I’m a Long-Haul Truck Driver. Here’s What My Life Is Like on the Road.


  • Tracey Price was couch surfing when she took a training contract for long-haul trucking in 2012.
  • She told Insider she has a “healthy fear” of the 80,000-pound truck she drives and sleeps in. 
  • Her favorite thing about long-haul truck driving is all the different places she gets to see. 

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with 39-year-old Tracey Price, a long-haul truck driver for aifleet based in Texas. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I was couch surfing when I took on a training contract with CRST, a transport company, as a long-haul truck driver in 2012. I wanted to do something different with my life. 

CRST paid for me to become a licensed truck driver with a Hazmat Endorsement in exchange for an eight-month work contract. It was a great way to get into a career when I had no money for training. I worked there until the beginning of 2022.

I had very little training before I was out on the roads. We learned to drive manual trucks. Trainers taught us how to shift gears and handle a vehicle that big on the roads. I was in the school for two-and-½ weeks and had about two hours of practice behind the wheel before the trainers tested us.

I ended up learning most of it as I did the job. The company I first started with was a team-based setup, so I was driving with a trainer for a while. 

I was terrified when I first got into the truck because it was huge

I drive solo in a truck that weighs 80,000 pounds. I still have what I call a healthy fear of trucks. I can maneuver the truck just fine, but I can’t control how other people are driving around me, so I’m always cautious.

My usual day driving starts between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. I wake up and get some coffee, then I check that the truck is in good working order. 

When I get to the drop-off or pick-up stop, I’ll speak to the people at the warehouse and figure out what stock I’m delivering or picking up. I wait for them to either load or unload my truck, then I’m back on the road. I deliver all types of dry-van commodities, or anything non-perishable. 

We’re only allowed to drive for 11 hours in a 14-hour shift. So, I normally drive for about 10 hours a shift. 

At the end of my shift, I find somewhere to park where I can sleep. I sleep in my truck while I’m on the road. 

I try to avoid the main truck stops at night because they get crowded, and someone hitting your truck or someone asking for money can interrupt you while you’re sleeping. I normally stop at rest areas or mom-and-pop truck stops that aren’t as busy. 

I feel safe traveling by myself in the truck. But if I’m in a sketchy area, I’ll try to stop early or park under lights.

When I was driving with a trainer, I would sleep on a bed at the back of the truck while they were driving. It was a little unusual, and the truck would bounce me around in bed, even with a safety net.

I can shape my driving schedule around when I have visitation with my daughter. I’ll drive for three weeks, have the weekend off, drive for another week, another weekend off, then three weeks on again. I love being on the road, but I do get homesick occasionally. 

Why I enjoy being a long-haul truck driver

Truck driving is the best way that I can provide for my kid. I like being my own boss. I tell myself when to get up, and I tell myself the route I’m taking. 

My favorite part about the job is everything I get to see. 

I’m very big on scenery, sunsets, and sunrises. I’ve driven watching the sunset in Arizona one day and seen it rise in Tennessee the next. I love watching the seasons change as I’m driving. I live in Texas, but I mainly drive through the Midwest and the Northeast. 

Drawbacks of long-haul truck driving 

There are weather drawbacks to long-haul driving. I choose not to go where it’s snowy and icy, and avoid certain states that don’t take care of the roads.

The job gets lonely, especially with the hours I drive — there are only a few hours a day that I can talk to people. I’ll sometimes go three or four days without talking to another human I know in my life. I’ve found that I need to touch base with friends and family while I’m driving. A two-minute conversation with the shippers or receivers consisting of, “I’m here to pick up,” or, “I’m here to deliver,” is not enough. 

I ask friends to let me know if they’re going to be awake early or staying up late for phone calls 

When I’m driving at night, I distract myself by listening to music and audiobooks. 

I have a few friends who are truck drivers, and I sometimes meet up with them when we’re on the road. Sometimes I’ll have lunch with a friend who works at AI Fleet if we’re both in the same area.

Men are less helpful to women drivers 

I’ve struggled to get into a parking spot and seen five guys watch me struggle, then seen a male driver pull up and all of them run over to help him. I learned within the first two months of driving that guys probably weren’t going to be as helpful to a female driver as they would with other men.

I’ve been called various names by male drivers. They don’t think that women should be driving, but I just think to myself, “It’s your opinion, and I can probably back the truck into a spot that you can’t.” 

The gender split at my company is 11% female drivers and 89% male drivers. 

I’m planning to come off the road for a little while 

My daughter is 5, so I want to spend more time with her. But I will most likely get back into a truck when she’s a little older.

When she’s older, I’m hoping she can come with me to see different states. It’s one thing to talk about a place, but it’s another thing to actually be able to go see it. I want to share that with her.

My advice to other women who want to get into long-haul trucking is to just do it. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t, or that you don’t belong in a truck. Get in a truck, handle it, and prove everyone wrong.


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