Truck drivers provide essential services to Australian industries. They earn their living by moving goods and materials across land and typically drive between retail outlets and distribution centers. Being a truck driver is more of a lifestyle than a typical job and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some drivers travel across the entire country, others provide interstate transport and some deliver locally. Long distance truck drivers can be gone for weeks at a time. For people who love the open spaces, enjoy spending time on their own and don’t mind being away from home, trucking could be a great career.
Skills a Truck Driver Should Have
A truck driver is not expected to be a mechanic but should know how to connect/disconnect the trailer from the cab and know some basic repair skills like changing a tyre. Usually the company has heavy-vehicle roadside assistance that can be sent to the truck’s location if the driver is unable to get to a repair shop or truck stop safely.
Driving a big and potentially fully loaded truck is totally different from driving a small car. A truck weighs 20 to 30 times more than a car. Truck drivers have to use good driving techniques for steep hills so the brakes do not overheat. They also need to know how to drive safely around curves without the load inside moving around. A truck has many gears in the transmission; commonly ten forward drive gears and two reverse gears, and some have up to 18 gears.
Long Hours for the Aussie Truck Driver
Drivers have many duties to fulfil and are responsible for their cargo and their truck, which must be in good and safe working order. They have to get their shipments to the destination on time and it is their responsibility to check that they have the correct goods on board and that they end up in the right hands. If they are transporting dangerous goods freight, they need to know which class it is before setting off, and show the correct placards. They will also need to know if it is pallet transport, and whether the receiver will have a forklift ready onsite for unloading.
Truck drivers work exceptionally long hours and it is not at all unusual for a driver to work 70 hours per week. Truck drivers have to be prepared to work any hours of the day or night, and as a result they have quite an irregular sleep schedule.
Log Books and Regular Rest Periods
Truck drivers have mandated rest periods to make sure they are fit to drive and are expected to keep a record of their hours in a logbook. These laws protect the drivers themselves and other road users from accidents associated with fatigue. Although meeting tight deadlines may seem to be the only thing that matters to the driver in the moment, arriving alive could arguably be just as important. It is also important for the health of the drivers that they get enough quality sleep.
Where do Truck Drivers Sleep?
Most long-haul truck drivers sleep in their sleeper cab, which is a little nook with a twin sized bed in it. They typically pull over at rest areas, truck stops or a sender or receiver’s property. Some drivers will sleep at a motel as they prefer to be away from their truck for a few hours.
Getting stuck behind a truck can be frustrating for smaller vehicles who are keen to be on their way, but as the saying goes, without trucks Australia stops.