America’s economy relies heavily on truck drivers. With professional drivers in high demand, many individuals wonder what the truck driver lifestyle is like and what it’s like to drive a semi-truck for a living. We took some time to talk with Kevin McCulley, a veteran truck driver with Roane Transportation, to find out more about this talent deprived industry.
How did you get started at Roane Transportation, and what are your favorite things about working there?
“I joined Roane Transportation because my wife worked there as a local driver while I was working for another trucking company. I wasn’t really making good money at my previous job, so I decided to work at Roane. Roane Transportation is an amazing company to drive for because you’re a name and not just a truck number. I make good money and have a great working relationship with dispatch, so they can usually get me home, even if things change and I call them at the last minute.”
What is it like being a truck driver?
“Being a truck driver is probably like most jobs in the fact that you have your good times and your bad times. You don’t get as much home time as other professions; sometimes you’re gone for two or three weeks at a time. On the other hand, you’re compensated well for being away from home. Driving a truck as a career isn’t for everyone.”
What is the most challenging part of being a professional driver? What’s the most rewarding?
“The hardest thing about being a driver is being away from your children and your family. You can miss things likes birthdays, sports, or holidays when you are on the road for long hauls.”
“The places you get paid to see as your driving across the country are really the most rewarding parts of the truck driving experience. The money and some of the people that you meet. “
How long have you been a commercial driver and how did you get started in the industry?
“I’ve been driving for 17 years now. Even as a kid I’ve loved being around trucks. When I was younger I had a friend, who owned a truck. I rode along with him over the summer and that solidified the decision to be a professional driver for me. I’ve been driving a truck ever since.”
What advice would you give to someone straight out of high school that wanted to be a driver?
“For a high school student who has other options, my advice would be to get an education. There are better things to do. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great life for me and I enjoy it, but I tell my kids to go to school and get a good education, so they have other options.”
What is the best thing about the truck driving lifestyle?
“I guess maybe the freedom of being out on the road. When you’re a good driver, it feels like you work for yourself, but with a support system backing you up if you need assistance. Management at Roane Transportation is great as well, I do a good job, ensure that the loads get delivered on-time and safely, and don’t have to worry about being micromanaged.”
There’s been a lot of discussion about autonomous trucking and autonomous vehicles in general. What are your thoughts on this movement?
“I personally don’t want to be on the road with a truck that’s driving itself. Not everyone drives safely on the road and it’s hard enough to eliminate accidents WITH someone behind the wheel. I don’t think that the autonomous trucks will be as safe as a human driver anytime soon.”
With so many truck driving companies looking for drivers, what made you choose Roane Transportation?
“I liked the fact that Roane Transportation’s main yard was close to my home. Also, my wife is also a driver with Roane Transportation and she really enjoyed working there, so I decided to join there as well.”
For those on the driving job search: Is truck driving a good career? Is being a truck driver worth it?
“Like I said, it’s not for everyone, but if you start driving a truck and like it, being a professional driver can be rewarding. Truck driving hasn’t made me a rich man, but I’ve made a good living and enjoy what I do.”
From an outside perspective, it would seem like driving such a big truck would be nerve-racking. Can you tell us about a tenuous or stressful driving trip?
“I’ve been in several stressful situations over the years. I still remember being scared to death the first time I drove through New York. I was working for a truck driving company out of Kentucky and was hauling a load to the Bronx. I remember having to drive under the George Washington Bridge and the roads were really crowded and everyone was driving much faster than the posted speed limit. It was extremely stressful.”
What do you do when you aren’t working?
“I’m an avid hunter during hunting season. When I’m home, I enjoy spending time with my family and just being off the road.”
Who is a personal hero of yours and why?
“My dad is my personal hero because no matter how little time we had together he always made the best of it. He went without to make sure we had what we needed. He made me who I am today, and I lost my hero in October of 2017.”
What is the most annoying habit other drivers have?
“Cutting semi-trucks off isn’t just an annoying habit, but it also can be dangerous. Drivers need to be aware that it takes tractor-trailers more time to slow down and or stop. It takes a fully loaded tractor-trailer weighing 80,000 lbs driving 65 mph almost 200 yards or two football fields end-zone to end-zone to come to a complete stop.”
Do you have a nickname? If so what is it and how did you get it?
“My CB handle is “Nugget”. When I first started driving, some of my fellow drivers gave that nickname to me because they said that I reminded them of Nugget O’Cass from Crocodile Dundee 3.”
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
“I think that everyone who doesn’t have a CDL should spend a day riding along in a semi-truck, so they could see what’s it like to be out there on the road. I think it would change the perception that all truck drivers do is sit there and hold a steering wheel.”
Roane Transportation values its drivers tremendously and that’s why we offer extremely competitive compensation combined with national, regional, and local routes, giving drivers multiple options for maximum pay and home time. If you’re ready to join a truck driving company that truly cares about its employees today contact us online or fill out an online application today.