With consumerism vastly increasing, the demand to get products from supplier to manufacturer, from manufacturer to business, and from business to homes gets more urgent, as well. Unless it’s our job, we often don’t think about how things get from place to place or how much it costs to get something from one place to another—unless that shipment directly impacts our daily life.
Luckily for most of us, there are many forms of transportation that offer these delivery services, so we don’t have to worry about it. Some of these methods include by air, by sea, and by train but the biggest industry for land transportation is the trucking industry.
We often see these 16-wheeled kings of the road cruising down the highways or serpentining through our bustling metropolitan downtown areas. Needless to say, trucks and truck drivers are everywhere. There are many transport companies that specialize in transporting different products, most of them being commercial companies that need food and raw material, as well as just about everything else imaginable, transported. Whatever the case, truck drivers are at the forefront of all our transportation needs.
But when we think about truck drivers, we don’t take this diversity into mind. Instead, we have this picture in our head of what truck drivers look like, how they act like, and even what their sense of hygiene is like. The media helps us put this image in our heads because many of us haven’t met or worked with a truck driver in our daily lives. Without further ado, here’s a list of 20 weird things people believe about truck drivers.
20 Truck Drivers Are Poor
For certain people, truckers are stereotyped as being on the lower end of the socioeconomic bracket. They believe that since they are driving a truck all day, there’s not much money to be made for a monotonous task. But many truck drivers actually make quite a good wage for the fruits of their labor. The average truck driver salary in Canada is about $43,060 a year, while some more experienced workers can make about $73,202, which is very impressive! Many truck drivers also opt for being paid by the kilometer, as well, which often rakes in more money than a salaried truck driver.
19 Truck Drivers Aren't Knowledgeable
There is a stigma that lingers around truck drivers, and general laborers as well, that makes people believe that they aren’t knowledgeable. There are people that believe that those who have chosen the trucking lifestyle haven’t advanced in their education and chose to settle for something that can get them a living wage. The fact is, truck drivers are, in fact, educated and learn a lot of things when they’re on the road, as well. Truck drivers visit many interesting places and, in turn, can be very well versed on a plethora of information, whether it’s politics, geography, or economics. What makes trucking so interesting is that the roads are your office and many people would love to make a living outdoors.
18 Truck Drivers Don't Shower
Being out on the road all day, soaking up the country views and sunlight, and blasting your favorite music or radio shows sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? But when’s the last time you answered nature’s call or showered? People tend to think that since truckers are constantly on the move, they lack the time for personal hygiene. Truckers, just like everybody else, do in fact shower regularly and answer the calls normally. Truck stops are equipped with very hygienic showers and take their cleanliness very seriously. At the end of a long day on the road, there’s nothing quite like a nice long shower to finish your day.
17 Truck Drivers Don't Sleep
Truck drivers are often thought to go sleepless for many nights, since they are thought to travel far and wide to reach their destination. In reality, most truck drivers don’t travel too far from home and at the end of the day, they can unwind in their own bed. But, what about the truckers that do travel long distances? For these truckers, they have a special extension at the back of their truck called a sleeper cab, which comes equipped with a bed for the driver to get some much-needed shut-eye. There are some who go to motels and hotels but oftentimes, sleeping in the cab is just enough.
16 Truck Drivers Aren't Cultured
Some people tend to have a schema in their heads that truck drivers aren’t cultured, or aren’t well versed in the state of current global affairs. Whether this fact is due to how people associate trucking with lack of education or how trucking is portrayed on certain media, the fact of the matter definitely points in the opposite direction. As stated earlier, truckers visit many interesting places and often get to talk with people and absorb the culture of the areas they visit. They also tend to listen to talk radio and get to learn a lot about nationwide and localized politics.
15 Truck Drivers Are Sketchy
In the media, we often see truckers hanging around weird truck stops, having some sort of ulterior motive and engaging in illicit activities (even though truck companies routinely perform blood tests). I’m not sure why this is the case but the schema as depicted seems to be very far from reality. Truck drivers are very friendly and often like to make conversation and build rapport with people they come across. We’ve all experienced, at one time or another, a truck driver blowing their horn for someone who asks for it and seeing them titter like a schoolgirl. It’s small gestures like these that show us that they like to make people’s day.
14 Truck Drivers Don't Have Families
It is often thought that since truckers spend so much time on the road, sometimes for days or weeks at a time, that it is not possible for them to have a family. Truck drivers, just like any other person, have a normal capacity to meet people and to have a family. Many truck drivers do have families and oftentimes when they work, it’s not far from home. So, whenever they go out to make their deliveries for the day, they have the peace of mind knowing that they will be home in time to have supper and spend time with their families.
13 Truck Drivers Don't Have Friends
Along with the thought that truck drivers don’t have families, it’s often thought that truck driver’s don’t have any friends, as well. I’m not sure why it’s such a common thought that truckers are lonely but in reality, it tends to be the opposite. Truck drivers, just like everyone else, have made a lot of meaningful friendships in their lifetime and value and keep those friendships and spend time with their friends on days off. When working, truck drivers also can get along with the dispatcher or call family and friends on downtime.
12 Truck Drivers Are Only Male
While the trucking industry is indeed predominantly male, there is a population of female drivers that take the reigns as truck drivers as well. In Canada, it is estimated that 3% of women are commercial truck drivers, while in the United States, it is about 6%. The numbers are fairly low for drivers but in the transportation industry as a whole, female workers are 18% in dispatch, 25% in freight claims and safety, and 11% in managerial staff. The industry is currently taking measures to try and recruit more drivers (male and female) by offering more enticing salaries and benefits.
11 Truck Driving Is Easy
For many of us, driving can get to be a monotonous task for long periods of time. Driving seems to become more of an automatic task for us and for many people, they don’t have to think about much, since the routes they take are often familiar and they know what to expect. For truck drivers, they have to be very mindful of their surroundings when operating such a large vehicle and precious cargo. It’s a very thought-intensive process, especially when having to make tight turns, and reversing into a property in order to drop off their shipment. If it were an easy job, there wouldn’t be a school and a certification required to be qualified!
10 Truck Drivers Sit Down All The Time
For truck drivers, their office is on the road and in their truck. For a large portion of their day, truck drivers do indeed in the driver's seat to get to their destination. But what a lot of people forget is that once the drivers arrive at their destination, they also have to unload the shipment and that the same goes for before their trip, when they have to load their trucks. A lot of the time, this is done with a manual pallet jack and drivers have to maneuver the pallets into the loading bay. These pallets can range in weight and maneuvering these large pallets in tight spaces is no easy task, especially when you have upwards of 8 to 12 to move at a time.
9 Truck Drivers Only Eat Junk Food
Road trips are awesome and while on the road, we’ve all been lulled with the beautiful siren’s song of fast food signs that greet us at the exit signs. Golden arches can be seen from far and wide and a lot of the time we give in to the temptation. But what about truck drivers? Are they only limited to the food that they can find on the road? While this is definitely an option, most truck drivers often opt to prepare their own healthy meals at home or, alternatively, look for diners that offer a wider variety. This is not to say they don’t occasionally indulge but it’s not high on their priority list.
8 Truck Drivers Are Overweight
Okay, so this one may be a little bit of a mixed bag. According to sources from a few years ago, truck drivers were on the top of the list for overweight workers in the United States with 39% of them being overweight. Following this, police officers, firefighters, and office workers came right up behind truck drivers with percentages in the high 30’s. But, that doesn’t mean that all truck drivers are overweight. As stated before, truck drivers do perform very physical duties when it comes to loading and unloading, which offer them quite a bit of physical exercise on the job.
7 Truck Drivers Cause Many Accidents
This one has definitely crossed our minds at one point or another. When we drive past large commercial trucks in order to overtake them, a lot of us often feel anxious that the truck may jolt suddenly in our direction, or that the truck driver isn’t able to see us in his mirrors. Many people believe that trucks on the road are caused many of the accidents we hear about on the news. But a study from the University of Michigan Transport Research Institute says that 81% of the time, the car drivers were the assigned the fault, versus 27% for those supposedly dangerous truck drivers.
6 Truck Drivers Aren't Supervised
Imagine having the world as your oyster; tou’re in your big rig, with the wind in your hair, and the roads are bending to your every will. Freedom is often a term that comes to mind when you’re driving down a long road on a road trip and some people may think that truck drivers are their own bosses and can take their sweet time on their journey. In fact, truck drivers are under supervision from the company they work for, by the company that they received the goods from, and by the company that is receiving the goods. So truck drivers are on the clock, just like everybody else.
5 Truck Drivers Aren't Professional
People tend to think that truck drivers don’t have to maintain a level of professionalism while on the job because, most of the time, they’re alone. But truck drivers do indeed deal with a lot of clients on the pickup end and on the delivery end. There is a level of professionalism involved to properly reflect on their company and for businesses to keep using this company for future deliveries. If a driver did not maintain a professional attitude, chances are that businesses would not want their services, and needless to say, the driver would not work for the company anymore.
4 Truck Drivers Swear A Lot
We’ve all heard the term “swear like a sailor” but the same doesn’t really apply to truck drivers. Sure, in our own bubbles and when we’re off the clock, we can do or say whatever we please to kick back and be at our maximum comfort level. Vernacular when you’re in the comfort of your own home doesn’t count here. But on the clock, truck drivers (just like everybody else) don’t go just go around using slurs as colorfully as possible. Most of the time, they are able to refrain from using inappropriate language and have had a lot of training doing so in their professional career, not to mention with their families at home.
3 Truck Drivers Only Drive Big Rigs
When a person mentions that they are a truck driver, people tend to think of big rigs. We picture them driving these massive 16-wheelers, going on the long haul across the country. But there are many different types of truck drivers. We often forget that we have smaller transport trucks, like mail trucks, and garbage trucks. Regardless of what kind of truck they drive, it does take quite a large level of skill to maneuver these special vehicles and it takes a lot to be certified to get behind the wheel and master these vehicles on the road to keep a truck-driving job.
2 Truck Drivers Only Wear Trucker Hats
I mean, come on, this one has to be true! It’s in the name of the hat and everything! Contrary to the name, and how truck drivers have popularized the style of this rear-mesh hat, truck drivers do not only wear trucker hats. Everyone has a specific style and although these hats are more common in the industry, they don’t have to wear them as some part of a uniform or anything. We all like to form schemas in our heads and for truck drivers, we definitely picture them wearing the trucker hat and one other article of clothing on this list…
1 Truck Drivers Always Wear Plaid
Plaid isn’t just limited to lumberjacks anymore. When we think of truck drivers, a vast majority of us definitely think that plaid, flannel shirts dominate the truck driver’s closet space. Although plaid is very popular with not only truckers, but society as a whole, truckers, in fact, do not always wear plaid. Their fashion isn’t dictated by some sort of society and it isn’t written in their contracts that they must have a minimum of three plaid shirts in their closet. Also, some drivers are given uniforms to wear, so personal fashion is out of the picture. It’s definitely just a versatile style that some people, including truckers, like and that some people don’t.
Sources: Neuvoo, Roadmaster, TA-Petro, CDL Training Spott, and All Trucking.