Being a Truck Driver With a Family: Balancing Work and Life

Is trucking a good career with a family? Trucker family life faces challenges that stem from days and even weeks apart on long hauls. Find out how technology, scheduling,


Joe Weaver
May 31, 2023
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Being a truck driver with a family can, at times, be a taxing job. The long hours away on the road can take an emotional toll, not just on the driver, but on the spouse and children at home. Thankfully, there are ways to soften the blow to both you and your loved ones, while still taking advantage of one of the most readily available and lucrative jobs in the U.S.

Thanks to smartphones, tablets, and video chatting applications, it’s never been easier to be a truck driver with a family. Staying in touch by using these devices and apps, keeping an eye on your physical & mental health, and maximizing your time spent at home can lessen the impact of days spent away from your loved ones.

Join us as we answer some of the hard questions about being a trucker with a family and offer some important tips for getting the most out of your free time with the fam.

Do Truck Drivers Have Time for Family?

While it’s true that a trucker’s duties can keep them thousands of miles away for long stretches of time, it’s not impossible to maintain strong familial bonds. Phone and video calls during off hours can help to maintain relationships with your spouse and children. Essentially, truck drivers have to make time for family in the limited hours they have at home.

How Long are Truck Drivers Away From Home?

The time truckers spend on the road varies from one employer to another. With that said, how often truckers can go home is also determined by the type of trucking in question. We can break these types down into three basic categories: over the road/long haul, regional, and local.

1. Over the Road (OTR) and Long Haul Trucking

As the term “long haul” implies, this type of trucking demands significant time from the driver. Delivery routes are usually thousands of miles long. Long haul drivers can expect to spend weeks at a time away from home on a run, sometimes with mere hours to spend at home before the next job calls.

According to the DriveCo CDL Learning Center, new truck drivers usually spend their first year on the job doing OTR/long haul trucking. Veterans of the trucking industry sometimes advise against OTR trucking with a family due to the attendant stresses of frequent, long-term spousal and parental absences.

2. Regional Trucking

A regional trucker can expect to spend more time at home compared to OTR/long-haul truckers, usually at least one day a week. Deliveries are more frequent, but routes are much shorter. This allows the truck driver more time at with their family, assuming their home is near the regional hub from which the trucker is dispatched. 

3. Local Trucking

For truckers with families, local trucking jobs are a bit of a holy grail. This is as close as a trucker is likely to get to a regular 9 to 5 gig. A local driver has the opportunity to spend nights at home and see their families on a regular basis. 

The following table breaks down average salaries and time spent at home for the three major forms of trucking.

Trucker Salaries and Time at Home

Type of TruckingTime at HomeAverage Salary
Over the Road/Long Haul1-2 days per month$62,056
RegionalWeekends $55,000
LocalNights and weekends (in most cases)$43,595

Source: ZipRecruiter

Truckers with regional or local jobs obviously have more time to spend with their kin, but just what does family life look like for a trucker?

Truck Driver Family Life: Is it Hard to be a Trucker With a Family?

A truck driver on a video chat with his family while lying down in his sleeper cab.

With the exception of local delivery, the fact is that truckers just don’t get to spend as much time with their families as other professionals. The nature of the job requires long hours away from home, which impacts not just the truck driver, but their spouse and children as well.

Examining the impacts of trucking on family life is key to preparing yourself and your loved ones for the reality of a job that keeps you away from home on a routine basis. 

Impact of Trucking on the Family: How ABCO Can Help

Trucking can be a demanding job, and the demands don’t stop with the person behind the wheel. Although regional and local drivers can have an active role in most, if not all, aspects of home life, long-haul truckers are gone for weeks at a time. These long absences can be difficult on a trucker’s spouse and children. 

As mentioned previously, most newcomers to the business spend their first year driving OTR. Afterward, it becomes easier for them to find regional or local jobs that allow more time at home.

If you’re a newly licensed trucker with a family, it’s almost certainly in the best interest of you and your loved ones that you find local or regional work as soon as you can once your long-haul year is up.

Remember, if you’re an experienced trucker looking to leave the long haul behind in favor of a job that keeps you closer to home, ABCO offers regional and local driving positions that allow you to spend more time with those closest to you.


Top 5 Tips for Truckers with Families

By practicing these five tips, you’ll go a long way toward mitigating the negative impacts that long-term absences have on both you and your family.

  1. Stay in Touch With Video Chats: Try to schedule regular video chat sessions with your family during downtime. Face-to-face contact with your spouse and children can provide a feeling of closeness, even if you’re on a long haul to the other side of the country as an OTR driver. There are also apps to share your trucking status with your family. This will allow your loved ones to keep up with your routes in real time.
  2. Make Plans for Days at Home: Make the most of the time you get to spend with your family by scheduling day trips. Amusement parks, nature walks, and visits to extended family are some examples of family-friendly activities that can strengthen bonds and build lasting memories.
  3. Souvenirs and Surprises: The biggest fringe benefit of being a trucker is getting to see so many parts of the country. Share that benefit with your family by getting small gifts such as postcards and keychains whenever you have a stop. Take the time to learn a little about what makes each place you visit unique, and share that knowledge when you get home.
  4. Make Healthy Choices: This can be a tough one for truck drivers. Eating right and exercising is difficult enough, and life on the road only exacerbates that difficulty. However, by staying healthy and making good dietary choices, you can ensure that you’ll have the energy and endurance you need to fully enjoy family time when the opportunity arises.
  5. Maintain Safe Driving Habits: Avoid reckless driving habits that can endanger you and others on the road. Stay at or under the speed limit and keep enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you to brake to a full stop should an emergency occur. Adhere to these and other safe driving habits to avoid the possibility of injuries that would have a negative impact on both you and your family.

Truck Driving With a Family: At Home on the Road

A truck driverusing his phone to stay in touch with family on the road.

In a complete 180 from the long absences experienced by solo truckers, some couples choose to work as a trucker family, driving long hauls as a team to maximize time spent together. 

Husband and wife trucking teams are fairly commonplace: some couples trade driving shifts, while others have a designated driver, with the non-driver handling paperwork and other ancillary tasks. Truck driving with your spouse is a viable option if your employer allows it. 

Many trucking companies with a family rider policy also allow children to accompany their trucking parent on hauls after a waiting period. While it’s a good idea to limit these big rig ride alongs to extended breaks from school, they represent another opportunity to spend time with family members in a job where the options for doing so can be limited.

Join the ABCO Family

Is truck driving hard on family? It can be, but by practicing the tips above, you can still maintain a great relationship with your loved ones while you’re on the road. That being said, it’s also a great idea to work for an employer who offers a competitive salary and stellar benefits. That’s where we come in.

ABCO Transportation understands the importance of balancing your job and life at home. We offer positions in long haul, regional, and even limited local jobs that allow you to sleep at home and see your family every day. See what jobs are available now, fill out an application online, or give us a call at 866-980-2710 to take the next step in starting a new career with ABCO.

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