After graduating from CDL training and passing the CDL exam, students will have a lot of options and opportunities available because trucking companies across the country are looking to hire drivers. Many new drivers will choose to go over-the-road (OTR) to gain valuable experience and start racking up miles. Before deciding on a career path as a truck driver, you should know the pros and cons of driving OTR.
Benefits of Driving Over-the-Road
Driving over-the-road is the first thing many think of when they think about truck drivers. Routes are typically longer and require the drivers to be away from home up to a couple of weeks at a time. However, OTR drivers can expect to be busy all year round because freight never stops moving and always has a delivery date. This makes for plentiful business year-round and job security, so you never have to worry about new business.
Driver pay is another reason many drivers choose OTR versus a local or regional driving position. Over-the-road drivers usually are paid per mile, and since they are required to drive across the country and multiple states, they can rack up a lot of miles quickly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest reporting shows the median pay for OTR drivers was $47,130 in 2020, with the top drivers earning over $80,000+. Driver pay has gone up significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic and is forecasted to continue increasing in 2022. These long routes offer drivers the chance to see the country while earning money.
Another reason people drive OTR is the types of loads you will be delivering. With an over-the-road job, truck drivers do not have to unload or load their cargo and trailers. The warehouses and fulfillment centers will take care of that for you so you can keep on driving with the next load. This helps get you out on the road faster and refrain from additional physical labor that can be hard on your body.
Things to Consider about OTR Driving
Even with all of the benefits OTR driving provides above, drivers must make sacrifices to do their job. The main drawback of OTR is being away from your friends and family for days for weeks at a time. Fortunately, technology nowadays, makes it much easier to stay in contact with loved ones. Most companies will also work with your schedule to get you home for birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates.
Another thing to consider when driving OTR is the schedule. Since freight is constantly moving and being distributed, drivers can work inconsistent hours if deliveries require it. This can make it hard to find a set schedule or plan events in the future. Staying in constant communication with your dispatcher can help significantly with this!
Many trucking companies prefer their new drivers to go OTR for a few months or first year as it builds up familiarity in the truck and confidence on the road. At CDS Tractor Trailer Training, we partner with some of the nation’s top carriers to hire our graduates when they are finished with their Class A CDL training. You can see some of the companies hiring our graduates on our Job Placement page.