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travel center Wikimedia Commons: Paul Jerry
Flickr: Paul Jerry

Truck drivers and the entire trucking industry help our economy in tremendous ways. Without these truckers, the conveniences in our daily lives would just up and vanish. No more stocked shelves at the stores, constructionwould come to a halt, fuel wouldn’t be available, and many other issues would arise if we lost these drivers.

Trucking companies are aware of this, and in order to stay on top of the massive demand for products, they’ll normally require their long-haul truck drivers to work many consecutive hours. Life on the road is hard, because these guys are constantly on the move, but eventually drivers will find themselves getting drowsy. That brings up the question: Where exactly do these over the road (OTR) drivers sleep when it’s finally time to shut down?

Well, some truck driving jobs will offer their commercial drivers a day cab truck. Normally, these drivers will make it back to their houses at the end of the work day to sleep in their own homes. The situation is not the same for long-haul truckers, though. Since they will be driving their semi truck all over the country, they will need to find an area to sleep along the way.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), hours of service for drivers means a 14-hour driving window, which allows 11 hours of actual drive time. Following this, drivers are required to take a 10-hour break, giving truckers multiple hours of sleep. Both owner-operators and company drivers are required to follow these rules, and if they don’t, the Department of Transportation will catch on pretty quick.

So, let’s say you’ve driven your 11 hours, and you’re ready to pull off somewhere to get some sleep. There’s a few different options on what to do. The easiest and most common one is pulling into a parking lot, truck stop, or rest area and shutting the truck down in one of the parking spots. Here, drivers can utilize their sleeper berth, or sleeper cab, on the back of the truck. Inside this section of the truck, it’s essentially a small bedroom, and it allows truckers to get sleep without even having to leave the truck. This is the most cost-effective way to sleep on the road, and most OTR drivers will utilize their cabs.

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Alternatively, these drivers could also use hotels, motels, or Airbnb rentals to find a bed to sleep in. Although some drivers do choose this path, it’s not recommended to do this on a regular basis. The reason behind that is mainly because of the cost to do so. Truckers are on the road for long periods at a time, and they’re out on the road to make money. Buying hotels every night will quickly cut into their profits. Unless the company is paying for a room, I’d recommend just sleeping in the cab. Your wallet will thank you later.

If you’re a new driver starting a trucking job, it may take a little time to get completely used to this new way of sleeping. After some time, though, drivers will get comfortable with the sleeper cab, and it will turn into their home away from home. Rest areas are common on the highways, so there shouldn’t be much of an issue finding one when the driving time is running thin.

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It’s not a job that everyone can do, so be sure to show some appreciation for these guys the next time you see a big rig cruising down the roads.

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