Confessions of a Southwest Michigan Truck Driver- 7 Things I Learned About Life On the Road
It's more than just talking on the CB radio and keeping the hammer down; here are 7 things I learned about life on the road driving an eighteen-wheeler on the roads of Southwest Michigan.
I had the chance to spend some time on the highway with Rob Ludlow in a big rig and learned a lot about what it takes to be a trucker. Rob works for Ralph Moyle Inc. Not only a trucking company but a training company, RMI can teach just about anyone to drive one of these machines. But first, here's what you ought to know before you consider a career change: 7 things I learned about life on the road.
1) The biggest challenge: Other drivers are the biggest challenge a trucker has to deal with every day. These trucks are big and slow, plus they take a long time to stop. Even if a driver is quick enough to react to an erratic lane change or sudden braking maneuver of an automobile, a fully loaded tractor-trailer does not respond as quickly.
2) CB radios are still a thing: A lot like Facebook, much of the talk is complaining and gossip, but Rob reports that CB radios are indispensable when it comes to getting information about bad weather or traffic tie-ups on the road ahead.
3) Not all stereotypes are true: Truckers are some of the nicest people on the road. Rob shared stories of sharing the contents of coolers with other drivers while stuck for hours waiting for an accident scene to clear. And yes, they love it when little kids pump their arms up and down and yell for the horn.
4) Some are: Admittedly, there are occasional emergencies of a personal nature and schedules that sometimes do not allow for daily showers. "Trucker smell" is an occupational hazard but by no means a regular occurrence.
5) Eating habits have changed: Drivers cover about 700 miles a day- more than a NASCAR driver and have to be in relatively good shape to get the job done. Carrots and juices have replaced pork rinds, Marlboros and Mountain Dew in the cooler in the cab.
6) Anybody can drive one of these things: Yes, a trucking school like RMI can teach anyone the ropes, but there is much more to the job than "just sitting there and driving."
7) It's a lifestyle: Whether it is short-haul drivers who are home nightly or drivers that are only home on the weekends, trucking is a commitment to a lifestyle. There's no way around spending many, many hours inside the rig sitting in the driver's seat for hours at a stretch.
There are seven things I learned about life on the road- check out the video as Rob elaborates on what it's like to drive a truck for a living.
Bonus Video: Diggin' the curves on CR 665 in Rural Van Buren County
Driving truck might be fun, but a big rig can't make the moves this bike does on Country Road 665 north of Paw Paw.