Semi-truck drivers (also known as heavy truck drivers or tractor trailer providers) are not only a staple part of US culture but also provide a necessary service all across the globe. So, what exactly do they do? Truck drivers usually hit the road transporting important goods such as raw materials, products for sale, and any other item that needs to be transported worldwide.
However, although life on the road might sound rather fun, it is actually quite grueling and can be a lonely life. For instance, drivers often work away from home for days and sometimes a week at a time, leaving their families and lives behind them. Furthermore, the job requires drivers to be strong-willed, physically strong, and also capable of driving long distances without falling asleep. Yes, it might sound easy, but the stamina needed to stay awake after driving for many hours at a time can be, ironically, exhausting.
Although the job might be difficult, it does have its bonuses, especially with regards to the community that truck drivers have built between them. That's right, from regular meetups, supportive atmospheres, and comfortable pit stops, the truck driving community really is one of a kind. Nevertheless, they still have a number of issues when it comes to their working lives, so let's take a look at 20 problems semi truck drivers deal with every day.
20 Pressure To Make Deliveries
Truck drivers work long hours with the days turning into months and months into years. In addition to long hours, the life of a truck driver is actually rather strenuous, with added pressure from the bosses above. Yes, the pressures to get something delivered on time is huge and can impact a driver's mental health on the daily. The majority of companies across the world set unrealistic goals with regards to deliveries and timing, forcing their staff to go that extra mile (quite literally) in order to get it delivered on time. Unfortunately, this added pressure can be extremely dangerous for the driver as well as other drivers on the road.
19 Poor Truck Maintenance
Truck drivers know all about bad maintenance and have to deal with broken engines and dodgy exhaust systems every day. Yes, driving such a beast of a machine automatically puts you under pressure, mostly due to the fact that it is up to you to fix anything that might go wrong. Unfortunately, semi truck drivers are used to having nobody care about their machines, with the companies that hire them usually pretty lax when it comes to maintaining their trucks. Some of the most common breakages are leaks, sensor problems, engine failure, and improper door seals. Yes, driving a truck is stressful.
18 Bad Road Conditions
Driving a truck for days on end can be tough, especially when the roads are long and unchanged. For truck drivers, it is important to have a comfortable ride for peace of mind but also for safety. That's right, truck drivers traverse large parts of the country on the daily and are professionals when it comes to the roads. Therefore, they have probably driven on a number of irritating and annoying road surfaces. Yes, road maintenance can be an issue for truck drivers, who have severe problems navigating their monster machines through shoddy labor, potholes, and, of course, road work zones.
17 No Exercise
Imagine sitting down all day and not being able to stretch your legs when you wanted to or go for a quick walk around the block to get some fresh air. For truck drivers, this is life, with rolling down the window the best they can do for some quick access to oxygen. Yes, semi truck drivers go extremely long distances without getting up, moving their feet, and getting that much-needed exercise. Plus, when they finally arrive at their destination, the last thing they want to do is burn some calories; driving is tiring remember! Sadly, this is becoming a major problem for truck drivers, especially with regards to mental health.
16 Unhealthy Diet
Now, we don't want to be throwing around stereotypes but the standard image of an overweight truck driver with a burger in their hand does have some truth in it. Yes, truck drivers do tend to be overweight—not all of them, but quite a lot. However, it seems understandable how this could be the case. It is impossible to exercise, you're sitting down a lot, and the only food available to you is the food on the road, which tends to be fast food. Sadly, this also has repercussions, with fast food usually extremely salty and fattening, so it can lead to things such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
15 Sleep Problems
Everybody knows driving is tiring, especially when driving long distances or overnight. One of the biggest problems and potential dangers of truck driving is the fact that you need to stay away. Yes, it might sound silly but in the past, there have been a number of accidents related to drivers not getting enough sleep and conking out at the wheel. These days, rules and regulations have been put into place to stop this from happening. However, pressures on delivery times and payment have forced a number of drivers to skip the rules and keep on driving, despite not having the required amount of sleep.
14 No Fixed Hours
One of the worst things about being a truck driver is the worry and uncertainty that comes with the job. Yes, the turnover for truck drivers is extremely large, with people often coming and going and going and coming. However, this cavalier attitude is damaging to the driver as it shows how easily they can be replaced and also how little they are respected. That's right, job security is at an all-time low in the field of truck driving, with drivers frequently sacked, laid off, or simply just not hired again. Sadly, this just seems to be the nature of the job because truck drivers are easily replaceable.
13 Low Pay
You would think—due to the long hours, long distances, and dangers that truck driving holds—that the pay would be at least worth it. Wrong. Yes, truck drivers earn a lot less than you would expect, with pay raises and bonuses also rare. Plus, companies often attempt to get out of paying for motel bills, food bills, and other things required on the road like gas and oil. Thankfully, over the last couple of years payment has increased, but it took a lot of work for it to happen. However, it is still not enough, with truck drivers most definitely underpaid in comparison to the work that they actually do.
12 No More Pit Stops
Truck stops, also known as service stations, are places for truck drivers to rest, socialize, and grab something to eat. In the past, truck stops were vibrant areas, with whole towns depending on the income. In fact, these truck stops were also saviors to the truck drivers themselves, who would often look forward to seeing old friends and having some home-cooked food. Unfortunately, due to the creation of the interstate highways and a number of cross country roads, truck stops have been made obsolete and are now mostly abandoned, with only memories to their name. Furthermore, truck stops nowadays have a somewhat seedy reputation for unsavory activity and people you would probably want to avoid.
11 No Weather Updates
One of the biggest problems truck drivers have to deal with is the lack of weather updates. Yes, due to a lack of technology in the vehicles, as well as a lack of communication from the bigwigs above, truck drivers have no idea what awaits them on the road. From tornadoes to hurricanes and snow storms to blistering heat, truck drivers have to be prepared for everything. In fact, in India, a recent law made it mandatory for all truck drivers to have air conditioning in their cars, due to a number of incidents involving overheating and the health of the driver. Hopefully, more weather-related rules will come into place in the not so distant future.
Many shipping companies across the globe attempt to save costs by overloading their trucks so that fewer trips are required. However, not only is this unwise but it is also extremely dangerous and puts both the driver and other drivers at risk. For instance, overloading can cause a driver to lose control, which then causes the truck to overturn or worse. This has happened numerous times on the roads and has resulted in injury and even worse. To prevent such accidents, truck drivers are now being given mandatory weight checks. However, this is still not compulsory in all states, let alone countries.
9 Relationship Issues
The majority of truck drivers suffer from strains in their personal relationships, mostly due to a large amount of time that they spend away from home. That's right, truckers are rarely at home, and when they are, it is not for long. For a truck driver, home is on the road, with personal relationships struggling as a result. This can be hard for a trucker, especially those who are married or have children. Many truckers miss pivotal moments of their child's life due to traveling on the road and end up abandoning their career as a result. However, some don't, with a number of drivers ending up divorced soon after starting their job.
8 Lack of Technological Advances
The trucking industry is extremely old-school, with drivers still expected to get around without GPS or any kind of high-quality mapping structure. That's right, trucking has seemingly managed to avoid the technology boom and is still stuck in the past with regards to its technological advances. Sadly, this leaves drivers with not only a lack of knowledge but it also leaves drivers exposed to threats that could otherwise be solved by simple technological procedures. Plus, drivers are less educated even when it comes to the internet, which could be another aid in making their job more comfortable and healthier.
7 No Career Ladder
The majority of truckers spend around 14 hours on the road, either in severe road conditions or dealing with the annoying habits of other cars. Then, to make matters worse, they are given just ten hours to relax, sleep, and eat before finding themselves back behind the wheel for a whole new round of dangerous climates and irritating drives. Sadly, the pay is often not worth the trouble, with truckers known for receiving low wages. Furthermore, there doesn't' seem to be any kind of career ladder, or at least any increase in pay. That's right, the limits of truck driving tend to extend to just truck driving, with no other options above or beyond.
Truck drivers travel long distances across states, cities, and even countries. Therefore, it seems obvious that they might run into a few hairy characters from time to time. However, truck drivers seemingly have no protection, especially when it comes to traveling at night. That's right, truck drivers are not schooled on how to look after themselves, or when and where not to go. They have to learn these things by themselves or from the advice of other truckers. Plus, truckers have a target on their backs, especially when they are carrying expensive goods, and can easily be done away with when it comes to unsavory activity.
5 No Respect From Other Drivers
The life of a truck driver is a lonely one, especially when compared to other jobs across the world. That's right, truck drivers often spend days upon days on their own, driving long distances with only their thoughts for company. Sadly, not everybody realizes how damaging this can be to a person and we tend to forget this while out on the roads. For instance, other car drivers are known to give truck drivers zero respect when it comes to who rules the roads and they often do irritating and dangerous things. So, next time you find yourself next to a semi-truck driver, give them a little thought and think about what you're doing.
4 Problems With The Authorities
One of the most common problems for truck drivers across the world is harassment by the authorities. Truck drivers often have to cross a number of checkpoints, especially when crossing states or entering into new territory. Yes, truck drivers really are at a disadvantage when it comes to the rules and regulations of a new country and can be turned away at an instant for not complying or following rules that they had no idea about. Sadly, the authorities can also be extremely rude, discriminatory, and prejudiced. Furthermore, despite their best efforts, corruption also exists and can affect an unknown number of truckers worldwide.
3 Car Hangers
One of the most annoying problems that truck drivers have to deal with is other drivers, especially those in cars. Yes, drivers that continuously hang onto the side of the truck are up there with the most annoying things in the world, according to some truck drivers, who state that it is not only irritating but also extremely dangerous. The rule states that if the car driver can't see the truck's mirrors then the truck driver can't see the car driver, therefore tailgating is most certainly a no. However, this doesn't stop cars hanging out at their side, with car drivers thinking it's ok because they can see the truck's mirrors. Heads up: it's not.
2 Finding Food
Finding any kind of healthy food can be extremely difficult for a truck driver, especially when driving across countries. For some reason, fast food seems to be the only option on the road, mostly due to how cheap and easy it is to make. Furthermore, for truck drivers, it is also a convenient option, as it means that they can keep on driving (while eating) and meeting their deadlines. Sadly, not only is this unhealthy, but it can lead to dangerous health problems such as obesity and diabetes. However, some steps are being made in order to tackle the problem, with more and more food outlets attempting to create healthier meals.
1 Slow Drivers
Truck drivers have a lot of stuff to worry about, from the maintenance of their trucks to their own sanity. Therefore, the last thing they want to worry about is the standards of driving from other people on the road. One of the biggest complaints from truck drivers is the speed of their fellow drivers. In fact, truck drivers regularly claim that they often have to tell drivers to speed up, which is both irritating and embarrassing. Seriously guys, if a truck is coming up behind you and implying that they might have to overtake, then you are going too slow.
Sources: Jalopnik, Wikipedia, and Nate's Landing.