Over-the-road (OTR) trucking, also known as long haul trucking, is a very lucrative and satisfying career path that entails shipping goods over great distances. It provides a wonderful sensation of independence and freedom and is ideal for people who are passionate about driving and who enjoy spending extended periods of time by themselves on the open road.
However, it’s imperative that you comprehend what this job comprises and what you need to prepare for before you go out on this path. We’ll go over everything you need to know to be a good long-distance driver in this blog post.
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What is long-distance driving?
A type of freight transportation known as long haul trucking involves moving supplies and goods over great distances and between states. Short haul truck drivers often carry loads within a 150-mile radius and within the same state, while long haul truck drivers frequently travel roughly 500 miles every day.
Long-distance truck drivers spend weeks at a time away from home since they travel great distances.
Read More: 8 Tips for Truck Driver Route Planning
Truck drivers needed for long distances
In addition to moving building materials, medical supplies, vehicles, gasoline, and other goods, truck drivers often move things like food, clothing, toys, and other souvenirs.
Data from Statista predicted that between 2023 and 2027, the U.S. e-commerce market revenue will grow continually by a total of 551.9 billion dollars (+54.59%). There is a need for CDL truck drivers to transport those things across the country due to the demand for goods.
Additionally, according to BLS.gov, 4% job growth is anticipated for Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers between 2021 and 2031. The predicted number of truck driver jobs through 2031 is 259,000 per year.
Additionally, the average age of truck drivers is 47 years old, according to Zippia. We calculated the 42-year-old average of the age data for various professions from BLS.gov. Compared to other professionals, truck drivers in the United States are older, and when they retire, many positions will become available.
Requirements for Long Haul Truck Drivers
Finding out the prerequisites to become a long-haul truck driver is the first step. To operate a commercial vehicle, you must be at least 21 years old and have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with the appropriate endorsements.
You’ll also need to get a physical checkup to make sure you have the required level of health. You must adhere to strict eyesight, hearing, and physical fitness requirements set by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in order to operate commercial vehicles.
Recognize the Price of Obtaining a CDL
The price of earning your CDL is another important thing to think about. Depending on where you live and the institution you pick, you should budget between $3,000 and $7,000 for a good training course.
Thankfully, there are a variety of financial choices available to assist you in covering the cost of truck driving school, including the Pell grant, jobless award, and grants for veterans. Additionally, certain organizations and trucking groups offer scholarships to help you acquire your CDL.
Additionally, you must be insurable and have a clean driving record in order to avoid paying higher insurance costs.
Prepare for Travel Life
Long-haul truck driving may be a taxing and isolating profession, so it’s critical to psychologically and emotionally prepare. The work is physically taxing and entails lengthy periods of sitting and driving, frequently in inclement weather.
Driver detention is another regular annoyance for long-distance drivers. Additionally, you frequently spend weeks at a time away from home due to the hundreds of miles you must drive each day.
Due to an obsolete legislation, truck drivers also do not receive overtime compensation for overtime hours worked. We can only hope that the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act and the Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act, which will assist to improve driving conditions for truckers, will be passed.
When unprepared, life on the road for OTR truck drivers may be very difficult. All of the aforementioned factors contribute to the scarcity of drivers by lowering truck driver retention.
You must therefore have realistic expectations about life on the road. To prevent weariness, you must get plenty of rest both before and during your travels. In order to plan your routes, schedule your stops, and complete all of your deliveries on time, you’ll also need to learn how to efficiently manage your time.
You will be in command of your truck and all of its equipment as a long-haul trucker. You must be well-versed on how to drive, maintain, and repair the various parts of your car.
Knowing how to check and repair your tires, brakes, and other crucial components will help keep your car safe and drivable.
Additionally, since your vehicle will serve as your home away from home on lengthy trips, you’ll need to maintain it tidy and organized.
Locate a Reputable Long Distance Trucking Firm
Finding a trustworthy long haul trucking company to work for is also essential. Find the company that best suits your needs by researching several employers, their recruiting practices, and their benefits.
Look for trucking companies that provide fair compensation, quality insurance, and consistent vacation time. Connecting with current drivers at the company and reading employee evaluations, salaries, and employment benefits on job sites like Indeed or Glassdoor are two ways to find out this information.
In order to make sure that you keep improving and developing as a long haul truck driver, find out if they provide programs for new drivers, such as mentoring or additional training.
Long-haul truck drivers’ salaries
Long haul truckers make more money than other drivers, despite the fact that the job can be challenging because they are frequently away from their families and dealing with bad weather and traffic.
The estimated total median income for a long-haul truck driver is little over $86,000 per year, according to Glassdoor. The long hauler’s compensation is between the 25th and 75th percentiles of all pay data, or $69,000 to $109,000 annually.
Contrast that with the median annual wage of a short-haul truck driver, which is over $81,000, and the annual wage of a non-CDL delivery driver, which is just over $43,000.
Long-haul trucking is a demanding but rewarding vocation that involves a major time, effort, and financial commitment. However, you may become a successful long distance driver and have a fantastic career on the open road with the correct training, preparation, and knowledge. To ensure a successful and safe travel, keep in mind to plan your trips wisely, stay attentive and focused when driving, and maintain your equipment.