OTR Versus Regional - Which is Better For Your Family?
If you are deciding which type of driving you want to do, you should take into account what type of duties and lifestyle you will have. OTR drivers are involved in truckload freight hauling of a trailer that can be detached from the tractor. The tractor cab is where the trucker resides, but this is dependent on bunk size and length of route. The type of trailer impacts the type of daily responsibility the trucker is accountable for. Depending upon what type of cargo is being hauled in or on the trailer, the trailer may be heated, refrigerated, trapped, contain HazMat bulk items that need to be placarded, or any other feature that is needed to meet the needs of the cargo. Depending on what company you work for, you may or may not be involved in the loading and unloading of the cargo.
Regional drivers haul cargo that is either less-than-truckload, also called LTL, or truckload size. Regional drivers often pick up from terminals and deliver to the consignee then bring cargo back to their home terminal. Regional drivers may be required to have additional knowledge dependent upon the industry they are delivering for. An example would be if you are hauling construction material. You may require knowledge of forklifts or cranes to assist in loading or unloading of materials or is you are going to haul pups you will need to have a double or triples endorsement. All truck drivers receive similar training which exposes them to all types of freight, basic driving skills, and hauling 48 foot and 53 foot trailers. Most drivers do not know immediately what type of driving that they want to do.
Why do some drivers prefer one job over the other? There are pros and cons to both jobs that make the decision for some drivers.
Pros for OTR
- Paid to travel the country
- Options for higher pay
- Constant change of scenery
Cons for OTR
- Loneliness and being away from family and friends
- More daily living expenses due to living on the road
- The sedentary lifestyle can affect your health negatively
Pros for Regional
- Regular home time to be with family
- Shorter running distances
- Ability to have regular routes to so you know your schedule
Cons for Regional
- Cut in pay from OTR driving
- The same route could become monotonous
- Added duties like several daily drop and hooks and load/unload freight
Drivers must take into account how the profession they choose will affect their life. Drivers with families and young children would be better suited to driving as a regional truck driver. Older drivers, who do not have those ties, may be more inclined to choose OTR trucking. Money also plays a factor in the decision. OTR trucking tends to pay better depending on how long the driver is on the road and the type of load. Both types of driving will affect your life. Keep in mind, driving is a solitary job and it helps to enjoy driving long distances and not be bothered by the loneliness to have a successful driving career.