Being a trucker isn’t easy. While some in the public think trucking is a no-brainer, just mindlessly sitting behind the wheel of a big tractor-trailer for hours on end – it’s actually a difficult and demanding job. That’s one reason why turnover is so high.
Truckers face unique challenges that other workers don’t. There are stresses that truckers face that other workers can avoid. Dealing with life on the highway means learning how to manage these stresses and approach work with drive, determination, and positivity.
How Life on the Road Is Challenging
Long-haul truckers face long hours on the road day in and day out. Driving for all of those hundreds and thousands of miles can be stressful for a lot of reasons: it can be boring; that’s a long time to keep up safety standards and stay vigilant on the roads; plus, it can be lonely.
The last factor – loneliness – is a stress that most workers never face because most workers work with at least one other person in close proximity at any given time. Truckers usually don’t. Life on the road can get lonely, and loneliness is a stressor just like anything else.
Truckers also have to deal with frustration: frustration from dispatchers, other drivers, law enforcement, and customers. These stresses add up, and can put any trucker into a negative mindset.
Finally, when things go wrong, they go really wrong. Even the safest truck drivers have to deal with safety hazards and the prospect of getting into a wreck due to weather, the insanity of other drivers, or equipment failure. When a blowout happens on a car, it is far less dangerous than when a major equipment failure happens to a tractor-trailer.
Dealing with the Challenges of Being a Trucker
This doesn’t mean being a trucker is miserable. Just like any other job, it can be tough, but it can also be rewarding. It really depends on what you do to make the job as positive as you can.
It starts by doing what you can to stay connected to your loved ones when you’re both at home and on the road. A strong support system and constant communication will go a long way to help deal with loneliness and distance. The same strategy is used by deployed service members every day.
Truckers can also make the overall experience better if they take care of themselves. It’s hard to eat healthy on the road, but honestly, most truckers could do a better job of that if they wanted to. The benefits of eating right, exercising when possible, and getting as much rest as you can are enormous. Those three suggestions can, by themselves, eliminate 90% of the stress you’ll face on the road.
Truckers who use driving as a way to improve themselves also have more job satisfaction. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks that entertain, educate, and motivate you. When you have down time, instead of watching TV, do something more beneficial and engaging. Talk to another person. Read a newspaper or a book. Jump online and play a video game with your kids if you can. Do coursework if you’re going back to school.
Above all, know that your job is important. Workers experience less stress when they view themselves as doing something essential. Without truckers, America wouldn’t function. Truckers make our nation move. What you’re doing is important, even if it may not feel that way at 3 am in the middle of nowhere.
Trucking can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. Find the positives and use these tips to overcome the negative.
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