. The American Trucking Association estimates that in about a decade, the demand for trucking services will rise by 30 percent. To accommodate for the rise in demand, the amount of heavy trucks on the road will rise by 20 percent, putting an additional 600,000 tractor trailers on the nation’s highways.

As you can see, we’d be in a pretty big bind of trucks stopped moving. In fact, here’s a great article on how our infrastructure would collapse in the absence of trucks.

There’s never been a better time to pursue a truck driving job, so if you’re interested in making a career change, be sure to check out our Admissions page here.

Source:

Trucking and the Economy, American Trucking Association

 

 

Rewriting Industry Stereotypes by Being a Professional Truck Driver

Professional truck driverAs with anything you do in this life, your attitude can and will determine your success. No matter what your job is, if you get up in the morning with a chip on your shoulder and/or a bad attitude, you will have a bad day. If you go into the day thinking “Man this day is going to suck,” then that’s what you are looking for and that’s what you’re going to get. Perception is reality.

Being a professional driver, you might think your attitude would affect only you since you are driving down the road alone every day. However, a positive attitude will benefit you so let’s look at that:

  • Your positive attitude not only reflects you but also your carrier. A friendly smile and good nature will benefit you in all areas of your day.
  • When it comes to shippers, a good-natured driver will get in and out of their loading docks quicker and easier. If you are nice to people, they will have more of an inclination to be nice to you. And the sooner you get in and out of your shipper, the sooner you get to making your money for the day driving. Remember, if the truck isn’t moving you’re not making any money.
  • Receivers are very similar to the shippers. In and out — that is the goal, an upset dock worker is not going to be concerned about getting you back on the road. A friendly smile and understanding goes a long way on getting you out and back on the road.
  • Scale houses – going into one of these upset or with a bad attitude will only make bad things happen. Remember that these individuals have a job to do as well. Simply provide them with what they require, be friendly and courteous, and get moving back down the road.
  • Police officers and DOT inspectors – In all honesty only a fool would choose to be discourteous to these individuals. If you by chance get pulled over for a traffic offense or just a random inspection, it’s critical that you remain courteous and helpful. It is what it is and being bad tempered or disrespectful will only delay you more. Be the professional you are and get back to driving down the road.

Safe & Professional

As the professional driver, you must always be looking for the average, every day drivers that are out there on the road doing unsafe acts.  From the business person in a hurry going to work, to the distracted mother and housewife with children in the car, and of course the teenager out joy riding and having a good time. By being the professional you are and by utilizing training you have received regarding safe driving habits – you will be ready for any and all non-professional mishaps.

Presentation of a Professional Driver

Unfortunately the professional truck driver’s image in the past has been tarnished by too many people being unprofessional.  Here are some common misconceptions:

  • Dirty – too many drivers in the past have gone days without showering, shaving or changing their clothes. Unfortunately, their appearance is often what the public perceives all drivers to be (and we all know that’s not true!).
  • Ill-tempered and foul mouthed – drivers who yell out their windows and send messages to cars through obscene gestures also help build the public’s perception of the truck driving image.
  • Drugs – back years ago it was unfortunately common practice for drivers to do drugs that would keep them awake to keep moving down the road. This is a practice that we have eliminated through changes in the law by DOT and through drug screening. Unfortunately today’s drivers are still looked upon for past transgressions. The only way to fix this is by being the professional that we need to be and changing the public’s opinions of professional driver.

It’s important to the entire industry that drivers today not present themselves in this way.  A “professional” driver is neat, maintains a level head and does not have to resort to drugs to properly perform the duties of their job.  In addition to that, a professional driver maintains a positive attitude while keeping the truck moving.

What do you think makes a professional truck driver? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Teamwork Creates Success in Truck Driving Jobs

Teamwork in truck driving jobsAs you’re contemplating making that jump into truck driver training and start asking all those good questions, you’re probably going to hear a lot about being out there alone on the road.   People are gonna talk about the isolation, and the freedom to “be your own boss.”  While statements such as these certainly bear some truth, you will never do this job fully on your own.  It takes a team of highly trained professionals to accomplish the job, and that starts in school.

Buddy Up at School

As school starts, you’ll be in a classroom environment studying to go take your permit test.  In order to ensure your success while in school, “buddy up” as soon as possible!  There are all sorts of people from all over the country that come to school, and one person’s weakness can be another person’s strength when it comes to studying for the test.  When you work together as a group, you definitely start stacking all odds of success in your favor as you prepare for that written test.

Practice with a Partner

Next step will be studying for the pre-trip inspection.  There are well over 100 items on the tractor-trailer that you will have to identify during the pre-trip inspection portion of your CDL test.  We have prepared a pre-trip study guide and check list that, when followed, will guide you through this portion of your test.  It’s crucial that you team up with someone in class to accomplish this step.

While you will have instructor guidance, this portion of your training relies VERY heavily on self-study.  You will have checklists and study guides that you and your teammate can use to study. When executed properly, this virtually guarantees success.  As you progress into the range backing skills and road driving portion of your training, this philosophy doesn’t change.  All of us here at C1 are part of a team, and we will succeed or fail as a team.  For the team to succeed, we all have to do our part.  If any one of us fails to do our singular duty, the entire program can falter as a result.
Apply for Springfield Trucking Jobs

Time To Make A Change Now?
Take a look at the Driver Solutions company-sponsored CDL training program. This allows inexperienced drivers to begin a new truck driving career with no upfront tuition costs and the ability to make up to $40,000 in the first year!
Get more information here

Teamwork On The Road

You will find this to be true after you complete school as well.  While a majority of your time will be spent alone on the road, you will NEVER pick up and deliver a load without any assistance.  There is an entire support team at your home terminal working hard behind the scenes to make sure your truck keeps moving.  There are load planners, permit personnel, safety folks, a road service department, and your fleet manager.  This is not an exclusive list by any means.  All of you work together as a team to ensure each and every load is picked up and delivered as promised.

Teaming

Now, when running team it goes without saying.  You have to work together and respect each other to ensure your success.  All good team operators have one trait in common; a constant willingness to work together.  While you’re driving, your teammate will be sleeping.  There will be many decisions that you’ll need to make during this window.  Use forethought to anticipate what’s coming up.  That happens through proper trip planning, together.

I could go on and on with many more examples of how team work is the key to your success in truck driving jobs, but the bottom line is never think for a second that your accomplishments are all yours.   I have never accomplished anything in my life worthwhile by myself, but I have accomplished many great things throughout my life as part of a team.

 ”Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” - Henry Ford

 

Learning the Pre-Trip Inspection at Truck Driver Training

pre-trip inspectionThe very first part of the Arkansas State Test that you must pass in order to even be eligible to take your skills and road test is the 108-point pre-trip inspection. This may seem overwhelming at first, but you will learn. First you will write it out completely word-for-word, then watch the video we have prepared for you. You’ll do a complete walk around pointing out each part and reciting the sheet we have given you.

Studying at Truck Driver Training

Every spare moment you have during and after truck driver training, get with a buddy and practice by you reciting and pointing out as much as you can each time, then have them do the same. If you do this before the end of the 2nd week, you will know the entire pre-trip. If at anytime you need or want help just let us know, I have extra videos that will be available for you to watch at night plus the trainers are available to help you. During your training, you will be tested on this to see what point you are at. We will push you to be over 100 before you will be allowed to test.

What Can Happen If You Don’t do a Pre-Trip…

Pre-trip inspections are important for your safety and the safety of others around you. You will be checking fluids, and if your truck is 2-3 gallons low on water then a mechanism kicks in causing your truck to shut off. If your oil, power steering fluid, or transmission fluid is too low, then it will cause serious expensive damage to your engine, gear box or transmission. If your hub oilers are low, they can blow a seal and cause the wheel bearings to seize up which could cause your wheel to lock up, catch on fire, or possibly come off. I have seen this happen. Thankfully it did not catch on fire or fall off, but it was smoking to the point of almost catching on fire and it ruined the wheel bearing and spindle. This is very costly and irresponsible, not to mention dangerous!

Lack of Pre-Trip Can Affect Your DAC

Some of the other important reasons to pre-trip – your tires; a blow out can cause you to be late, lose control or be stopped by DOT for unsafe equipment. This now goes on your DAC because you should have checked these items in the first place then notified your company if the truck was unsafe. Another important reason to pre-trip is to make sure everything is secure and in place so that you don’t lose your trailer pulling out. I have actually seen this happen. When I was at SRT, a driver came back from home time and just jumped in his truck and started pulling out. The trailer was not secure and he dropped it — not on the ground, but it was hanging on the end of his truck. Not good for him – this is considered an accident on your DAC and could possibly cause you to be terminated. Lucky for him there was no damage, but he did have to pay to have the trailer lifted up and they still put this as an incident on his DAC. All companies check out DAC and too many unsafe actions will keep you from being hired with another company.

Another important issue is when you come across the scales, they will inspect your truck. If it is deemed unsafe, you will be fined and shut down. Again, this is your responsibility. Your company is not driving that truck, you are, and if you don’t tell them, they can’t fix it. The longer you wait to have your truck fixed the more damage you can cause to your truck, thus shutting you down and costing you money.

Do Your Pre-Trip!

As you can see, pre-trip inspections are very important in this career. They protect not only you, but everyone else on the road. Always always always perform a pre-trip before taking off — it could literally mean the difference between life and death.

 

A Truck Driving Job is in My Blood – Growing Up With Trucks

Kid with truckWe often hear the phrase “trucking is in my blood” during and after CDL training. Many students have grown up with parents or relatives in the industry and want to follow in their footsteps and begin a truck driving job themselves.

“Trucking is in My Blood”

To many people this phrase could mean different things. For one individual, they could simply feel like this is what they love to do – drive across the country, seeing the sunrise in the desert or sunset coming into New York City.  It’s the feeling that comes with the freedom of not being tied down to a 8-5 job, not having your boss looking over your shoulder constantly.

To some others it could mean that they’ve had a long line of truck drivers in the family (grandfather, father, etc.) and that’s what they were “born” to do. I do not want it to seem like I am leaving out the female truckers in this, but the reality is that until this current generation the female trucker was an extreme rarity. However, with the next generation of truckers that come along this will not be the case as more women are entering the trucking industry today.

Family History of Trucking

First of all, this is not really a surprise when you stop to think about it. Why do many children follow in a successful parent’s career path? It is what they know; they have seen firsthand what good hard work in the industry can provide and they want that for their family as well. Simply put, they have seen what works.

This theory works in nearly every job market you see. If a child grows up in a military family where the parent was successful, then there is a good chance that child will follow in their parent’s footsteps and join the military as well.  The same mentality applies to trucking. If Mom or Dad drove for years and the family was well taken care of – the child grows up seeing this success and seeing the trucking industry from the positive side. Thus a career in trucking makes total sense to them.

Pros and Cons of Growing Up With Trucks

There are several pros and cons of growing up around trucks. The first being familiarity with the equipment! This is a huge asset during trucking school. As a kid outside with mom or dad when they’re working or inspecting their truck, it will start to bring forth the child’s curiosity and they will unknowingly learn a bit about it. This can be an advantage when thinking in terms of pre-trip inspections and simply not being afraid of the truck.

Riding in the truck with a parent on short runs, or even a two-week period on the road in the summer, will help the individual become familiar with the truck driver’s daily routine. This will help keep their feet on the ground about this career.

The negative side of this is that every driver through the course of time will begin to develop their own bad habits that might be an issue while driving on the road (ex: floating gears); however, for an untrained driver coming to a training program to learn the proper way to drive, they could have difficulty grasping the concept that these bad habits are wrong since they have been riding with mom or dad for years and watched them do this with no issues. These bad habits could affect their ability to successfully pass the state issued CDL exam to obtain the license. While Mom or Dad could maneuver the vehicle down the road doing such incorrect things, during an exam these cost points which ultimately could lead to failure.

Finally, to go along with the comment listed above – individuals coming into a trucking school need to come in open-minded to new teachings. They need to remember Mom and Dad might have obtained their CDL years ago before some of today’s testing criteria were put into place. That does not make them a bad driver; however, with the current testing criteria, they might have difficulties passing a state offered CDL exam today. Do not come into a school with the pre-conceived notion that you know it all already.

Is trucking in your blood? Did you pursue a truck driving job because of a relative or friend? Let us know below!

 

C1 Trucking School Review – “The Best 3 Weeks of My Life”

Title: “Best 3 Weeks of my Life”

My instructors Perry, DJ, and Dan were the three main guys I talked with the most. Perry and Dan in the classroom, and DJ for my driving and skills training. I asked DJ to push me, and he did! Thanks to everyone there I graduated two days early. Everyone taught me what I needed to know about the truck and how to drive it the right way. I would do it all over again in a minute. Thank you!

Thanks for the kind words!!  Those instructors you mentioned are indeed hardworking, dedicated professionals.  That said, it takes a very disciplined and dedicated approach by each individual student to make this program work.  You passed early because YOU applied yourself during trucking school and did not let up.  You listened to the guidance and direction of the instructors, and applied it without question.

I address each new class on the first Monday and explain that the singular trait to your success is focus. You MUST stay focused on what is being taught, or you won’t be able to accomplish your goals.  You were focused from day one, and the results showed that.  We are always honored to get compliments from our graduates, but you need to be able to look in the mirror and take responsibility for your own success.  Good luck, and stay safe out there!!

“The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire, not things we fear.”

      – Brian Tracy

 

Getting Along with Your OTR Trainer and Learning After CDL Training

CDL trainingAfter you complete CDL training, the next step in your journey to becoming a truck driver is to go on the road with a company trainer. Your OTR trainer will teach you a lot about the industry. During this time, you will get most of your hands on driving experience. Sharing a small truck with another person is no easy feat though, so today I’m going to share my tips on getting along and sharing a space with your company trainer.

The Right Attitude

A good rule of thumb is to have a positive attitude, pay attention, and have a willingness to learn. If you let your trainer, he or she will prepare you in the correct way to become a professional truck driver. After you upgrade to a first seat driver you’ll be thankful you paid attention!

Tips for Getting Along

Having two people in a small, confined space can be tough, but I have a few tips for driving with trainers and preventing tension in the truck. First of all, after the boundaries are set, honor them! Number two — Keep your area neat and clean. Don’t borrow something from your trainer’s area without asking. Don’t bring too many items with you so that your stuff invades your trainer’s territory. Remember, this is his truck. Give each other space and don’t take advantage of each other. If you smoke, crack the window, and if you dip, throw out your spit cup! Don’t be loud or overbearing, and do your best to treat each other the way you would want to be treated.

Learning from Your Trainer

Let the trainer know that you want to learn everything you can. Ask questions and tell the trainer if you’re not understanding something. Give the them an opportunity to teach you the correct way and write down what they tell you. Don’t make them repeat themselves because you’re not keeping notes. If you don’t know, ask! Prepare a notebook in advance. Section it off so that it will be easier to refer to later. Build a good relationship with your trainer, and ask them if they would mind if you called for advice when you need it.

If you keep these tips and suggestions in mind, you will learn a great deal during your time with your OTR trainer. Remember, your trainer has stood where you stand now. Listen to his suggestions and apply them to your own training, and you’ll be a professional truck driver in no time.

 

The Underappreciated Professional Truck Driver

Professional truck driverToo often, truck drivers are underappreciated because the majority of people simply don’t realize what it takes to do the job.  I routinely tell students here at C1 Springfield that the easiest part of being a professional truck driver is driving a truck.  What does that mean??  The singular act of driving a tractor trailer down the highway can be fairly simple.  When I was an OTR truck driver, I LOVED driving my truck down the highway.  That’s because that was the easiest part of the job.

More than just driving

Before I ever started my trip I had a multitude of things to do before I ever “put ‘er in the wind.”  I had to know exactly what my load weighed, how much my tractor/trailer weighed, can I legally scale that load, do I have the hours of service to deliver that load as planned, do I need maintenance en-route, am I permitted to travel the states that the load requires, if not, how do I get that permit, what are the various states’ bridge (length) laws, where are my fuel stops, am I pre-planned to pick up a load after I deliver this one, etc, etc, etc.  Believe  me, this list of considerations is NOT totally inclusive.  That’s why I loved the driving.   The planning was done and I could focus on what I truly love:  traveling our beautiful country in a safe manner while earning a good living.  I have always prided myself on doing the job to the absolute best of my ability, and the vast majority of drivers do the same.

When do you become a professional?

I ask all of my students on day one to raise their hand if they believe that they will leave C1 as a “truck driver” and each week everyone does.  I never raise my hand, and I explain to them that earning your CDL at C1 Springfield is just tiny little step one in your training pipeline to becoming a professional truck driver.  From here you will attend orientation, go over the road with a driver trainer, and then have to be evaluated by your carrier in order to get a truck assignment.  At that point, you have just scratched the surface.  You have received a lot of training but honestly, you cannot train experience.  I don’t care how good of a training program you have.  I feel like after 1 year over the road after your initial training period, you can truly call yourself a professional driver.  There are too many roads, too many loads, and too many variables to encounter in one year, however that one year will expose you to enough to have you both mentally and physically trained for what may come next.

Apply for Springfield Trucking Jobs

Time To Make A Change Now?
Take a look at the Driver Solutions company-sponsored CDL training program. This allows inexperienced drivers to begin a new truck driving career with no upfront tuition costs and the ability to make up to $40,000 in the first year!
Get more information here

Courtesy toward the professional truck driver

I wish that people would show common courtesy and appreciation year round for what it takes to be a professional driver.  Extended periods away from home, living day and night in your truck, and facing the ever-changing climate while traveling are enough to break a lot of people.  Truck drivers are hard working, dedicated career men and women like anyone else.  Their chosen vocation brings a multitude of stressors encountered in one day that most people won’t experience all week, or month for that matter.  No matter their background or where they’re from, they share one common goal — to pick up and deliver all freight as scheduled,  in the most safe and reasonable method possible.  Show your appreciation by understanding what it takes to navigate a 70 foot long, 80,000 pound vehicle.  Understand what it takes to stop, turn, and get the vehicle moving from a dead stop.  If you understand what it takes to operate the vehicle, I think you’ll have a greater appreciation for what these professionals go through daily.

 

Truck Driving Lifestyle: A New Driver’s Guide to Adjusting to OTR Life

Truck driving lifestyleAspiring truck drivers often have many questions about what they’re getting themselves into, and understandably so. This is a big change to make, and it comes with lots of lifestyle adjustments.

Today, I’m going to discuss many of those truck driving lifestyle adjustments and how you can make them a bit easier on both you and your family/significant other.

Tips for the New Driver

Obviously the driver will be most affected by this career switch, so here are a couple tips for you — the new truck driver — to keep in mind.

Discuss the switch. First and foremost, you and your spouse/significant other hopefully have discussed being away from home prior to you getting started at CDL training. If you haven’t done this, I recommend doing so immediately. This is not something you just spring on your wife.

Hand over the reins. If you are a Type A personality, you must allow your spouse to make decisions about home, family, finances, etc while you are gone. You are not there and it will only make both of your lives easier if you turn those responsibilities over to them.

Don’t be disruptive. You cannot come home and disrupt everyone in the house’s life for your two days every couple of weeks. While you are coming off the road, remember that they have to deal with their day-to-day lives without you in it most of the time. Don’t be offended if everyone doesn’t simply drop everything the minute you walk into the door until you leave. It’s very important to remember this, especially if you have teenage children.

Don’t dictate. Don’t come home and immediately try and take over everything that your spouse has been doing the whole time you’ve been gone. Remember, you will be leaving again in just a day or two and they will be on their own again.

Make the most of your time home. Don’t come home and just sit around all the time when your family is there. Try to do some things together when possible. This is almost a contradicting statement to point #3, but it’s a fine line you must learn to walk.

Take care of household chores. Take care of things around the house that need your attention. It’s your time off from your JOB, not your family.

Tips for the Spouse/Significant Other

While thedriver has the stressful on-the-go truck driving lifestyle, this career can be a bit frustrating to the spouses/significant others of the drivers as well. The truck driver’s OTR lifestyle affects you too, so here are a couple tips to help you get used to this career change

Don’t dictate. Do not plan the driver’s every minute when they are home to do chores and such. Obviously some things will need to be taken care of, but this is their short time off.

Make time for the driver. Even though you don’t want to totally disrupt the household, you should take into consideration the short time that the driver will be home and whenever possible, cater to their needs. Remember, in one to two days they’ll be on the road again.

Handle any issues. When problems come up while the driver is gone, they should be handled as soon as possible. Try not to allow such things to build and simply be dumped on them when they walk in the door. Keep a list of the really important things and get them taken care of on the first day your spouse is home, that way you can enjoy the rest of the time you have together.

Be appreciative. Remember, you basically have a normal life at home — TV, hot meals, the ability to go to the movies, store, etc. Things that you take for granted daily are luxuries to your driver. Their normal day is get up and drive, get a quick bite to eat, drive some more, sit in a dock, drive some more, and sleep. This goes on every day. So try and cater to your driver’s needs when they are home.

Budgeting Tips for the OTR Driver

Money always seems like the root of all evil in many marriages or relationships. As an over the road driver, you will have expenses. You need to account for that. For the spouses/significant others at home, you need to understand that your driver will need money to survive as well — your eating options are not theirs.

Sit down together and make a determination as to how much money the driver is going to need based upon your current debt situation. Drivers – you need to remember that the bill collectors will not be calling you, so you also need to take into account any bills and payments at home.

From my own personal experience, I have found that if you can afford it, $200 per week is a good amount of money for the driver to live off of. There will be weeks when they will spend it all, but then there will also be weeks when there will be some left over. It all adds up in the end.

The $200 mentioned above may seem like a lot to those at home, but remember, this pays for meals, drinks, and anything else it takes to live on during the week. I have done this myself, and realistically it’s about the right amount to allow comfortable survival on the road. Can you live on a lot less? Of course, but your quality of life is already living in an 8×8 foot box 24 hours a day. How much do you want to take, really? You might as well be comfortable.

$200 is really enough to live on while still having a bit left over every week. That amount depends on how you live. I say this because as you start wanting to buy things to put in your truck like a TV, CB radio, satellite radio, etc, you need to save the money you have leftover every week. The reality is you can live on much less than $200, but it’s not something you want to do week-in and week-out. Do it occasionally to save the money for an upgrade in your truck.

The Reality of Truck Driving

There is no magic trick to make a smooth adjustment into the truck driving lifestyle. The reality is: some people deal with it, and others do not. Go into this realistically knowing that you’re going to be gone from home approximately 300 days per year, and you will be fine.

Most people don’t like being gone from family that much, but in life we have two lines of desire we make our decisions on:

There are wants. These are the things we would like to have. They’re not something we will die without, but they are nice to have.

Then there are needs. These are the important ones – they are the things we need to survive. Things we die without — food, water, shelter.

When you put your life into this perspective, you can easily take care of you and your family’s needs in this industry. You can take care of many wants as well.

As the primary provider for a family, whether you are a man or a woman, you make sacrifices for the ones you love. I would not pretend to tell anyone that this life is not challenging. But in today’s society and difficult times, it puts food on the table, a roof over our loved ones’ head, and shoes on their feet. Knowing this always makes it easier for me every time I put my foot on the bottom step of my truck.

Think this is the career switch you’ve been looking for?

Visit our admissions page for more information about how you can get started with CDL training and get on the road to an exciting new truck driving job!