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Pros and cons of becoming a long haul trucker

Long haul trucking promises adventure, freedom, and a good income. It also requires sacrifice, such as weeks or months away from home to transport cargo across vast distances.

This article examines the rewarding and challenging aspects of life as a long haul trucker so you can decide if this career fits your lifestyle and objectives.

What are long haul truckers?

Long haul truckers are professional drivers who transport goods and materials over long distances, typically hundreds or thousands of miles. They are on the road for extended periods of time, sometimes weeks or months without returning home, in order to cover vast distances across states, countries, or even continents.

The life of a long haul trucker involves picking up cargo from distribution centers, factories, or ports and delivering it safely to its destination while adhering to strict delivery schedules. This could involve transporting raw materials to manufacturers or pre-packaged goods from warehouses to retail stores across the country. Long haul truckers often drive long, desolate highways through all kinds of weather and road conditions. This can be both mentally draining and physically tiring.

Driving such long distances requires truckers to take preventative maintenance seriously and inspect their vehicles before and during trips. Long haul truckers need to plan routes in advance, track their hours carefully to meet regulations, and manage life on the road by finding safe places to park, sleep, and eat. It offers freedom and adventure but can be lonely spending so much time away from family and friends.

Successful long haul truckers require resilience, discipline, organization, and commitment to do the job well for the duration of each haul. Their specialized skills and willingness to spend extended time crisscrossing the nation’s roadways are critical to keeping supply chains running smoothly.

Pros and cons of becoming a long haul truck driver


Here are some potential pros of becoming a long haul trucker.

  • Freedom and independence: Long haul truckers often enjoy the freedom of spending long periods of time on the open road and not having a boss watching over them. They can explore different places while working.
  • Earn a stable income: Long haul trucking can provide a livable income. Truckers are paid per mile or per load, so hard work is rewarded. 
  • See the country: Truck drivers get to travel across states and see different geographic regions they wouldn’t otherwise visit. It can satisfy one’s wanderlust.
  • Low barriers to entry: Becoming a trucker doesn’t require a college degree. A commercial driver’s license, on-the-job training, and a good driving record are usually essential.
  • High demand: The trucking industry needs hundreds of thousands more drivers. An aging workforce and high turnover means new drivers are always needed.
  • Health benefits: Larger trucking companies often provide decent health, dental, and retirement benefits for long haul drivers and their families.
  • Solo or team work options: Truckers can choose to work alone or in teams which splits up the driving. Teams can travel farther.
  • Opportunity for advancement: Experienced drivers may advance to operate special cargo, train newer drivers, or move into logistics management.

The freedom, income potential, travel opportunities, and job prospects make long haul trucking an appealing choice for many seeking a change. 


Here are some potential cons to being a long haul truck driver:

  • Time away from home: Long haul truckers can be away from home for weeks or months at a time. This can cause loneliness and isolation. It’s hard on relationships and family life.
  • Irregular scheduling: Truckers often work irregular hours since they need to deliver within tight time windows. Their sleep schedules can be disrupted.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle: The trucking lifestyle tends to involve a lot of time sitting, lack of exercise/healthy food options, and disrupted sleep. These can lead to health issues.
  • Safety risks: Sharing the road with other vehicles and driving long distances leads to a higher risk of accidents for truck drivers. Fatigue is also a risk factor.
  • Stress: Truckers face stresses including tight pickup/delivery schedules, traffic, finding safe parking, inspectors, weather conditions, and concentration needed to operate a large vehicle.
  • Costs: New truck drivers need to pay for trucking school and testing to get a commercial driver’s license which can be a few thousand dollars.
  • Time away from amenities: Truck cabs serve as a second home. But they lack amenities like showers, stocked kitchens, and privacy.
  • Regulations: Truckers need to comply with regulations on hours of service, vehicle maintenance, fuel/emissions, etc. New laws can impact business.
  • Low/variable earnings: Truckers’ pay can vary widely based on miles driven, wait times, type of cargo, and employer. Some struggle to make ends meet.
  • Automation: Self-driving truck technology poses a long term threat of making long haul trucking jobs obsolete.

The trucking life requires sacrifice and flexibility. But truckers can take steps to maintain health, connect with family, and find an employer that fits their needs.

Long haul truck driver salary

Long haul truck drivers can earn a fairly wide range of salaries depending on factors like experience level, type of trucking, and employer. Here are some details on long haul trucker pay:

  • Average annual salary: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary for long haul truck drivers is around $47,130 per year or $22.66 per hour. This works out to around $900-$1,000 per week.
  • Entry level pay: New truck drivers just starting out typically make between $35,000: $45,000. Once they get experience under their belt, pay quickly increases.
  • Top pay levels: The top 10% of long haul truckers earn $63,140 or more annually. These are veteran drivers with exceptional safety records and many miles driven.
  • Pay per mile: Most long distance truckers get paid per mile. Typical ranges are between 40 to 65 cents per mile depending on the type of truck and cargo. Rates tend to be higher for team drivers.
  • Hourly pay: Some trucking companies pay an hourly rate especially for non-driving duties. This ranges from $15-$25 per hour. Overtime pay can also add up.
  • Owner operators: Owner operators who own their own truck can earn higher incomes in the $70,000 to $200,000 range after expenses. But the costs and risks are higher.
  • Benefits: Most long haul truckers get benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, etc. Large national fleets typically offer the best benefits packages.
  • Performance bonuses: Trucking companies will often provide bonuses for safe driving records, fuel efficiency, loyalty, referrals and other performance metrics. This supplements pay.

Explore a new career as a long haul trucker

With the current high demand and turnover rates in the trucking industry, there are many opportunities for full-time long haul truckers to earn a stable, livable income. The hardest part is often being away from home for extended periods. If the benefits sound worth the potential downsides, it’s time to take the next step toward a rewarding new trucking career!


What is the average age of long haul truckers?

The average age of long haul truckers is around 46 years old. Many truckers are middle-aged, with some being veterans who have decades of experience driving long distances.

How long are long haul truckers gone?

Long haul truckers can be gone from home for weeks or months at a time between jobs. Their extended trips crisscrossing states and countries are necessary to transport goods over hundreds and thousands of miles.

Is long haul trucking worth it?

Whether long haul trucking is worth it depends on one’s priorities. The freedom and often middle-class pay appeal to some, but the extended time away and stressful lifestyle cause high turnover rates.

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