There’s nothing like the freedom of the open highway and there’s no better way to experience it than behind the wheel of tractor trailer truck. Tractor trailers come in a wide range of configurations – you could be driving a tractor trailer dump truck. Tractor trailers are generally a tractor with a single trailer carrying the cargo. Some companies use larger configurations that include the tractor and two trailers. In Australia, they put together ‘road trains’ that have a tractor and three large trailers – the total length being around 175 feet – try stopping one of those in a hurry when fully laden.
Tractor trailer trucks are perhaps the most challenging vehicles to drive. Because of their size, navigating through towns and cities can be difficult, and in traffic, blind spots around the tractor and trailer cause a lot of problems. These vehicles are really at their best out on the open highway. They are designed for long distance driving, with some tractors fitted out with sleeping quarters behind the drivers seat. In fact, in modern trucks, the sleeping area resembles a small self contained apartment.
What is surprising is the statistics surrounding tractor trailer trucks. Drivers are amongst the highest paid truck drivers in the nation, yet when it comes to driver demand, there is a serious shortage of long distance tractor trailer drivers. One of the main reasons for a driver shortage is the commitment required. Long distance drivers are generally away from home for anything up to ten or fourteen days at a time. When they are home, it’s often for only 24/48 hours then they are off for another week or two. For single drivers, this is perfect – for drivers with families, it can be a real strain.
Prospective tractor trailer truck drivers need to undertake truck driver training that leads to a commercial drivers license. Once they have passed all the requirements for a commercial drivers license, they are then ready for the freedom of the open road.