Is a Trucker’s Life Hard? Quick Facts About Life on the Road

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For many people, work will revolve around a commute to a destination. Whether that place is a school, factory, or bar, one thing is universal: we all hate traffic. What if there were a job where traffic was the office? The morning commute was never-ending. What if that were your entire professional life? No, this isn’t an advertisement for straight razors and “goodbye” stationery. This is an examination of the pros and cons of life on the road as a long-haul truck driver.

Truck Driving – The Good


It may sound overrated, but there is much to be said for the fact that a truck driver’s boss is usually several states away.

It’s hard to have someone breathing down your neck when they’re in a different time zone, lungs just aren’t that strong. This means the driver usually makes their own schedule and can have all the horrible work habits they wish.

As long as the cargo reaches its destination, you can go right ahead and work in a Spiderman onesie, listening to Menudo, smoking a cigar, and drinking Yoohoo by the gallon. Not sure why you’d do that, but you may. You have that freedom.

Decent Pay

True, sitting in a rumbling steel monster is payment enough in itself, truck drivers potentially earn around $50,000 per year. When one considers other variables such as holidays, bonuses and hazardous materials transport premiums (more on that later,) it is very possible to make a fine career living off beef jerky and questionable diner food.

However if you’d like the eat something else a little less reflex-inducing, we can help you out with that. Here’s a list of our favorite snacks.

Job Security

In the current climate of job instability, it certainly is reassuring to know that goods will always need to be transported from Point A to Point B. That’s where you come in.

Ongoing shortages in drivers means that a dependable, experienced freight hauler can be assured of having steady work for the foreseeable future. Throw in the possibility of unionization with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters or the like, and unless you’re Jimmy Hoffa, things should go relatively smoothly.

Truck Driving – The Bad

Social Isolation

While it may not sound it, sitting in close proximity to your fellow man on sun-baked concrete is actually pretty lonely. (We talk more about shift work and mental health over here if you’re keen to dive more into this).

Other than impolite phrases suggesting inserting things into body parts, and hand gestures not approved by the Sign Language Association, there isn’t much in the way of communication. Sure, there is the Citizens Band Radio (CB) used for talking, but it lacks the humanity that some people crave. This can be overcome with time though.

It is not uncommon for drivers to have friends in every state. Those who know truckers personally will attest to getting random calls for a meetup out of the blue. It’s a strange life, but hardly a boring one. We talk more about the social life of a shift worker here. Take a peek if you’re craving some mates.

Health Concerns

While it may not seem it, sitting for hours at a time in a diesel-powered titan of the road isn’t the healthiest way to spend your life. Exhaust fumes, cigarettes, brake dust, and hazardous cargo all play a nice little game of “I’m trying to kill you” with your lungs.

A sedentary life of sitting in a chair, and gripping a wheel is also surprisingly unhealthy. Also, prepare for a surprise, living off of fast food and highly caffeinated soda tends to wreak havoc on you after you turn 25.

High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and a variety of other bonuses are very real concerns among these other couple as explained in a video we produced.

Luckily, your company will likely monitor your health constantly. These concerns can be offset by simple things like an exercise regimen at rest areas and making healthy food to take on the road. A small refrigerator or oven (we like this one on Amazon) in your cab is certainly preferable to a portable defibrillator (which I’m 90% sure is illegal.)

If you’re trying to prioritize your health a bit more, here are a few posts that will come in handy;

Family Strain

Now, if you’re a really nasty person, maybe time away from your family will, in fact, be welcome by your “loved ones.” Still, the thing about families is that they sometimes like to see you. This can be a problem if you need to drive 20,000 miles away from them.

In point of fact, many holidays and family occasions will be missed. It’s just the nature of the game. You will be able to make up for this on occasions where you have weeks of downtime, but a high school graduation is hard to make up for, no matter how many idle Tuesdays you have that month.

That being said, current technology such as video chats and unlimited long-distance calling, and texts can go a long way to help keep your kids from calling the dog “Daddy.” Besides, souvenirs from other states are a neat way to bribe your kids to love you.

I can’t think of any six-year-old who wouldn’t want a shot glass from a shady New Orleans bar.

As for some guidance with navigating family and your job, this one dives deeper into this complex issue giving you and your partner plenty of pointers and this one will walk you through some different communication strategies to try.

If you are in fact rostered on for Christmas, here are 9 Reasons Why Working Christmas Night Isn’t So Bad.

Truck Driving – The Ugly


There is no way to put this nicely; trucking, like everything else, is subject to change. Whether it is the unstable price of fuel to the prospect of automated driverless trucks, the future of trucking is as unstable as anything else.

While the prospect of automation may indeed be close, chances are that a human driver will still be used much in the same way an airline pilot exists despite autopilot being used. Even if The Terminator doesn’t take your job in the near future, the economy can bankrupt entire companies with little or no warning.

Fleets of trucks sit idle due to natural disasters and market trends. International agreements and now pandemics are all things to consider when planning your yearly budget. These uncertainties can make trucking a career one may wish to reconsider.

Nature is Trying to Kill You

Hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, and pretty much anything else in the Bible that killed people who looked sideways at the Lord all stand between you and your delivery of novelty coffee mugs to some warehouse in Oklahoma.

In fact, driving a truck rates among the top ten deadliest jobs in the nation. Yes, you stand right next to people wielding chainsaws miles away from medical attention and people who literally mine gas in terms of sad endings.

If this sounds like a mistake, just remember, that truck drivers routinely drive on icy mountains during the worst winters of the year just to deliver unwanted sweaters to ungrateful cousins on Christmas Day (and you thought it was a sleigh and reindeer…)

Take into account the other, much more bizarre ways of meeting one’s end (relieving oneself on a snake on a desert road at night, hitchhiker muttering something about The Old Ones while cradling a sickle, and all manner of things not warned about in trucker school,) and a higher than usual mortality is easy to understand.


All joking aside, driving for hours at a time, usually alone on some forgotten highway is just downright boring. After hours of seeing the lines on the road, the mind starts to play tricks and you still have a dozen stops to go before you can rest.

One can only listen to the same song on the radio before you are begging for that light in the sky to be some alien about to give you a good probing, if for no other reason than to break up the monotony. Sure, movies like The Duel, Joy Ride, Breakdown, and others show truckers as mysterious killers, preying upon us all to sate their nefarious appetites, but the truth is, they were probably just bored.

It’s probably true that if all you’ve had to eat for three days is Big Macs and Moon Pies, you’d probably want to take an axe to a few heads yourself. In all reality, there are current things that do help with this mind-numbing that occurs (no, not meth,) like audiobooks, specific playlists and long form podcasts. The sad reality is that truck driving simply isn’t meant for everyone for this very reason: It can and will be horrifically boring, and not all people can stand it.

As for staying awake when you’re bored, we’ve started drinking Sneak Energy powder. We like it because it is tasty, has enough caffeine to really wake you up (150mg!) but doesn’t have the sugar. Plus, you don’t need to keep it in the fridge to taste any good. Check out the Sneak Energy website.

So, there is the short and long of it all. Truck driving is a career that offers much to many, provided they can find a healthy balance to the many negatives. While those negatives may be plentiful (and painful in some cases,) long-haul driving can in fact provide a decent life with minimal investment.

As well as the increased possibility of meeting sickle-wielding madmen.

And probing.

Next up you can either do some more reading, Craving Routine? Best Daily Night Shift Schedule or watch this video about caffeine. I’m biased, but both are good.


Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure and privacy statement for more info.

Female truck driver smiling

Daniel Smith

Managing a global sales team I've experienced the challenges of working at all hours of the day and night. Being a shift worker I know how tough it can be balancing everyday life when you feel like you haven't slept in weeks! Providing advice and tips on how to manage your schedule, whilst still staying healthy is where I can help.

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