Lorry driving. Truck driving. Call it what you will. One thing’s for certain: without lorry drivers, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy all those products we use in our daily lives! Most of today’s goods get transported by road. Granted, some get shipped by train, plane or ship.
But the method of choice for most organisations is road transport. You need special training to become a lorry driver. That’s because the rules for operating such vehicles are stricter than with cars, for example.
Although the rewards for driving lorries for a living are great, there’s a shortage of skilled drivers out there. If you fancy a career change or are just leaving school, you might be contemplating a career as a lorry driver.
Before you decide to go for such a vocation, it’s important you understand the pros and cons associated with being a lorry driver. The main ones are as follows:
Pro: The pay is good
Did you know that around 70% of goods transported in the country are usually done so by road? And did you know that the most popular way to move pallets of goods from A to B is by lorry?
As you can imagine, if there were few or no truck drivers around, the transport sector would fall apart.
Do you loathe the idea of sitting behind a desk all day long? And do you love the idea of visiting new places, you should give serious consideration to becoming a lorry driver! It’s by far one of the best-paid professional driving jobs you could ever do.
Con: You work weird hours
Let me be clear about this: lorry drivers do not work standard 9-5 hours! As a truck driver, you’re expected to drive in all kinds of weird hours. Many haulage firms need their drivers to work on overnight jobs. That’s because those are the quietest times on the road.
And if you need to drive a 1,000 mile round trip, it’s inevitable that you will need to make plenty of stops and stay somewhere overnight. By law, lorry drivers can only work a specific amount of hours each day. During those hours, they have to make regularly scheduled stops.
Drivers cannot avoid making such stops. There are often police checks on major road networks to check for compliance with the law. A record of each driver’s time on the road gets recorded on a device called a tachograph.
If you have a family, lorry driving might not be the best career move you could make. That’s because you will often miss spending time with your family. And both you and they could resent that fact at a later stage.
Pro: You get to drive all kinds of trucks
Are you something of a motoring geek? Are you passionate about lorries? If so, you will doubtless love the fact that you get to sit behind the wheel of many different models!
When you work for a haulage firm, you will sometimes get assigned one truck to drive. But some companies rotate fleet vehicles around for servicing and upgrade reasons. That means the shiny new Volvo you saw on http://trucks.autotrader.co.uk/ could be one you get to drive some day!
There is also another benefit to driving different models of trucks on a regular basis. You gain valuable experience of driving such a broad choice of vehicles! If you have an emergency on the road, you will be better equipped to deal with it if you’re familiar with the truck you’re driving.
Con: You might get given old trucks to drive
As a new lorry driver, you would have aspirations of driving the latest fleet of vehicles. But, did you know that some firms prefer to give new starters old fleet vehicles to drive?
They do so because they want them to get used to driving lorries in a commercial setting. If they have an accident in an older fleet vehicle, the cost to have them repaired or replaced is much lower than with brand new trucks!
You can understand why they do this. But it also sucks at the same time, don’t you think? After all; one of the reasons why you decided to be a lorry driver was to get in the cabs of new models!
Still, as long as you prove yourself with your new employer, you will end up getting an upgrade to those newer trucks you so desire to drive!
Pro: There are many perks to the job
Getting a decent salary is great in any job. But people need other benefits or “perks” to motivate them in their working lives. Hauliers know that they need to do what it takes to keep hold of good lorry drivers.
With that in mind, what they will do is offer their drivers a plethora of benefits to sweeten the deal, as it were! For example, many firms offer perks like pension plans and childcare vouchers. And even discounts at major stores!
And if you have a family, some of the best firms out there will offer flexible working opportunities. That means you might not have to drive during unsociable hours so that you can spend more time with your family.
Other perks can include free health insurance and gym membership. As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to become a lorry driver!
Con: Lorry driving isn’t for everyone
Just because you can drive a car doesn’t mean you will be well suited to driving a truck every day!
By their nature, lorries are slow, hard to negotiate in small roads and offer limited visibility. Heavy goods vehicles are different to drive than large cars, pickup trucks and even vans.
I recommend going on a basic training course before you decide to start a career as a lorry driver. That way, you will get some practical experience. At that stage, it’s not too late to change your mind about becoming a truck driver.