Are you an “average” over-the-road truck driver? Every year Atlas Van Lines conducts a detailed survey among their long-haul drivers. They want to learn how drivers feel about everything from food and accommodations to driving details to their life on the road.

Atlas drivers know what they’re talking about. Respondents to the most recent survey come from 37 states and 7 Canadian provinces. Nearly half have been on the job at least 10 years – 30% 16 years or more. And they’re on the job a lot. A quarter of the drivers say they spend 40+ weeks per year on the road.

You can read more about the survey here, but we thought it would be fun to recap some of the key results.

What’s their favorite ride?

More than a third of the drivers specified Freightliner and Western Star as their OEM of choice.

Drivers gotta eat.

With Dunkin Donuts and Subway listed as driver food and beverage faves, it’s probably no surprise that Tums are very popular, too. But don’t get the wrong idea. The survey actually shows the average driver – the average Atlas driver, at any rate – chooses a pretty healthy diet. The top-rated snack is fresh fruit (48%), with mixed nuts and jerky in a tie for second place at 30%.

Drivers gotta sleep.

About 32% of the drivers said they stay in a hotel at least once a week while traveling for work. Only 8% of the drivers said they never do. The vast majority said adequate access and parking is their number one concern, followed closely by price. Their favorites? Super 8, Days Inn, Best Western, and Motel 6. And when it comes to truck stops, favorites are Flying J, Pilot, TA (Truckstops of America), and Petro.

Drivers love their job. Mostly.

The best part of being a van operator?

  • 57% say freedom of the highway (as opposed to being stuck in an office)
  • 53% say meeting/working with people from across the country
  • 46% cite the ability to own their own business
  • 15% like being part of the trucking community

On the other hand, life on the road presents unique challenges. The most difficult aspects, say Atlas drivers, are eating right (65%) and getting exercise (35%). Some complained about regulations and paperwork, and almost a quarter said it’s hard to stay in touch with their family back home.

For exercise, 73% said the work itself provides plenty. Of course Atlas drivers also work as furniture movers. Twenty-one percent said, “Who has time for exercise?” Others said they walk, run, and do push-ups and sit-ups.

Drivers are nice guys (and gals).

Of course, we already knew that. But here’s statistical proof. Three-quarters of those responding to the Atlas survey said they have stopped to assist another motorist at least once in their career.

“Given that the majority of our professional truck drivers spend more than 30 weeks out of the year on the road, this survey is a great way to let these seasoned road warriors share their knowledge and preferences with the rest of us,” explains Glen Dunkerson. He’s chairman and CEO of Atlas World Group.

How does the latest Atlas driver survey match up with your experience?