A Peek Inside The Cab Of A Big Truck
Life in a big truck can be fascinating for those who have never seen how a driver lives.
Talk to any big truck driver who has been on the road since "the old days" and the stories are endless. Sleepers were not often an option, and heaters, if there were any, worked only some of the time.
Now, however, the options in the newer trucks make it sound almost like you're buying an RV, and the price tags could purchase a very nice home. It isn't uncommon to think in terms of over $100,000 or much more. Add some of the fancy chrome, the extra lights that make it look like a rolling Christmas tree and that price tag is as high as an even nicer house. Those trucks with a ton of lights on them are, by the way, referred to as "chicken trucks".
For drivers who spend the vast majority of their life on the road, however, the luxuries become necessities and that may be especially true for a team truck. The term team truck simply means that two people drive together. It also means that the truck is, essentially, going twenty-four hours a day non-stop. While one drives, the other sleeps in order to get ready for the next turn behind the wheel. A good number of teams on the road are couples, and there are a large number of grandparents who have decided to hit the road together.
The front of newer trucks can sometimes look a lot like a jet plane with the different controls, gauges and added luxuries such as AM/FM Stereo radios. Most have tape decks or CD players as well. Virtually every truck on the road has a CB radio which, at times, can be a very important safety tool.
If you see a little dome-like piece of equipment on the outside of the cab (on the roof), that truck probably has a Global Positioning System (GPS). That means the company can always tell where the truck is, but it also helps prevent stolen trucks and/or loads. Most company trucks these days also have one of several types of communication systems on which the driver receives their load information from their dispatcher.
Most of the new trucks have seats that are so comfortable it feels like you're sitting in a living room chair. With plush covers and adjustable back supports, the seat fits whoever is driving at the time.
Several of the newer trucks have draw curtains that can be pulled around to cover the windshield much like living room draw drapes. When a solo driver does stop for their eight-hour break, the seats can be swiveled around toward the back and, much like sitting in a living room at home, a driver can watch a movie on their TV/VCR in the back or just relax.
The bunk areas of trucks are roomier than they ever used to be. It isn't uncommon to have a refrigerator/freezer much like those found in college dorm rooms or campers so a driver doesn't have to buy food in truck stop restaurants every day. They are also good for those times when drivers are waiting for loads and food is not available.
Other items that give extra comfort include microwaves, coffeepots, a cupboard for dishes, closets and plenty of storage space.
Pull-out desks are more and more common as well. With the ability to have a workspace, there are more computers on the road than ever before. A good number of drivers keep in touch with home via the internet and many plan their trips with special software for truck drivers.
It seems like a rather cushy life in some ways. But considering that a good number of trucks - either solo or team - will stay out on the road for several weeks at a time, it can mean the difference between being well-rested or burning out quickly.
A good number of drivers will let someone peek in their cab to see what their life is really like. But considering the cost of the trucks, it is a good idea to show respect by asking before approaching a truck - much like knocking on the door when wanting to visit someone's home.