Freedom of the Open Road

By Jack Humphrey, Staff Writer
Article last updated on 4/24/2007

For many, the appeal of the open road is one of most important factors in the decision to become a professional truck driver. Unlike a lot of jobs, truck drivers lead a more independent lifestyle, traveling the country and getting paid for it. Sure, there are deadlines to keep and policies to follow, but drivers enjoy a greater sense of freedom than hundreds of other occupations. The over-the-road driver doesn’t have a boss standing over his shoulder watching his every move. The important decisions of trip planning are in the hands of the driver. With the use of in-cab satellite communications system, drivers can communicate efficiently with dispatchers, as well as get the latest traffic conditions and weather reports.

New over-the-road drivers need to be prepared to be away from home at least one week (seven days) at a time. It’s common for an over-the-road to be away from home two to three weeks at a time. Every trucking company has a defined “home time” policy. This policy is the guideline for how often drivers are routed home. The rule of thumb in trucking is that for every week spent on the road, the driver earns one day of home time. So, after a three week run, a driver can expect to be home three to four days. Most people start their career in trucking with irregular route truckload carriers which means these companies and generally cover a larger geographic area and don’t run the same routes or loads everyday. Most companies use a forced dispatch system to send trucks and drivers to pick up & delivery freight anywhere in the company’s shipping lanes.

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