Fifty years ago, the life of a truck driver was fairly tough. Trucks were noisy, the steering was tight, there were monstrous 18+ gear boxes, and the only air conditioning provided was an open window. Hot in summer, cold in winter – that was the life of a truck driver. Trucking careers are nothing like that now. In fact, modern trucks are nothing like their old counterparts.
A modern truck will have climate control, often power steering and power windows, and gearboxes that are easy to negotiate, and that’s just the perspective from the driver’s seat. Check out this video – it’s a plug for a Volvo, however, if you ignore the marketing hype, you’ll get a good idea of what a modern long distance truck cab looks like.
Did you notice the microwave oven, the television and hand basin? By all accounts, the beds are very comfortable as well. These changes have been brought about by the increased restrictions in driver hours. In the past, drivers could drive for as long as they wanted, often with quite devastating results – imagine going to sleep behind the wheel of a modern big rig. Long distance truck drivers must now keep a driving log, and they must take breaks after a set amount of hours. The cab then has become a driver’s home away from home.
Is a trucking career tough? Not these days. It can still be hard work, and the hours can be long, however, your office has now become the closest thing you get to a luxury hotel in a small cab. As a footnote – most new trucks coming onto the market are fitted out for drivers. Old trucks, and there are tens of thousands of them still on the road, may have some or none of these features. The cost of fuel is forcing the issue leading to truck owners trading up to these modern and much more fuel efficient models. If you decide that a trucking career is right for you, you may start in an old truck, but somewhere a long the way you’ll find yourself behind the wheel of a modern beast.