* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Truck Driver

Typical Day

Okay, forget the notion of mornings at 7am and evenings at 6pm. They don't exist for truckers. Truckers drive odd hours and prefer driving in the wee hours. No traffic. No cops. No hassles. They can zip along the highways and get to where they need to go and life is free and easy with the windows down and the wind blowing through their ha…across their scalp.

Sure, it can be lonely, but there are cell phones and music services and trucker stops along the way where hardcore truckers can share stories of the road and argue optimal oil viscosities for their monster engines.

Wily Willie Wheelie works for Greedy Jerks R Us, Inc. They hired him during boom economic times right out of high school; they trained him, took them under their wing, and taught him the ropes. His parents were so proud—Wily Willie had been hanging out with rougher and rougher crowds, and they worried he'd end up in jail, or shot…or worse, a Libertarian. So when GJRU gave him a salary and minimal mile targets to hit, his parents were thrilled. He could pay his bills and "get some real world experience," as his father, a mechanic, liked to say.

WWW had an uneventful first two years. He took every shift offered to him, made some extra money from overtime, and the days sort of evaporated. Like...a "day" or at least a typical one didn't exist. His life revolved around delivery missions more than the sun.

So he thought about his life in typical units:

• Show up at main truck depot hub in the far outskirts of town at 6pm.

• Watch the tractors load the truck he was taking with...whatever.

• Take a good luck walk around the truck to inspect everything from its tires to the oil to the way in which the toys were loaded.

• Print a paper copy of the Google map to the destination.

• Be sure cell phone battery charger is in the car; suitcase is loaded; extra underwear —it will be a hot run to Texas, this trip.

• And then by 7pm as traffic is dying, he starts on his 1,400-mile journey.

WWW had a handy dandy calculator which he had mastered his third time through Algebra 1 in high school. He plugged in a predicted speed average of 70 miles an hour over 1,400 miles and realized that it'd be a 20-hour mission. If he drove it straight through, he'd show up in Galveston at 11pm—the toy store would be totally closed.

So driving 20 hours straight didn't make any sense. It would be a long sit anyway, and he was only moderately rested. He always tried to get in a good nap or three before a mission, but his body didn't adjust all that fast and he knew he'd be groggy at some point.

So he decided that he'd make this mission easy on himself and just drive halfway or so. He wanted to show up at the toy store at 7am—early enough to avoid traffic around the city central of Galveston (not that it’s NYC or anything), and he wanted to be sure he was there so that he was the first (ish) truck on the loading dock. He also wanted to avoid the Texas summer heat as much as possible, so this schedule made sense.

Poking through his map, he noted the 47 rest stops that he had visited in the past; the best ones—with actual heated water in the showers—were starred in yellow in his little rest stop diary. This was countered by black stars around bad experiences he'd had in rest stops; he preferred to avoid rest stop diarrhea.

He would drive 12 hours and sleep from 7am the following morning until 6pm and then drive all night to finish the leg to Galveston and hit his time targets. Easy.

And since WWW had produced good results (meaning no red flags, no problems, no tickets, no accidents), he got the nicer truck this time—way better technology; that is, it had its own mini satellite dish for TV (when he wasn’t driving, of course), back-up camera, and programmable juke box horn.

And the big new thing for WWW was that he was now a trainer class driver. WWW at 21 years old was now able to take new drivers under his wing, and this trip would be his first as a trainer. He simply had to sit in the passenger seat and direct his trainee in...driving. And this trainee would only drive with him for about 140 miles—or about two hours—he would then be dropped at a different truck rest stop along the edge of the highway where another trainer would work with him.

For the pleasure of training, WWW got an extra dime a mile on top of the money he was making anyway. And this way there was at least some company to gab with. Made life easier.

WWW drives on, and the days continue to blend into one. As he drives, he thinks to himself that it might be nice to go home one of these days. Come to think of it, he can't remember if he asked someone to take care of his cat before he left.

Noodle's College Search