Are You Considering a Career in Trucking?

First of all let me say that I have been driving trucks for 13 years, I have over one million accident free miles to my credit and have driven many types of trucks hauling a wide variety of freight. Next, a few undeniable truths about trucking, the hours are long and boring, trucking is in no way a glamorous job, and the vast majority of people you will come into contact with hate your guts based on preconceived prejudices.

Your worst enemy on the highways are not traffic cops (they come in second in this race) they are four wheelers (cars pickups motorcycles ie the general public) most of these people have no idea that physics takes a major role in operating a truck and they assume your are there to slow them down or run over them. They seem to believe that no matter what speed you are driving it is either to fast or to slow. Then you have to deal with the fact that every one of them will try to beat you every time, by this i mean when they are approaching an exit they need they will pass you, cut you off, then slow down very quickly to make their exit or they will wait rill they have to cut you off to merge in front of you. Most four wheelers believe that since they are driving a (insert favorite brand of car here) they automatically have right of way in all situations.

Your next enemy on the road is of course traffic cops and the much hated DOT (Department Of Transportation). when you are driving your truck, you are working, just like the people siting in their offices and the doctor treating patients, you are doing a job you have been specifically trained to do. The problem lies with the fact that traffic cops are doing the job they were specifically trained to do which is to prevent you from earning a living by any means necessary. Cops are out there every day bravely enforcing archaic and oppressive laws that are blatantly anti trucker instead of actually protecting and serving all of the public (apparently it is not possible to commit a crime against a trucker).

Now you have to decide if trucking is the right career for you. When I started driving I was still a young man whose friends were always out partying, I had to give that up. My buddies were going to the lake for the weekend, I went to Detroit. They were doing shooters and playing quarters while i was dodging a blizzard on I-80 somewhere in Nebraska. What I’m trying to say is trucking doesn’t just slow down your social life, it kills it. You also have to decide if you can handle long periods of isolation and dealing with hostile people on a regular basis.

If you have not decided to keep working at the 7-11 by now I will tell you how to find a good school to learn your new trade. The first place you should look is with companies that will train you, they will not pay as well and will require you to work for them for a specified period of time (usually 1 year) but thats OK because until you have a years experience you do not qualify for a good job. Try to avoid the schools that engage in late nite advertising on the cable channels, they are way to expensive and the placement services they provide are with the same companies that will train you. Because they know these are the only companies that will hire you. Please note if you intend to pay out of pocket for a truck driving school make sure that your driving record and criminal record is acceptable to the companies that you wish to work for, otherwise you will find yourself having to beg for your job at 7-11 and having to pay off a $6000 school bill.

Alright, you have your license and you have been trained, here are some basic do’s and don’ts for the rookie driver. Do save up and get yourself a good CB radio, there is no need in buying a $400 radio when most of the $120 models are just as good. I use a cobra 29 ltd classic that i bought used from a CB shop (pallidin CB shop exit 142 on I40 in Oklahoma city), spend the big bucks on a good antennae and have a CB shop set your SWR’s. The antennae will make most of the difference because all new CBs come out of the box broadcasting at 4 watts(this can be adjusted at a CB shop too, mine kicks at around 35 watts). I use a wilson 2000 antennae but there are several others on the market that are just as good. The next thing you should know is don’t let the lot lizards(truck stop hookers) in your truck, not for any reason, they are there to get your money and they will kill you for 5 bucks if they have to. Next, obey all the laws applicable to your job,its way cheaper than getting caught. The extra cash you make for extending your logbook a bit will be lost when the DOT man checks it in the next state.

Now that you have graduated truck driving school, and worked for your sponsor company for a year you are ready to go find a real truck driving job that actually pays something. What you need to do is decide what you like to do,(flatbed, oversize, reefer, or some type of specialty hauling) I personally haul drilling mud because it allows me to be home at night and still make real good money but depending on where you live this might not be practical (not to much oil and gas exploration in the Bronx or south central LA). As you have learned by now, all trucking recruiters are lying dirty scumsucking vermin. The best way to find what you might like is to use the CB radio, talk to other drivers, find some old hands that have been around a while or when that shiny truck with the weird looking trailer passes you turn off the xm and get on the CB. Most truckers will brag if they like their job.

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