The Hollywood image of truck driving in moves like Smoke and the Bandit are generally very different from reality.
Trucking forms the backbone of most economies, without which economies would collapse, and companies like Amazon would not be viable. But, are they hard to drive?
Here are 7 reasons why driving a truck is hard.
1. Truck Driving Requires Patience
There are many reasons why a truck driver has to be patient.
Compared to the vehicles around the truck, it is slow. This means the truck driver has to have the patience to stay behind other, slower vehicles.
Even when overtaking may be possible, it generally requires long distances and can only be done when the road is clear for miles ahead.
Whether the truck driver is traveling long distances or it is a short hall operation, the truck driver has to drive over very long distances every day.
At the speed trucks travel, there is no way to speed up the process, and the truck driver needs to relax, settle down, and accept that the tasks take a long time to complete.
- Trucks are slow-moving
- Distances are long
2. Large Trucks Are Difficult To Maneuver
A large truck, pantechnicon, or semitrailer with a trailer and link requires skill to maneuver.
Even turning into a side road requires the truck driver to know the position of the horse, link, and trailer, knowing that the rig will encroach over the road curb on tight corners.
There is always the risk that the truck will cause damage to structures or vehicles parked on the side of the road. The driver must constantly keep the sides of the vehicle visible in the rear mirrors to ensure no damage is caused.
Reversing requires intimate knowledge of how the three connected components (horse, link, and trailer) move in relation to each other and their effect on one another.
- When turning, the trucks have to take a wide path
- Reversing is difficult
3. Truck Drivers Face Abuse
Truck drivers face abuse from fellow road users, road traffic officials, and employers.
The trucks are generally slower than other traffic, and the potential for road rage from other vehicle drivers is very high.
In addition, most car drivers do not appreciate the time needed to stop a rig and will invariably pull in front of the truck and start braking without leaving the sufficient room.
Many road traffic officials have an adversarial relationship with truckers and see them as inconvenient, unnecessary road users.
This can manifest in several types of instances, including being pulled over for very minor infractions of the law to constantly harassing the drivers with roadworthy or weight checks.
The employers constantly harass the truck drivers regarding gas usage, en route expenses, and the speed at which the truck travels.
The employers need the cargo delivered as fast as possible, for as little as possible. These goals are sometimes achieved at the expense of safety.
- Fellow Road Users
- Road Traffic Officials
- The Truckers Employers
4. Truck Drivers Are Rarely At Home
Truck driving is not for everyone, and the sacrifices are very stark.
It doesn’t matter what kind of goods the truck driver is transporting, if there are long distances involved the truck driver is rarely at home.
Even if the truck is just hauling freight, where the driver does little more than drive and open and close the back doors, they are generally away from home for periods ranging from a week to many weeks.
This means that a long-distance truck driver with children will often miss their children’s important milestones and life events.
Living in a truck away from friends and loved ones often makes it an uninviting job for young people and is one reason why so many older people drive.
- Truck drivers travel long distances
- Truck drivers often miss children’s milestones
5. Truck Driving Is Tiring
If you ever want to know what a truck driver’s occupation is like, try opening a newspaper and hold it in front of you.
If you can do this for many hours without falling asleep, you are probably suited to being a truck driver.
Long-distance truck driving involves hours and hours of driving without stopping trying to make the best time possible. The cargo is offloaded at the end of the journey, and the next journey starts.
- Truck driving involves traveling long distances
- It is difficult for drivers to stay awake
6. Truck Drivers Require Physical Strength
Some trucks require upper body strength not only to manipulate the truck controls but also to hitch up and release trailers and to move cargo in and out of the truck.
Most truck drivers figure out some techniques that mean they work smarter not harder.
- Hooking and unhooking trucks requires physical strength
- Loading and unloading cargo sometimes requires strength
7. There Are Dangers When Being On The Road
Truck driving involves spending long periods alone and using truck stops and other facilities.
To stay safe and protected the truck driver must have a set of safety rules and then stick to them.
Never Park In A Dark Isolated Place: Always park in a well-lit, safe location, preferably where other trucks are stopped. Stay away from dark, isolated spots where there is no help available.
Truck Drivers Should Avoid Fines By Overstaying The Welcome: If the truck is parked overnight on the roadside or in a ditch, the drivers should plan their schedule to leave before it becomes a fineable offense. However, safety should always come first and if leaving before the time runs out increases the risks, rather be prepared to accept the fine or demerit.
Park And Use The Ablutions In Daylight: The trucker should always try to park at a truck stop before the sun goes down. It is also important to use the ablutions and showers while it is still light. You don’t want to have any crazy stories about the time you got kidnapped on I-95!
Don’t Socialize Excessively: The Hollywood image of truckers stopping overnight and enjoying a few drinks with colleagues before driving off in the morning is, unfortunately, generally fiction. The drivers must be careful who they befriend and try to keep conversations with strangers at a minimum.
Drivers Shouldn’t Give Unknown People A Lift: The truck drivers have to be very cautious about who they will give a lift to. Not only is this a precaution to prevent being attacked but having a third party person in the truck may influence the insurance coverage. Many trucking companies do not allow their drivers to pick up random people to give them a lift.
- Never park in a dark, isolated place
- Socialize excessively
- Drivers should not give unknown people a lift