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The trucking industry might seem straightforward, but it’s often full of surprises. As distribution networks continue to expand and delivery needs grow, it only makes sense that the trucking industry adapts accordingly. This has led to some exciting industry developments that the average person might not know.

Especially if you’re considering a career as a truck driver, you probably want to learn a bit more about surprising labor statistics, unique certification opportunities, and the other industry developments that could impact your employment. So for some unique facts about being a truck driver, here’s what you should know.

1. Truck drivers need to have technical skills

While you don’t need to become a full-fledged technician, you should consider picking up critical technical skills that can help you in the event of a breakdown or a system malfunction. You should be able to handle minor repairs—though you won’t need to go so far as replacing your brakes or transmission. That’s why many truck drivers take similar certification courses as diesel technicians.

An automotive and diesel technology program, for instance, might be able to help you pick up critical technical skills and information. If you complete an automotive technology program, it can also help you negotiate higher rates when you’re meeting with prospective employers. When you invest in ongoing education, it can pay off.

2. Drivers often rack up millions of miles

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If you pursue a lifelong trucking career, you could end up driving a significant distance. Even if you work for a small business like a local water delivery service, you could drive over 100,000 miles in a single year. Especially as the U.S. trucking industry keeps growing, it’s possible that these numbers could scale as well. You can consider short-trucking to keep your career mileage down for those who aren’t interested in hitting such extensive milestones.

3. There are millions of active trucks across the U.S.

In case you haven’t noticed, the United States trucking industry is bustling. With new technology, yearly refresh options, and new models, there are plenty of reasons automotive brands continue to build their fleets. Bigger fleets mean that there are plenty of trucks roaming the country’s highways. Whether trucks transport specialty construction equipment, breakroom supplies, or home delivery packages, they’re almost always in demand.

4. You can start your own business

Whether you work for a significant national fleet or a local trucking brand, there may come a time when you want to call the shots. Luckily, that’s realistic for many truck drivers. This is because small businesses account for most trucking revenue. Some vendors and brands prefer to work with local businesses, too. If you’re interested in entrepreneurship, you can start to network, build connections, and learn about the industry. Then, once you’ve gotten some experience, you can use your acquired skills (and perhaps a completed certificate program) to start your outfit.

5. Truckers may spend many nights away from home

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If you’re a long-haul trucker, you could end up spending many nights away from home. While more and more fleets are adopting short-haul practices, it isn’t quite a transportation industry standard. So naturally, long hauls away from home can take a toll on a truck driver’s wellness.

Though many people are suited for these cross-country treks, they aren’t for everyone. If that doesn’t sound like the right fit for you, you should look into small businesses, local distribution networks, and regional brands. It’ll make it easier to find compatible employers that understand your needs.

The transportation industry is booming, and it doesn’t look as though that will change shortly. That means that the industry always needs top talent and effective drivers. When you know more about the role, it’s easier to picture yourself as a successful truck driver.

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