The trucking industry, especially auto transport, plays a vital role in the economy and our daily lives. Millions of people rely on auto transporters every day, from dealerships with thousands of cars to individuals shipping their personal vehicles. At the heart of the auto transport industry are truck drivers. These truckers are responsible for picking up and delivering vehicles to destinations all over the country.
The profession of a truck driver is not an easy one—it requires skill, commitment and attention to detail. Keep reading to learn about a day in the life of a trucker and the challenges they face while driving.
Loading and securing
A typical day starts with securing the load and a pre-trip inspection. The amount of vehicles and type of vehicles will vary depending on the order. No matter the size of the order or type of vehicle, the trucker must always be cautious when loading the vehicles and thorough with their inspections.
Often, the vehicles that the trucker needs to pick up will be at different locations, meaning they’ll need to make several stops. This includes arranging a time for the customer to drop off the car at an agreed-upon location or be at their home if being picked up there. Once the trucker arrives at the vehicle’s location, they’ll secure it on their truck. Securing the load starts by driving the vehicle onto the car carrier and making sure it’s ready for the journey.
This involves attaching the straps, and checking the tires, brakes and lights. Loading vehicles onto the carrier is a careful task. The trucker must think about the weight and position of each car to ensure safe and efficient delivery. This is also when the trucker will perform an inspection of the vehicle and review documentation, including the Bill of Lading, with the customer.
While the loading, driving and unloading might seem straightforward, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes technology that keeps the wheels turning. Many truckers rely on a transportation management system (TMS) to keep them on track and up-to-date. For example, a TMS like Ship.Cars will help truckers find new orders, keep track of their existing orders and daily operations, as well as maintain important documentation like Bills of Lading, vehicle condition reports, gate passes and invoices. This is a helpful tool for all truckers. Since many truckers are the owners and operators of their businesses, this kind of technology is essential to their work.
On the road
After making sure everything is in order, it’s time to hit the road. The trucker will take the best route for delivering and picking up vehicles efficiently. While they’re on the road, truckers also need to navigate various weather conditions, traffic and terrain and maintain communication with all parties involved during the transport process. Truck drivers must be alert and focused at all times to ensure the safety of themselves and others on the road.
The open road isn’t always smooth. Truckers must deal with issues like weather, traffic, equipment problems and delays to ensure timely delivery. It’s in these moments that experience and adaptability is key.
Not all challenges are due to accidents or unexpected weather. Legal regulations may also impact the driver’s route and force them to make adjustments. For example, weight limits on bridges or roads may force a trucker to reroute or find a detour. Any commercial vehicle over 10,000 lbs may need to stop at truck weigh stations on the highway depending on state regulations. Truckers must follow weigh station checkpoints in every state they go through to make sure they obey local laws and regulations.
Being aware of possible challenges, and knowing how to handle them, is a crucial part of trucker life. Delivering shipments safely and efficiently requires a combination of careful planning, attention to detail and on-the-spot problem-solving skills. These skills are part of what sets professional truckers and trucking companies apart.
Even the most seasoned trucker needs a break, and truckers need to be mindful of their driving time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict rules for how long drivers can be behind the wheel on each trip.
Truckers can drive for 11 hours after resting for 10 hours. However, they cannot be on duty for more than 14 hours in a row after starting work. This means truckers need to manage their driving time wisely, balancing hours behind the wheel with mandatory breaks.
Truck drivers often spend days or weeks away from home due to the requirements of their job. This often means spending nights in their trucks. Finding safe and secure parking areas and truck stops can sometimes be a challenge for truckers. This will occasionally factor into their delivery route and driving schedule.
Arrival and delivery
After hours or days on the road, the trucker will reach their destination. At this time, they’ll carefully offload the vehicle, making sure it has arrived in good condition. The customer and driver will meet at the agreed-upon location to inspect the vehicle, review the Bill of Lading (BOL) and hand over the keys. Once the inspection is complete and the BOL has been signed, the trucker will continue to their next destination and customer.
Paperwork and documentation
Truck drivers need to maintain records while transporting vehicles. These records include their driving logs, mileage, fuel use, maintenance reports, inspection documentation and BOLs for all vehicles transported. This paperwork is a vital part of maintaining compliance with federal regulations.
Next time you see an auto transport truck cruising down the highway, remember the person behind the wheel. Truckers live a unique life on the road, spending extended time away from home. Despite the challenges, these truckers are dedicated to making sure our cars, trucks and other vehicles get to their designated destinations in a safe and timely manner.
At Montway Auto Transport, we’re proud to work with the best truckers in the industry. Their dedication and professionalism help us provide you with reliable and efficient auto transport service.
“Great communication. Eddie was THE best driver.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Carey Stabenau, 9/25/23
“5 stars 🌟 to the driver. Job well done!!! My heart is smiling 😁” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Rae Ray, 9/16/23
“The driver was prompt and treated my car well.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Mark Smith, 9/11/23
“The driver was extremely professional and kept in constant communication.” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Joseph Cacciatore. 7/16/23
“Yevhen was our driver & was just awesome! He kept good communication with us through the whole process & he delivered the car just perfectly!” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Brenda, 6/17/23
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