Short Haul vs. Long Haul Trucking

Thinking of becoming a truck driver? One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether to pursue short haul or long haul trucking. Both have their own advantages, and knowing the difference is important as most jobs tend to be classified as one or the other. Let’s take a look at what each means so you can decide which route is best for you. We’ll also provide some on-the-road trucking tips to make the decision a little easier. 

Short Haul vs. Long Haul Driving

Short-haul trucking usually means keeping to a 150-mile radius from your home office, while long haul trucking typically means drivers have a radius of 250 miles or more from the home office. Because of these distances, most short-haul truck drivers often return home most nights, if not every night, while long-haul truck drivers can be away during the week and potentially for extended periods of time. There isn’t an exact industry-wide definition, however, so it’s important to check the expected radius and time frames while talking with a potential employer. 

Differences in Loading and Driving

Since short-haul truck drivers typically stay within a smaller radius, they can carry multiple loads per day. Short-haul mostly encompasses local roads and smaller streets, which can be more difficult to navigate than the wide, open roads of long-haul trucking. 

Differences in Travel Expenses

Long haul truck drivers spend a lot of time out on the road and away from home, so they’re able to expense more travel-related items such as meals and showers. (Lodging isn’t a typical expense here since most long haul drivers have a truck with sleeping quarters, also known as a sleeper cab.) Because short-haul drivers tend to spend more time at home, there are fewer travel-related expenses they can claim. 

Support Along the Way

No matter if you’re taking a short-haul or a long haul, you can count on Nextran Truck Centers to be there for any parts or service needs along the way. With 25 locations across the country, we have dealerships on all of the major interstates to ensure we’re there to keep you and your truck moving. 

Truck Driving Tips

Whether you decide to pursue short haul or long haul trucking, there is some great truck driving tips you should know to help you get started. 

Getting Started in Trucking

If you’re interested in a truck driving career, it’s a good idea to first research the field and make sure it’s for you. Talk with truck drivers and trucking companies and discover as much as you can about the field. You’ll also need to make sure you qualify, which typically involves being at least 21 years old, having a GED or high school diploma, and having a clean driving record and valid license. 

Safety First

Some of the most important on-the-road trucking tips you’ll find out there involve safety. Also known as OTR truck tips, on-the-road trucking tips are crucial to staying safe and getting the job done. 

First and foremost, buckle up, slow down, and stay alert. You’ll also want to really get to know your vehicle, inside and out, so that when you run into a specific situation, say needing to make a tight turn, you’ll be prepared and know what your truck can handle. Advance planning your trip can also save you time, especially for short-haul truckers who may want to stay off smaller roads. 

Maintain Your Truck

Another great on-the-road trucking tip is to keep your truck maintained. Keep up with routine maintenance like oil changes as well as brake and tire maintenance. Take care of your engine, too, ensuring everything from your charging system to fuel filter are maintained. Stop by your local Nextran Truck Center for any truck service needs on your haul. 

If you’re in the market for a truck driving job, understanding the difference between short and long-haul trucking is key. With a little bit of research, you’ll find the right trucking job that fits your needs and lifestyle. And when you’re ready to hit the open road? Stop into a Nextran Truck Centers.

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