As with any profession, truck driving has many different branches, each of which requires a different set of skills and different kind of commitment. One such branch is OTR driving. But while many enjoy the weeks on the road as an OTR driver, sometimes the lifestyle can become taxing after a few years.
What is an OTR Driver?
OTR stands for Over The Road, and OTR driving is another way of saying long haul. As such, a truck driver who drives long distances — typically cross country rather than local or regional/stateside — is commonly known as an OTR driver, meaning they are often on the road for a couple of weeks at a time.
What is it like to be an OTR driver?
Naturally, this means that being an OTR driver is often seen as more of a lifestyle as well as a job. The commitment required to drive long haul means that it is quite different from most other trucking jobs, and completely different from something like a daily shift or office work. Here are some of the things that you can expect to become part of life as an OTR driver for many companies:
- Early days
- Pay by the mile
- Long days (broken up by mandated breaks)
- Varied paychecks — you may not know what you’ll be paid until the end of the year
For many, these are just aspects of the job and it is worth it, however there is a better way. This might mean switching the types of routes you drive, but it is also possible to continue OTR driving in a far less taxing environment. So if you are looking for a change of pace, read on to learn how.
What alternatives are available for OTR Drivers?
Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities for OTR drivers who are looking for something a little different, or even just wanting to spend more time at home. Here are a few:
1. Regional driving
Regional truck driver jobs are like long haul routes, but with the knowledge that you’ll be back within the week. This is a good way to keep some of the things that you love about being an OTR driver, while scaling back slightly on time spent out on the road.
2. Team driving
Team driving accomplishes two things: It allows you to get longer routes done in a shorter amount of time, and it removes the isolation that is typically associated with being an OTR driver. So if long weeks alone on the road have become tiresome, this may be a good alternative for you.
3. Local Driving
If you are looking to make an even bigger shift, local driving allows you to still do what you love — driving commercial vehicles — while gaining the ability to be home every night. Many people also enjoy the fact that local driving allows them to stay relatively close to home while at work.
4. Work for Matheson
At Matheson we are able to offer all of the above jobs, and we do so in a way that is designed to provide our drivers with the tools to fight the kind of burnout mentioned above. We pay all of our drivers — including OTR drivers — by the hour, and we provide set schedules. This means that you can rest easy knowing exactly what pay you will be taking home each week and what time you will be home each week. In fact, we design our long haul routes to ensure that our drivers are home at least once a week (team routes may differ).
If you want to know more about why our drivers love working for Matheson, and view current openings, head over to our careers page.