Life as a truckers wife SUCKS! 23 years now. And the pay is even WORSE!

by Just call me D
(On the road, as usual)

I think that a lot of emphasis needs to be made on the "LESS THAN MINIMUM WAGE compared to hours actually worked" I've read in numerous places that the "average" over the road (otr) salary is roughly $30,000 per year.

Sounds decent? Well, after one calculates ALL the hours worked, it breaks down to about SIX DOLLARS per hour. An otr driver basically has to GIVE UP their relationship, family, basically their LIFE for 2-4 weeks at a time (or more) and go from being a part of their family's lives to JUST A VISITOR.

It's not hard to understand why the turnover rate is 128% and the divorce rate amongst otr truckers is in the high 90's. It's not just a job, it's a LIFESTYLE and a tough one at that. It's NOT for everyone and has certainly NEVER been for ME.

The ONLY time my husband EVER made decent money was in local driving, either getting paid by the trip, or by the hour for all hours worked. But unfortunately he's has too many years worth of otr stints too, and my income only provided what he lacked, not extra income (which we needed.)

After many years of him going back and forth between local and otr and my losing my decent job due to the company going out of business and after the local company he worked at for several years went out of business he found the 1st job he could find, which was over the road, of course. And which he (we) are currently having to do right now.

It didn't take long to be FORCED into LIVING in the truck for the past 3 years. His average pay for actual hours worked last year was about $7.00 an hour and $6.00 an hour the year before.

Although we may still be "together", 34 years now, we have NO relationship. It has basically ruined my marriage, caused him to miss most of our children's childhood, caused me depression and chronic headaches due to continually clenching my teeth because of constant stress, I felt like a single parent (which I pretty much WAS when he was gone), caused lots of evictions, vehicle repossessions, loss of personal items to pawn shops, and totally destroyed both of our credit.

Did I mention destroying our relationship too? When two people continually grow APART they GROW APART. His "visits" while doing his otr thing were pretty much a day and a half to two days to catch up on paperwork, rest, play on the computer, etc.

No quality time, no quantity time, he was too tired to do anything.

He was focused and driven to be a good provider. But being a “provider” isn’t all about money, it’s also about “providing” love, attention, support, inspiration, compassion and guidance.
It's about PRESENCE, not presents.

Unfortunately his over the road driving career (16 of the 23 years) provided neither. He was gone for a week or more for 2/3 of his driving career and half of our "marriage".

I have a lot of bitterness, anger, and resentment. I regret him ever getting into this occupation and LEAVING his life and family for the trucking lifestyle.

Over the years I've tried to get him to DO THE MATH (as I did very, very early on) but in the beginning it was all new and exciting and fun for him.

He never even looked at his paycheck. I was the one to go pick it up each week and kept trying to tell him "IT'S NOT WORTH IT! I think diesel fluid runs through his veins and he didn't/doesn't seem to want to open his eyes to how things REALLY are. He busts his ass. He SHOULD be making a good living, right?

He is a very experienced driver (23 years) with an excellent driving history. He works very hard, I know that. Most definitely too hard for the little pay he receives in return.

I just wish those who train people to get their cdl's would inform them (and the people who are left behind rooting for the new driver) how things REALLY are, but then again those schools, companies, etc. are raking in the dough and probably laughing all the way to the bank.

128% turnover rate, High 90's % divorce rate, less than minimum wage pay, but listen to or read any advertisement for trucking and they seem to romanticize the lifestyle.

I personally see nothing romantic about sitting behind the wheel (or in the passenger seat in my case), driving all hours of the day or night, the stress of deadlines, traffic, etc. having zero schedule, sitting in loading docks for hours on end, and everything else that goes along with trucking for about 98 hours a week, having constant back pain, leg pain, hip pain (and also swollen feet and ankles in my case,) getting zero exercise, having to pee in a jug (or bucket) while rolling because you can't afford to take the time to stop, (especially after having to sit for 3 - 5 or more hours getting loaded.

There's a deadline ((and you just lost those hours sitting at the customer)) you CANNOT STOP), having to park in truck stops that could very well be called ski slopes. (No, there are no levelers on the bunks. Whatever angle you have to park at is the angle you have to TRY to sleep at, the cab facing downward and sideways so that you literally almost roll out of it is the most fun - great on the back and hips too).

Eating mostly fast food or junk food because you don't have time to stop and get healthy food or simply cannot afford healthy food. (Although every few days you may be able to find time to stop at an expensive all you can eat truck stop buffet and overeat because by then you haven't had anything but snacks for several days and are dizzy from hunger for something that resembles real food, which some places DO HAVE).

After about 2 weeks all the highways, trees, and loading docks pretty much look the same. There are a LOT of trucks on the road and I'm sure to many the lifestyle may be worth it. But in the 3 years I've now spent in a truck I've never seen anything romantic (or enjoyable) or worth it, about it.

In my case there is no QUALITY of life - It's barely an existence. And the drivers I've run into all seem to have the same complaints. No money and can't get home are the top 2.

I haven't seen any load or any job yet that I'd give up my marriage, my family, my health, and my life for, especially at a lousy $6, $7, $9 an hour, etc.

McDonald's workers are wanting a pay increase to $15 hr because workers cannot afford to support a family on minimum wage.

Maybe if enough hard working, low paid drivers all get together and raise enough hell things may change for them in the near future.

They (and their families) have to GIVE UP and LOSE A LOT, to get VERY LITTLE in return.

Nothing CHANGES if NOTHING changes!

Comments for Life as a truckers wife SUCKS! 23 years now. And the pay is even WORSE!

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Mar 20, 2019
Don't do it young people NEW
by: Anonymous

I tell young people all the time don't get into trucking it's a dead end career.No family life,your not going to get rich,you sure won't have a relationship. The average life span of a trucker is 58 years old.LIFE IS TO SHORT to be gone from family.

May 03, 2018
It does suck! NEW
by: Randy

I (the husband and driver) would be the first to agree with the title. I/we HATE this life, the time apart, the lack of quality time, no time to do ANYTHING, etc. We've been married 34 yrs. about 10 years of that has been OTR. I am blessed to be home every weekend, but because of needing to babysit our granddaughter we can't even at least be alone.
Unfortunately I have no other option for employment, NOTHING else come close to paying enough to pay the bills (house payment) and selling isn't an option at the moment. I would GIVE ANYTHING to be able to be home every night like normal people. We try to make the most of the time that we do have "together" like going for a convertible ride, a little date to Sonic on a Saturday night, etc. Messing with the computer or WAISTING time on video games or watching TV all day isn't even a desire ESPECIALLY when I have such little time with my wife as it is. I have to say however that if your husband only makes $30k a year then he's working for the wrong company!!! A driver should EASILY bring home $850-$1000+ per week. I know -- I know that doesn't take care of the alone time, but at least it would relieve some of the stress!!

Mar 27, 2018
Married to otr 🚚 trucker it sucks! NEW
by: Anonymous

Ive been married for 17 years to a trucker.raised his our 2 children on my own, we have very little to show for it.he had the nerve to tell me about the way i raise our kids when he only sees them 2x a month.when i talk about divorce he gets upset, i dont know wishes guys

Feb 15, 2018
Wage NEW
by: Anonymous

I agree society so worried about minimum wage but truckers get low pay for the hours they work. Truckers should get paid more not a student who does not even have a grade 12 or the will to work.

Feb 14, 2018
I feel like my truck driver husband cheating on me NEW
by: Anonymous

He works running tank and wanted to stay down there gets motel room every night has constant hours that are the same but in the evening from 6 to about 11pm he can't talk on phone or answers texts constantly ignores calls but is off work asked him if he wanted us to relocate down where he is he said no. He been working down there for almost few years and something just feels off

Dec 27, 2017
Life AFTER a trucker NEW
by: Anonymous

I was married to a trucker 15 years. Divorced because he constantly cheated on me while otr. When he would be Home he couldn’t wait to get back to the truck. I don’t think he was really cut out to be a "daddy". Finally ended up with a great man whom I’ve been married to for over 20 years. He helped raise my two children that my "trucker" ex never knew very well. So....there is life after being a trucker wife.

Dec 17, 2017
The Gravity of Reality NEW
by: Anonymous

I empathize with your story, especially the low wages. Unfortunately, there's a fact of life that you're not grasping onto (and the McDonald's crowd is just learning) - demanding more money has it's consequences.

For the McDonald's issue, they're learning new words like "kiosk" where customers' orders are taken through an automated ordering system - this has already taken a huge toll on jobs, and promises to create many more victims in the future. Their dreams of $15.00 per hour are turning into unemployment benefits.

There is no employer who will give raises "out of the goodness of his heart" - it cuts too far into his bottom line. Whenever he has to give up some money, he makes it up somewhere else.

In the trucking industry, this means increased shipping rates. Increased shipping rates create an increase in the retail prices as the cost of doing business is passed up the line to the consumer.

It ends up in a chase for the brass ring. But the brass ring gets farther away because whatever compensation the truck driver receives is never as much as the adjusted costs a the other end.

The result is the $7.00 per hour example you mentioned. A driver may get $7.00 per hour over the $6.00 he was previously getting, but that $7.00 is still only worth $6.00.

Sep 22, 2017
Pissing on a Trucker NEW
by: Anonymous

I wouldn't piss on a trucker if I saw him burning on the side of the road!

Sep 19, 2017
Truckers Lifestyle is a Rollercoaster Ride NEW
by: Anonymous

Well to begin they work crazy hours so don't ever expect to have a good nights rest ...either out early at 4am and back at 7 pm or out at 4pm and home at 5am. Many states are not regulated so 40 hours a week can turn into 90 very easily! Lots of them work shifts 2 weeks on one off! On the week off they are horribly tired and spend 3 of the 7 days catching up on sleep!

Don't expect them to be available for Christmas, Thanksgiving or any Holiday for that matter. They won't be available to see there kids grow up and you cannot depend on them for anything!

My husband has not made it home to see his family for Christmas in 7 years!!!

Wives are expected to pay all the bills, maintain vehicles, fix anything that goes wrong with the house, drive the kids around and work a full time job!

I have moved 4 times this year because of my husbands trucking career!!! Weeks of packing and unpacking by myself!!! Changing our address numerous times, getting new insurance quotes, getting new registration and drivers licenses....and every time you move and start over you have to wait months for medical and health insurance God forbid anything happens! Plus, every time you move you have to shed more furniture and nice furniture you have gets damaged! Plus, all the relationship you develop are short term because they are always on the move!

They never have any money because they buy flashy toys on credit that they cannot afford to show off on the weeks that they have off! They have no idea about finances because most of them have a high school education which makes them slaves to the road!!!

When they are away from home they lie about logged in hours on the job and get paid to sit in strip clubs or enjoy nipple 'lattes' at small town coffee shops! They are deprived of normal social interaction and are never around women so when you finally have time to go out with them they have there tongue out salivating over anything that walks!

If they live apart from their families they usually have two separate relationships and misteresses on the side! And if they are single they usually have a different woman lined up for every day they are off thanks to dating sites! My husband lied to me for two months about this other woman who was convenient for sex next door to him! He lied to her too! She was so insecure because of his lies that she stole his mattress out of his apartment when he was home with his wife!

I never seen so MANY DIVORCES and broken families as a result!!! Relationships will not survive with loneliness and little time spent together. Relationships need trust, love, and to be neurtured in order to work out!

They have poor hygiene because the sleep in their trucks in clothes they never change and have poor eating habits because they only ever have time to 'grab and go'!!!

These are the type of men that grow resentful and abusive ! Who would want to live this type of a lifestyle?

My life has not been easy married to a trucker and I wouldn't recommend the lifestyle to anyone!

Mar 22, 2017
Being trucker's wife sucks NEW
by: Anonymous

My experience of being married to a trucker was short. I married this guy who said he made a lot of money and was a family oriented man ... he had a state of the art truck (where most of his earnings went, a pick up truck (tax write off), a couple of motorcycles, a crappy house and $30K credit card debt... he said was business expenses but in reality - impulsive purchases... I helped him to pay off the debt, get a better house ... live debt free but in return, he continued spending like crazy... and later, when I filed for divorce, I found out that he actually had been cheating on me while we were dating and married ... he was into the relationships w/ married whores w/ children. I guess, it is exciting to be constantly runnyning away from their husbands, lol
Truckers pretend to be rich, truckers spend stupidly on stuff they can't afford - to make their truck look good w/ all the bling and chrome ... my ex could have been someone, but instead, waisted energy on stuff that doesn't matter.
Will never even talk to a trucker ... same bs w/ them - big trucks flanked them feel delusinally powerful

Dec 04, 2016
I felt like i wrote this myself! NEW
by: Anonymous

My husband has been on the road for most of our 15 year marriage and we still have nothing to show.i am basically raising our 2 kids myself.when i mention getting a divorce he gets bent out of shape, i dont know why? I'll always care for him but i dont love him in that way anymore. I can do bad by myself,well anyway good luck guys.
Cant wait to be free!!

Sep 05, 2015
To late NEW
by: Anonymous

For some of us it is to late the years go by and we were too dumb to realize trucking is a losing game it robs the best years of your life. Stay in school stay smart.

Aug 28, 2015
You dont need 20 years experience. NEW
by: Anonymous

@ Marketdriver

Meh, you don't need years and years of experience to make 100K. I know truckers with only 3 yrs experience making that money. After 200k miles under your belt, accident free, you can get any good trucking job.

Jun 21, 2015
150% correct NEW
by: Marketdriver

I started driving OTR in 1992, I was single, no kids (yet) and it was great under those circumstances. In 1999 I had a friend almost die in a robbery attempt at the check cashing place he managed in Covina Ca and the voice in my head said enough. I started calling everyone of the big local boys , Ryder, JB Hunt ect ect and found a good local gig with JB. I also started applying online with the big Grocery Companies since they pay the best and have pensions, medical ect. I have been with my current employer15+ year's now. It depends on where you live and persistence. I truly miss OTR, but make 3x as much and see my children regularly. Apply everywhere, and do it every 2 to 4 weeks at the same places, remember we are the unique commodity since most these kids out there have less then 5 years if that we have over 20. Good luck.BTW tax return 1998 was 42k. 2014 98k.

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