A Day in the Life of a Truck Driver
For some people, seeing and reading about trucks isn’t enough – they want to get involved directly.
Driving may seem like it comes naturally to any of the hundreds of thousands of truckers on the road today. However, they all started on the outside looking in.
You know the gist of trucking life. But have you ever wondered exactly what a workday behind the wheel entails? Today, Hermes offers you an exclusive invitation to find out. It’s the next best thing to hopping into the passenger seat.
Meet our truck driver. Her name is Jessica McCorkle. Her relationship with trucking began as a simple interest, and soon transformed into a steady career.
For anyone who has ever wanted to become a truck driver, or has wondered if truck driving worth it, settle in for the ride and see what a day on the job is like.
Starting the Workday: A Look Back at How the Journey Began
When you head into work, do you ever take a moment to reflect on how you wound up in your current position or field? For Jessica, the path to trucking was as clear as a freshly scraped highway.
Many truckers get inspired by their peers and their loved ones. While her interest in trucking was there for years prior, it was the urging of someone close to her that finally made her pursue her dream.
“I have a lot of family and friends that drive, and one day my buddy just threw me behind the wheel at nighttime, first time ever, and he was like “See, you can do it!” and he was like “You should go to school,” and I took off from there.”
Her permit came in 2019. Shortly thereafter, she went through school and got her license in early 2020. While Hermes wasn’t the first carrier she worked with, she made the switch for good reason.
At her previous job, the company offered lower pay, and was not very transparent about deducting things from her check. At Hermes, things felt different. She’s a valued member of the team. An equal. And that’s made each trip a little better.
“I experienced the worst first, so coming to Hermes was like a huge blessing for me. I went through what they call ‘paying your dues’ as a new driver with the first company. They wouldn’t pay well, or they would deduct from your check for every little thing, something you didn’t know about, stuff like that.”
Starting each day in a positive work environment helps, no matter how many hundreds of miles she gets from the office. But as that trip goes in motion, how does a newer driver handle it?
Hitting the Road as a New(ish) Truck Driver
Now the truck and the workday are both in motion. For Jessica, one of the biggest perks of the job is seeing new places.
However, for a driver who doesn’t have years of road experience in a commercial truck, doesn’t driving in the wind and snow get a little intimidating?
“The experience I’m getting driving through snow and ice and high winds, that’s kind of something that I worried about, but they make you feel comfortable.
It definitely makes a driver sit up straight and take notice – however, two things help her stay calm. One is the confidence that comes with knowing she’s well trained and can pilot her rig. The second is having a carrier that puts people over profits.
They’ll tell you “Don’t move if you don’t feel safe, safety first.” A lot of companies will try to push you anyway or make you feel like you have to do that, but Hermes doesn’t.”
With the comfort of knowing her company sees the value in protecting the most valuable part of the trucking equation, it’s much easier to head toward the destination with confidence.
Woman Behind the Wheel: What’s It Like?
While women represent 47% of the truck driving workforce, only 7% of women are drivers. For Jessica, she doesn’t see herself as a female truck driver – just a truck driver who happens to be female.
It’s not about making a statement or being out to prove anything to anyone. Instead, it’s simply about doing a job she loves and doing it with confidence. As all drivers should, she takes precautions when stopping.
“I plan my day, my hours, so I don’t have to park in a dangerous area. I always go somewhere well-lit with cameras. I try not to drive at nighttime, but if I do, I make sure I park somewhere that has a lot of lights and more people.”
As for when her male counterparts offer to help her, even with tasks where she doesn’t require assistance, she takes it in stride and shows appreciation.
Any struggles she faces are chalked up to experience, not gender. In that regard, it shows that for men and women alike: the longer you drive the better you’ll get.
Time for a Break: What’s for Dinner? What’s on TV?
After a full session of driving, it’s time to stop for a break. While Hermes offers drivers the option to stay in a hotel, the 2019 Volvo 760 she pilots can work just fine. With its distinctive green color, she’s dubbed it “the money green machine.”
For culinary choices, she’s not really the takeout type. Thanks to a rig with the amenities of a small kitchenette, she can make magic happen.
“I’m from the country and I cook. I don’t like fast food, so I have a three-tier Crockpot and we have a refrigerator and a good-sized freezer in this Volvo that I’m driving.”
Onions, peppers, hamburger meat, and other goodies are all common ingredients in her meals of choice. Since a healthy diet can improve focus, her culinary choices are good for her physical and mental health.
The trucks are equipped with internet as well, so she can sit down during or after mealtime and enjoy her favorite TV shows on her company-provided tablet.
Heading Home to the Ones Who Matter Most
When work time is through, it’s back to home in North Carolina.
The two most important people in her life are there – her daughters. With one heading to college and the other just hitting her teenage years, Jessica knew her trucking career would help her support the needs of her children.
At first, they weren’t crazy about the idea of their mother traveling to far-off places alone. But in accomplishing her dream all while being a single parent, Jessica has set an example her family can draw strength and inspiration from throughout their lives.
“If they ever get their back against the wall in life or if they ever feel discouraged about anything they can always think back and say, “well, Mama did it, I can do it. Whatever I put my mind to, I can do it.””
One of the things she likes most about Hermes in comparison to her previous company is that she’s able to have greater freedom with her schedule. Regardless of experience or time with the company, every driver is treated with honesty on all matters from home time to pay to expenses.
So, what’s the advice she’d give to aspiring drivers?
“Just stay positive and believe in yourself because that’s what I did. It was a challenge and it still is, but the more I do it, the easier it becomes for me and the more that I learn.”
As long as you stay in the right mindset, which means being open to learning, you can make trucking a successful career — just like Jessica did.
A Truck Driver’s Life is Not So Different
While trucking is beloved as an occupation for its unique work environment, the trucker’s life is not so different from anyone else’s.
They wake up, head into work, get the job done, take lunch, and return to their normal life. Sure, they may cover a few more hundred miles on the way there, but for some, every mile is well worth it.
Oh, and Jessica’s final final piece of advice, for those worried they won’t learn enough fast enough?
“You don’t learn everything in school. You learn a lot of stuff hands-on in the truck driving industry.”
There’s no reason to wait on the side of the road – now’s the time to jump in and start the journey to a new career.
If you’ve ever wondered if truck driving is worth it, see what Hermes offers. We provide competitive pay, flexible home time, and bonuses for safe driving. Whether you’re new to the industry or a trucking vet who simply wants a new company to work with, reach out to submit your application.