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A Day in the Life of a CDL-A Truck Driver

Posted in Blog, News  
Monday, October 4, 2021

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If you’ve ever considered a career change that offers more independence, excellent earning opportunities and plenty of variety, becoming a professional CDL-A truck driver may be perfect for you. There are a lot of great perks and advantages but it’s not for everyone. Here’s a quick peek at a day in the life of the professional truck driver.

Your day has a set amount of hours

The Federal Motor Safety Administration (FMSA) places limits on the number of hours truck drivers can drive in a day and the number of hours they need to rest. Based on the hours-of-service regulations in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s guide, a truck driver can drive down the road for 11-hours but their day stops after 14 hours. Before they can hit the road again, they must have a resting period of 10 consecutive hours. Should you be at a spot you can drop your trailer, the law does allow for after-hours P.C. (personal conveyance) should you need to bobtail someplace. (e.g., a restaurant or a store)

You’ll have a lot of variety

For a regional driver, who is typically out for a week or less, or an over-the-road driver, who spends a few days or weeks on the road before returning home, each day can be different. You go where the freight takes you! One day, you’re maneuvering in a city, and the next, you have a wide-open drive down a scenic highway.

When you begin your day

For an OTR (Over The Road) truck driver, in most cases, it is beneficial for their shift to run through the night into the morning as that is when traffic is the lightest making it far less stressful. Going through towns at 3:00 am has far fewer cars and traffic lights to deal with than during rush hour. Before you get going, you’ll want to double-check the weather and route conditions. Drivers always need to allow time for a pre-trip inspection of the truck and completion of any required logs prior to getting on the road.

Get the most out of your day

Most CDL-A drivers are either paid by the load or by the mile. Either way you’ll want to keep those tires rolling because that’s how truck drivers earn their money. So, taking extra breaks or having long chats with people at your stops can not only lengthen your day but can cut into your paycheck. Successful drivers plan for meal breaks or even cook in the cab to save time and money. It’s also good to use this time to connect with family and friends to offset the time alone in the cab.

Wind down for rest time

For the OTR drivers, as the end of their work hours approach, they find a safe place to take their 10-hour break. These trucks are equipped with a sleeper (a large cab with built-in sleeping quarters) with amenities like a microwave, refrigerator, and a television so you can spend a comfortable night in the truck. Typically, a truck driver can have some wind-down time by eating a meal, calling home, or maybe watching a movie to unwind before going to sleep for the evening.

The future is yours

Although the life of a truck driver can be challenging, there are some great benefits associated with the profession. Truck driving is one of the best paying professions for trade-oriented individuals with a relatively low barrier to entry for most. 

Finding the right carrier

While all CDL-A professional truck driver jobs share some common aspects, there is a big difference in how various carriers treat their drivers. First year drivers at NTB earn an average of $70,000 their first year with a guaranteed two consecutive days off per week. They also have 12- and 14-hour home daily positions and have just introduced a full-time 4-day work week with full benefits and 3 consecutive days off. The NTB team works hard to make sure we create a great place for you to work, featuring a family feel to let you know you’re valued and an atmosphere of respect for what you do!

If you have questions about the life of a trucker and want some straight answers, NTB is here to help! Connect with us today.