NEW YORK — On average, truck drivers spend more than 300 days a year on the road making sure the nation’s goods are delivered on time and intact.
Without even realizing it, our everyday lives are impacted by the trucking industry and the people who drive big rigs. They are essential to the nation’s livelihood.
But how much do we actually know about the life of a truck driver?
What’s life like on the road?
Does it get lonely?
Do they have hobbies?
Do they enjoy when people pump their fists for that infamous airhorn honk?
Are they proud of being a truck driver?
Supply chain technology company Transfix recently surveyed its vast network of drivers in an effort to get to know them better. Trasfix officials didn’t say how many drivers were included in the survey; however, the company works with almost 30,000 carriers nationwide.
Life on the road
The average length of haul is around 439 miles, or the equivalent of about six or seven hours.
And that’s just one load.
With an office-on-wheels, it’s no wonder drivers cite the desire of having healthier food options on the go, along with fewer potholes, as the top two improvements to their everyday lives.
In total, 37% of the responding truckers said they could use a more ergonomic driver’s seat or the tension relief of a massage chair, while 24% need a new microwave or fridge setup to enjoy home-cooked, nutritional meals.
Other requests for improving life on the road included the option of a compact exercise bike or access to TRX cables for better overall physical health.
But a trucker’s life is also heavily impacted by the way four-wheelers drive.
Ashley Watson, founder of the National Minority Women Association in Transportation, said that “regulating the speed at which reckless drivers can operate their cars would help navigate the strive to not lose my professional truck driver license.”
With significant speed regulations imposed on truckers over the last few years, Watson said “it would only make sense that four-wheelers would at least be forced to attend a training course to learn how to drive safely on the road with a commercial vehicle.”
In total, 33% of truckers agreed that they would proudly display a bumper sticker that read: “Please learn how to safely pass a truck.”
A close second? The 23% who would prefer one that read: “We have blind spots, too!”
Habits and hobbies
“In our survey, we found that there were quite a few similarities between truckers across all walks of life. Their biggest commonality was their choice of audio entertainment on the road — specifically, hip hop and R&B, country and pop rock,” Transfix officials noted.
Coming in at 25% were podcast and audiobook listeners.
Additionally, 47% of respondents cited their passion for music — whether singing, playing an instrument or writing songs.
Respondents also cited some of their favorite hobbies, such as collecting items from different states across the country, writing screenplays, photography, ceramics, woodturning, fishing and various arts and crafts.
“But our favorite finding comes from a shared love of furry friends,” Transfix officials said. “(In total) 60% of truckers share their space with a dog or cat, with some mentioning driving with both or even multiples. Companionship from a pet can relieve stress by an astonishing 84%, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Four-legged friends on the road can also help with feelings of isolation and solitude that often come with the truck driving profession.
Communication and community
Nearly 90% of drivers opt for making friends while on the road. And when they’re driving, 80% of the survey’s respondents prefer to stay in touch via Facebook, specifically through discussion groups where niche common interests can further deepen friendships.
In total, 46% opt to stay in touch using social media, text messaging or phone calls, while 13% prefer the traditional use of communicating via CB radio as they drive in the early mornings.
“So, whether you’re chowing down on Friendsgiving or watching a loved one rip open a gift this holiday season, remember it wouldn’t be possible without a truck driver,” Transfix officials said. “And they’re proud of being one, too (93% of respondents say so). Next time you see one on the road, pump that fist and give them the Truckers’ Salute so they know how much you appreciate them.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.