June 13, 2021

Long-Haul Trucking, A Changing Culture
Long-Haul Trucking, A Changing Culture

“There is a seductive side to trucking-the constant change, the anticipation of the unknown, the freedom of being removed from your context and set out into the world.” Marc F. Wise and Bryan Di Salvatore, Truck Stop.

Far from anything anyone can understand, but other truckers themselves, the culture of long-haul trucking has faced changes and challenges. Those who were truckers 40 years ago experienced a life of long-haul trucking different from today’s, a culture that remains only in their memories. A glimpse into that culture shows in the pictures of Marc F. Wise and writings of Bryan Di Salvatore in the book Truck Stop.

The Culture of Long-Haul Trucking

When thinking of truckers, to some, they are superheroes, traveling near and far to deliver goods of all kinds, elating the hearts of children with the honk of their horns. On the other hand, some may see truckers as cursing, smoking nomads who always sit in the same booth at your favorite diner, sometimes alone, sometimes in the company of others just like them. Truckers are all that and much more, none negatively so.

Long-Haul Trucking and The Thrills

“I was often struck by the wonders of travel and change-the country being slowly revealed to me as I drove across it….” Wise speaks of his long-haul trucking experiences. The yearning for adventure and the thrill of seeing what the country offers is an appealing reason for becoming a truck driver. Along with the beauty of adventure often comes dreadfulness, loneliness, and more. Wise captures all ends of the long-haul trucking spectrum in Truck Stop, with the magic of his pictures alone. Salvatore adds to the charm with his text.

The Future of the Long-Haul Trucking Culture

Shiny metal and plastic are replacing old carpet interiors, and the free feelings of vagabonding across the country are being interrupted by new technological requirements. More and more highways are being built, making it faster for truckers to traverse the country, opening the way for more home and family time. Electronic e-logs are being integrated into trucks to enhance safety and efficiency. All these changes will make it easier for truckers, making it easier for consumers and everyone in between. The culture of trucking is changing, and it’s important to have works such as Truck Stop that preserve that bit of trucking nostalgia.

Source: Wise, Marc F., and Bryan Di Salvatori. Truck Stop. University Press of Mississippi, 1995.