Inside the Life of a Trucker on the Road

Act 5: All the loneliness, boredom, and safety hazards of being a trucker revealed.
3:00 | 11/22/13

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Transcript for Inside the Life of a Trucker on the Road
Reporter: They are imposing and nameless. Road warriors barreling down the highway. 18 wheels of thundering mastodon in our rearview mirror. I think the general public might look at us and think that we are kind of dirty, uneducated. Reporter: But surprise. In today's economy, you're just as likely to find guys like loren west behind the wheel of a big rig. That's going to be burned off in a day and a half. Reporter: A 46-year-old college graduate, he let us ride along in his flatbed, vividly labeled a "skateboard" in trucker slang, and spilled secrets from life on the road. This trip is going to be from cloquet, minnesota, to pearland, texas. 23 hours. 1,400 miles. Should be able to do it in less than 2 1/2 days. Reporter: But first - his check under the hood. Securing his 43,000 pounds of ceiling tile. And inspecting all of his 18 tires. The danger, shredded tire debris, known as "alligators," can send a car swerving, and unsecured cargo can become a viscious projectile, like this wooden plank. But trucking is one of the deadliest jobs because we're just as big a danger to them as they are to us. Aggressive, hyperactive cars. Truckers call them "bunny hoppers." That was a close one. Two vehicles in a row took a chance and cut in front of a big truck. Get away from my truck. Get away from my truck. Reporter: And take a look at what can happen when one vehicle does cut in front of the other. Don't move or I'm going to choke you out. Reporter: The rage can spill out of the cab and onto the road. The burly car driver got in the most slugs, but the truck driver was taken away in cuffs for allegedly throwing a bottle at the car. Come on, lady. Just cut me off. Reporter: Unexpected hazards are a part of the job. If there's a sharp turn in the road or something like that, yeah, you're getting cut off. Sorry. Reporter: Brian morris is a 30-year veteran of the road. Joking aside, he confesses the fear of accidents looms large in a trucker's mind. So what have these guys learned? Here now, the truck driver's top tips to avoid becoming roadkill. First of all, not everyone can hold a line like these two stunt drivers in a new volvo truck commercial, with jean claude van damme's manhood at their mercy. Many truckers on the road are newcomers. Beware of the "rookie rock." Because they'll be going down the road, and they'll be wiggling. Reporter: Don't forget bad weather can exaggerate the slightest of mistakes. And rain can quickly blind a driver. It's actually more dangerous to drive in the rain than it is the snow and the ice because of the mist that comes off the tractor trailer. Reporter: And always maintain eye contact. Even if it's a reflective gaze. When you're passing a truck and you look at that mirror, if you can't see that driver, that means he can't see you. If the driver is not actually looking for you, he's going to push you off the road. Reporter: Yes, there's no highway terror quite like a truck wreck, whether it's jacknifing, smashing into an overpass or deadly pileups. In fact, truck fatalities have increased for three consecutive years. That's why most drivers have a big brother-type computer on board monitoring their every move. You have 11 hours and 0 minutes of remaining drive time. There's no room for cheating. Reporter: But truckers can be innovative. Just two weeks ago, investigators released video of this trucker allegedly using his wallet to block the company's dash cam. He seems to be cruising facebook on his phone. It does not end well. The distracted driver plows into parked police and fire vehicles. So how does a trucker safely avoid boredom for 11 hours behind the wheel? The best source of entertainment may be right out the window. Truckers confess it's the great view they have of you. I have seen everything from intercourse to completely naked drivers getting dressed. Cb is the worst thing. They'll be saying. "Hey, there's a really good looking girl, and we got a low cut top. I'm sorry, honey. I didn't -- I don't look. Reporter: When the driving day is done, truckers often pull into a full-service truck stop for the night. The ritz it is not. And the cuisine? Perfect. Smell that? Took me three minutes to cook. Three minutes to eat. Reporter: No home cooking, but plenty of homesickness. Call home. Reporter: Loren only spends a handful of nights a month at home. Did you get your homework done? Tell peetey and jack I love them. All right, bye. Reporter: Loren spends his downtime alone, while some bring their own four-legged friends. But for others, when the loneliness hurts too bad, there are options for paid companionship truckers label "lot lizards." Ladies of the night. You've been away from your wife for two or three months on the road. We're here to provide whatever these truck drivers need. Oh, yeah. I have been propositioned a lot beep-beep. First of all, I would never do that to my wife. Second of all, I don't want something that I can't get rid of either. Reporter: Loren wakes up with a clean conscience the next morning. Get up, run a baby wipe over my face. Reporter: The luxury of a hot shower can cost ten bucks, so most truckers just skip it. Ready to go. The longest I have been was four days without a shower. Reporter: No, there's not much glamor to trucking. And they are only paid when the tires are moving, so with all that down time away from home factored in, their hourly wages add up to as little as five bucks -- for a critical job. Loren finally makes it safely to texas and unloads his cargo. This is the hardest part. Reporter: With his load finished, loren is looking forward to the long ride home and spending nights with family. Once I'm done, get cleaned up, get something to eat, head on down the road, it's worth it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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