THE LIFE OF A TRUCKER
My husband is an over the road truck driver or local (my preference) driver for over 20 years now.
His day begins with the log in, Good Morning Qualcomm where am I off to today? Or, depending on what family drama unfolded while he was home "get me the heck outta here". So he waits, sits and waits, waiting for the mystery to unfold, "Where am I going this time". This could be as soon as 15 minutes or as long as 2 hours plus. There were times when I rode with him and it could take up to 2 days to get dispatched.
What does a driver do: Well if he/she has internet, or T.V. he can keep busy as he/she waits. If not, then they can either read, work on puzzles, listen to the radio, or take a nap. He/she can go inside the truck stop and watch T.V., but have to constantly go back and forth to truck and check for messages. Time is money for these drivers, so it can be frustrating.
This is what is happening in our current day. My husband has been with this company for over 3 months. I came on the truck with him due to no income coming in on my part. I had tried to find work for a little over 3 months. I was employed but due to the Boss I had it was better I left. Another story for another time. Anyway, I had been trying to find some mind of work. Of course the rent did not stop, the water bills did not stop and the electricity bill did not stop. We were just getting further and further behind. We took personal loans to pay rent for those 3 months and up till now are still paying for them. These are electronic withdrawals so any monies coming in went right out. There were many, too many weeks we did not have enough money to even cover these withdrawals, so the next check we did get was going to NSF charges. Not only because we did not have any money in our checking account, but, we were having to take advances of about $50 to $100 a week for meals, sometimes paying for showers and doing laundry, so when payday did come we were short in our account, or in our case just had no money, none, zip. After 6 weeks of going through this, I have come to the realization that I will need to get off the truck and try again to find a job. I will stay with a family member, being I have no income for rent! This kind of works out anyway, because I was so scared with the winter driving. Actually I was a nervous wreck, and of course my husband did not need to be stressed out because of me. Long story short, it is better I get off the truck.
Getting back to what these drivers go through. The truck stops are a joke, these guys pay so much for their coffees, meals, showers, washers and dryers! Everything is so expensive. No breaks for these guys, and it is bad enough they live in their trucks 24/7. Literally! I know I was there.
To think that if it weren't for these guys stores would have no products to sell to customers for their needs. They should be right up there with policemen and firemen. They put their lives on the line every day. Winter storms are terrible and if the roads are bad these guys are risking their lives. Scary indeed! I saw too many accidents, I pray for them constantly. Drivers should have more respect for these truck drivers, give them a brake, they are slower making turns and it takes them a lot longer to stop suddenly. Drivers should be courteous to them. When they do a stupid move in front of these semi's they are taking a risk.
So why not make it more comfortable for these guys! Heck even the prison guys have it better than these drivers. I say free coffee, showers and maybe 1/2/ of their food bill would be great for our guys. To wash their clothes they are charging $2 a load and another $2 to dry them. Ridiculous!
If someone wants to contribute so I can start the perfect truck stop for these drivers I will be happy and honored to do this for them. They also deserve good home cooking. REMEMBER they are away from home...
What a lonely life for these guys and sad to have to be out on the road away from family just to earn a buck. I realize someone has to do it and thank God for these drivers.
Someday when you think about it, drop by a truck stop, drivers are lonely, they don't smile and how sad that they don't even talk with each other. Sad, sad life.
Please keep them in your prayers daily.
A poignant post. You should make a hub out of this.
I understand and sympathize; my father was a long distance driver for many years, and more years as a "local" driver, putting in 12 to 20 hour days.
Thanks for your response. I was just looking to put as a blog and happen to come across this. Not sure how to even do a hub? Thanks for the input. As I have stated, this is very hard as a wife waiting for husband to come home. Unfortunately for him, he has to stay out on the road almost 6 weeks to make any kind of money. I sure miss him when he's not around. I am still looking for work, but as of Monday I no longer will have a car. So talk about starting from the bottom. Not easy for this 55 yr old woman. But, God is good and will provide.
Sorry to hear that your life sucks and I hope that you get yourself a job soon enough and that your husband can still enjoy aspects of his job.
I do have to nit-pick at one bit though, this bit:
"To wash their clothes they are charging $2 a load and another $2 to dry them. Ridiculous!"
How much should they charge? To me that sounds really cheap. Not sure if that includes detergent, but a washing machine and tumble dryer will use a shedload of water and electricity. Those places are businesses, right?
I bet there are some launderette owners who could tell a sob story too, just because something seems expensive it doesn't always mean that it is. How much would you charge? For the washing and drying of clothes? I mean, they may be making $2 profit per load. But that if you were an independant you would need to wash and dry 50 loads to make $100?
How many washing machines would you need to do 50 loads in a day? 6 or 7 of each? Each of those has to be serviced and maintained? That just doesn't sound expensive to me, sorry.
Sorry. I have to nit-pick with you. My husband is also a driver, although he is (thankfully) local now.
Truck stops usually have at least 10 washers and 10 dryers. How often would those really have to be maintained? And, more importantly, how often do they get repaired? Most of the time, the truck stop just puts an out-of-order sign on its machines so that they don't have to fix them.
At $2 each ($4 per load - and this does not include the cost of detergent and fabric softener), a single driver will usually do 1-2 loads when they wash (how often is up to the individual driver). Most truck stops have anywhere from hundreds to thousands of drivers stopping in on a daily basis (it depends on the truck stop and location). It seems like the truck stops would have plenty of money coming in to more than cover the costs of their washer/dryer/water/electricity usage.
Keep in mind, they would be paying for electricity and water anyway because of the other services they offer (for which they also get paid). And vellatarr didn't even mention that truck stops charge the drivers to use the shower! That is, if they don't buy fuel (company drivers don't have to pay for their own fuel, but owner/operators do - about $700 to fill up a truck, so that's a really expensive shower).
And how much do these drivers make? About $42,000/year (average according to the U.S. government bureaucrats, so figure out the accuracy of that statement for yourself). Some owner/operator drivers make over $100,000/year before costs. Some company drivers make less than $30,000, but they have fewer costs. Owner/operators end up with about the same amount (or less) as company drivers, at the end of the day.
So, the question, ryankett, is not whether the truck stops can afford to lower the charge for their machine usage (they can because they make plenty of money elsewhere). The question is: can drivers afford to pay the charges (they can because they have to). But how much money does that leave for them and their families when it's all said and done? Not much!
Val, thanks for this wonderful tribute to the truck drivers. Like wilderness said you should make a hub out of it.
My middle son drove a truck for several years, sure the beauty of different states was great for new eyes but those eyes get tired after driving for miles and miles. I remember him calling me while he was traveling through Arkansas, Mom, you will never guess what I just saw! He said a straight line wind had came through and was turning flat bed trucks over on their sides. I was a nervous wreak everytime I knew he was going out in the truck. He is the foreman of a granite quarry now but he still takes out granite trucks on the weekends. I pray for him to be safe and I give truckers plenty of room when I'm on the road. You are right, those trucks can't stop on a dime, I know this for a fact. Thank you again.
Thanks for your response. YES, very heart wrenching to see those trucks turn over. I saw way too much this winter. I was a nervous wreck. It's not like I had not been on the truck before. 2 years ago, I was with my husband for about 6 months. Yes, the weather was better, and I was not even worried. BUT, this time around I just could not hang. I pray for these drivers every day. May God protect them. God's speed! My prayers are with you and your son and those truckers for their safe travels.
Hey Naomi, great to see you in the forums. Hope things are well.
I know exactly what you're going through! My husband is a truck driver too and we are struggling to make ends meet as well. I worry every time he walks out the door. My dad was a career trucker so I thought I could handle it...um, wrong. I, too, wish I could start a "trucker friendly" truck stop. I know it would be appreciated!
I had no idea about any of this, and you're absolutely right that we need to draw more attention to it and spread the word. I'd also be interested in a hub about this.
HI there, i'm a post graduate student in New Zealand and i came across your blog. Which helped me to make my final project, i'm looking at creating a product or new product for truck driver's and i would really like to know more about the trucking industry. If you could tell me more about what its like on the road and what you think would improve their lives that would be great.
Val and Wendy:
I'm with both of you! It would be great if we had enough money to start a decent truck stop for drivers, but since we're wives of truck drivers, of course we don't!
I'm so thankful my husband found a local driving job. He was OTR when we started dating, and I had a really hard time handling that. I worried about him all the time (especially when I couldn't reach him on his cell phone). My worries upset him so much that he started looking for a local job. And now that we have two little girls, he wouldn't go back OTR for anything (not that he'd make any more money OTR by the time he paid for everything, anyway).
Val, I'll be praying that you find a job soon. I'm fortunate to have a job myself, but I know what shape our family would be in if I didn't! I'm on maternity leave right now (week 6), and my disability checks have not started coming in yet, so we're basically living on my husband's income, and some of our bills are lying around unpaid for now ...
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