Seeking some basic information about being a trucker...

by Mike
(Arizona)

Hello, I've been doing some research on trucking as a prospective career. I'm thankful for the amount of information on this site. I just have a few specific questions about tech issues and general stuff...Maybe this could serve as additional material for the site owner!


As far as cell phone reception goes, for Long Haul/OTR, is a 3g or a 4g phone a better option?

Is either reliable for GPS apps on the phone? Is a standalone GPS system reliable for remote stretches of land?

At truck stops, during the early evening hours( 6-8pm) is there good phone reception at those places?

At truck stops, during the early even hours (6-8pm) how severe is the noise level of the trucks/environment? Would the noise from other trucks and other people be audible to anyone listening on the other line as you make cell phone calls?

Also, is there any way to reduce the noise while in the truck's cabin which you could recommend?

For internet at truck stops, what is the best option for high speed internet while in the cabin of the truck?

What are the dimensions of the average bed in a truck cabin? Are they more soft, or firm?

I have heard heat, and idling for AC are issues. How do you beat the heat? Is anti-idling heavily enforced?

As far as weapons in the truck go, such as knives or firearms, are these checked for often by authorities or personnel at truck stops, checkpoints, during traffic stops, or any other times? What are the best means of self defense for truckers?

These questions are the ones I can't seem to find much info about. I really appreciate any helpful advice and tips anyone on here can give me!

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Oct 01, 2015
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fantastic place NEW
by: Anonymous

A great site and these information will be helpful for every one.

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Sep 20, 2015
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Just a few details NEW
by: Mike, Arizona

Thank you for your detailed reply to my post! I appreciate your response a lot, because it gives me more confidence about dealing with the kind of stuff which might otherwise hold me back.

It would be awesome if you could elaborate a little more on some points.

With the noise cancelling on the phones, is that enough to completely prevent the person on the other line from hearing the truck sounds and other noises while talking inside the cabin?

What exactly is an "APU"? Is that something I must buy/if so for how much money?

Is there any good resource for state-by-state laws for idling, and other trucker-specific laws I should be concerned about?


Sep 20, 2015
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Reponse to your questions
by: Hervy

Thanks Mike. Those are some good questions.

As far as cell phone reception goes, for Long Haul/OTR, is a 3g or a 4g phone a better option?
It varies.  It depends more on your carrier.  Most say Verizon is better than Sprint. 

I have Sprint my buddy has Verizon.  There are some places with sketchy service but no many and it often doesn’t last long before there is a decent to strong signal again.

Is either reliable for GPS apps on the phone? Is a standalone GPS system reliable for remote stretches of land?

The answer to the first question comes into play here.  It depends on coverage, which depends on carrier and location.

At truck stops, during the early evening hours( 6-8pm) is there good phone reception at those places?

At almost all truck stops there is excellent reception. 

At truck stops, during the early even hours (6-8pm) how severe is the noise level of the trucks/environment? Would the noise from other trucks and other people be audible to anyone listening on the other line as you make cell phone calls?

The noise level doesn’t affect phone usage.  Even the cheapest phones these days are noise cancelling.  Even if you are standing outside near a truck that is running you will be able to hear on the phone and people will hear you just fine.

Also, is there any way to reduce the noise while in the truck's cabin which you could recommend?
Well it’s not necessary if it is for using the phone.  However, you can do the same as you would do in a sound studio.  You could line the wall with acoustic for or even draping blankets would help.  As I said though, there is no need for that.

For internet at truck stops, what is the best option for high speed internet while in the cabin of the truck?

I used my carrier’s internet hotspot service.  There are many options today.  The truckstop which pretty much always has a strong signal also has internet access plans from hourly, daily, monthly to unlimited plans.

What are the dimensions of the average bed in a truck cabin? Are they more soft, or firm?
It depends on the truck that is used in your company.  Most I would say average about twin to just over twin size. 40in x 80in as example.

To be sure, you have to know what truck you are getting in and then research that with the manufacturer. Same goes for firmness. All of this stuff varies.

I have heard heat, and idling for AC are issues. How do you beat the heat? Is anti-idling heavily enforced?

Anti-idling ordinances and laws are increasing.  To fight many companies or using APU to power conditioning air.  Although some don’t address it very much and has idling policies. 

Enforcement of laws depends on where you are.  For instance New York can be aggressive in certain rest stops.

As far as weapons in the truck go, such as knives or firearms, are these checked for often by authorities or personnel at truck stops, checkpoints, during traffic stops, or any other times?

What are the best means of self defense for truckers?

They are checked for by authorities sometimes.  I have had it searched for twice in 13 years.   Sometimes you are checked at border checkpoints and seldom but possible at delivery gate.

Never had a need to carry a weapon.  Although, things can happen, our safety at truckstops is not so bad that it is recommend to try and carry a weapon. 

That’s a lot of unnecessary drama for such a small chance of actually needing it.  If you are not sure what side of the situation you want to risk, do a survey of drivers. 

Ask 50 or so have they ever needed a weapon and didn’t have one.  I am pretty sure out of 50 you will get 0 – 2 drivers who claim they needed to use one and didn’t have it.

These questions are the ones I can't seem to find much info about. I really appreciate any helpful advice and tips anyone on here can give me!

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