Short Haul vs Long Haul Driving

When it comes to truck driving, there are a number of decisions you’ll be able to make which will determine the factors of your everyday life. One of the major decisions you’ll be able to make in the career is whether you’ll be making short hauls or long distance drives for your truck driving company. This is an important decision with a ton of factors so it’s important that you consider your options.

Truck driving is definitely on top of the list of most popular careers in the United States, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says there’s a strong outlook for jobs. Though trucking jobs vary, they often are described as either short haul or long haul. These terms don’t have strict definitions but short-haul trucking often involves driving within a 150-mile radius. Long-haul drivers usually have a driving radius of 250 miles or more.

Below we’ll take a look and compare local truck driving vs long haul. Let’s take a look.

Salary Differences

Instead of a standard hourly rate, long haul truckers earn a per-mile rate, along with bonuses. The BLS estimates that heavy tractor-trailer drivers earn an average of $43,680 per year, and those at the top end of the spectrum earn over $62,000 per year. If you do back-to-back trips, you can collect a good amount of income that will last you awhile.

For local truck driving jobs, you’ll almost always do not make as much money. This is mainly because short distance does not cover as many miles as a long distance driver. Keep in mind that this does vary from company to company who may have different pay scales, but for the most part, it does not have the same pay scale as long distance driving.


If you are the type of person that likes your personal time, long distance driving might be the better option for you. Long haul truck driving jobs give you flexibility in a different way. Since you’ll often have deadlines that take a few days to get to, you’ll be able to drive when you want. All though you are doing your job, you won’t have a set schedule so you can manage your time how you want.

Local truck drivers are able to have a set schedule that gives them the ability to have a solid work/life balance. Drivers are often off on weekends and holidays so you’ll be able to catch your child’s sports game or plan a stellar vacation.


Long haul trucking can give the chance for national travel, enabling drivers to see the U.S. from a truck cab and experience different perspectives by traveling across the lower 48 states of United States. If you enjoy traveling, especially on long road trips, driving the extra distance would be no problem for you. Rather, it might be something you would enjoy doing. If you’re looking for freedom on the open road, the ability to see the country, and long stretches away from home, long haul trucking is a great option. And the best part is you get paid for all of it.

On the other hand, local trucking usually keeps drivers closer to home and can offer a fairly regular routine, which can be something that drivers with families want. Running in a smaller area, the driver becomes more familiar with the roads, and it is generally less intimidating and stressful, than always traveling in a new area.

Available Jobs

If you are really wanting to get in the long haul driving industry, you are in luck! The job is incredibly essential for so many businesses which is why there are so many positions available. They are always looking for someone to help out the community. If for some reason you work for a trucking company you do not like, you can rest assured knowing that there are tons of other companies who are looking to hire you for the job.

Time Away From Home

An obvious downside to being on the road so often is that you are not going to be home nearly as much. With so much time spent on the road making deliveries and such, you may miss important events with your family/friends/etc. It is a large sacrifice you would have to make, despite all the benefits. When deciding on which trucking option is right for you, be sure to keep this in mind.With short haul trucking, drivers are usually home more often. Regional drivers may be away for a night or two at the most, while local truck drivers are fortunate to be home most every night. Shorter trips are of course the biggest draw for this type of driving job. Ideally, the driver gets more home time.

Trucking Lifestyle

Although there are ways to avoid an unhealthy lifestyle, when on the road for a long period of time, it becomes easier to slip into negative habits. When sitting in your seat for so long, you could develop health issues if not taken care of. Not to mention, eating habits may be rough as well. If you are debating on becoming a long haul driver, keep in mind that you need to take care of yourself just as much as your truck.

As a general rule, truckers who run ‘short’, have a better quality of life than the long haul trucker. They have more home time, sleep in their own bed more often, access to healthier meals, which means you will have a better, healthier lifestyle.

Log Books

Long haul drivers will often spend three or four weeks on the road at a time, and will often crisscross the country delivering a variety of different freight. You’ll often need to hit deadlines that can be days away, so you’ll need to manage your sleep schedule as well as the number of times to take breaks. This will all be managed by an ELD (electronic logging device) that ensures that you’re following the DOT mandated rules.

For the very short distance driver, there is no record keeping (log book) of the trips required, and they are also exempt from the mandatory 30 minute rest break in the revised Hours of Service rules.

Drivers Pushed Harder

If you think that short distance drivers can just relax, think again. The demands of short haul trucking can be just as stressful as it is for drivers with a destination 2200 miles. Because short distance drivers don’t have a long distance to travel, they are pushed to make sure the deliveries make it on time every time. The added pressure can cause unneeded stress.

Trucking companies can sometimes take advantage of the electronic logging systems and tend to push their drivers a little harder. When the driver’s ELD says he’s legal to hit the road, the carrier can expect him to do so, no matter what time of the day or night.

Regardless of what type of distance driver you would like to be, make sure that you have the right license to get you and your career moving on the right path. This can all be made possible by attending New Sound Truck Driving School that is looking to help future drivers like you! Contact us today at 1-253-210-0505 to learn more.