There are a lot of compelling reasons that people become truck drivers, such as the freedom and camaraderie that can be found out on the road. Some people become truck drivers because they looked up to truckers as heroes when they were children, but most people choose to drive a truck because it is a fast-paced and exciting job. Trucking is not dull, and just like a trucker, the culture of trucking is always moving and changing.
THE OLD SCHOOL TRUCKER
Many truck drivers still remember the old days of trucking: cab overs, cowboy hats, CB radios, and drivers hanging on the horn at the whim of children making the signal in passing cars. Truck drivers navigated from paper maps and crawled into tiny spaces in their trucks to sleep, but they did everything on their own schedules as long as they got where they were supposed to be on time.
Truckers were once known as good Samaritans who were always willing to lend a helping hand to stranded four-wheelers (that’s what truckers call cars) whenever they could. They were regarded as cowboys of the road, and it was just as common for children to marvel over eighteen-wheelers as they would racecars. Truckers wore cowboy hats and plaid shirts, and they were seen as American heroes.
The old school trucker is a dying breed, and the myth of truckers as modern-day cowboys and heroes is changing.
Perhaps the change in perception for truck drivers was caused by pop culture phenomena, like the portrayal of evil, sentient trucks in Maximum Overdrive or like the abrasive trucker from Thelma and Louise. There was also a good bit of bad press surrounding truck drivers in the early 2000s. Many things could be to blame for the shift in our perception of truckers from cowboy heroes to pop-culture antagonists, but the truth is pretty simple – the world changed and how we get things from point A to point B changed with it.
In today’s world of go-go-go and technological advancements, there is a lot of pressure placed on the people who deliver our goods to us every day. Thanks to technology, people are becoming more and more insistent upon instant gratification, which is why so much pressure is put on drivers to get where they are going as fast as possible.
These technological advancements haven’t been all bad. Truckers once relied solely on paper maps to get from New Jersey to California, but now they have GPS and many other technological devices to help them find their way and to help keep them on schedule. However, this means that they have a lot less time to pull over and help a stranded driver or to work on their public relations.
THE OLD MEETS THE NEW
Many things may have changed for truckers over the years, but a lot has stayed the same. Truckers still have conversations over CB radio and at the coffee table at the fueling station, and the trucks they drive still capture the fascination of many a young gear head. Even though truckers have been portrayed in a negative light by popular culture, the general perception of truck drivers is improving. More people realize that truck drivers are the ones responsible for getting them all of the stuff they order online from point A to point B. Also, our reliance on delivered goods means there is a high demand for good drivers these days, and this high demand means more money and more prestige for drivers.
Today, truck drivers still find camaraderie and freedom out on the open road. Truckers may not exclusively wear cowboy hats and plaid shirts anymore, but they are still heroes who are essential to keeping America moving.
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