Life on the road as a truck driver is one of the things that makes our industry so unique. Many drivers will tell you that the solitude and freedom of the open road is one of the best things about this career. However, it’s also certainly not without its challenges. At Carter, we’ve had the privilege of walking alongside many drivers and supporting them throughout their careers. This is why we’ve put together a list of eight of our most helpful tips for not only surviving but thriving life on the road as a trucker.
- Always have a plan
We always recommend having some kind of plan before every trip. Know where you’re going, what route you’ll take, where you’ll sleep and when and where you’ll eat or take breaks. Check the weather along your route and look at possible delays caused by construction or road closures. Trip planning is not only important to manage expectations regarding on-time delivery, but it will also make your trip go more smoothly and won’t cause you as much stress.
- Set goals
Think about what goals you want for this job and your career – consider both short-term and long-term goal setting. For some drivers, this may be more personal goals such as health and fitness benchmarks or achieving better work/life balance. For others, maybe it’s monetary or milestone-centered goals. For instance, at Carter, we’re proud to provide our drivers with quarterly safety and performance bonuses as well as a generous referral bonus. If you’re not already receiving any of those, consider working toward earning them in the future. As you achieve your goals, you’ll find more reasons to celebrate your hard work and new ways to challenge yourself in your career.
- Prioritize sleep
Sleep is not just a major issue for your own health, it’s for your safety and the safety of others, too. If you get behind the wheel drowsy, you’re putting everyone at risk. Not to mention that you’re more likely to suffer from health issues, depression, and anxiety if you’re constantly running on not enough sleep. Make sure you have a good mattress and quality pillow. Avoid drinking caffeine too late in the day and shut off screens at least an hour before you go to sleep. Try reading a book or doing some kind of relaxing or meditative activity instead. If the noise from truck stops makes it difficult for you to fall asleep, download a white noise or sleep app, or get a pair of noise-reducing headphones to use when you go to bed.
- Remember to accommodate your personal needs on the road
Addressing your personal needs, such as showering, eating meals, and doing laundry usually come second nature to most people. When you’re on the road as a truck driver, you need to learn how to do all those things in your new living environment. Make sure you’re leaving enough time to do laundry. Sign up for rewards at major truck stops to earn credits for free showers. Maximize your time by doing multiple things during the same stop. For instance, while you’re doing a load of laundry, you can also fit in some physical fitness activity, take a shower, and grab lunch before it’s done.
- Focus on eating well and moving your body
Truck driving is a very sedentary job, so it’s important that we focus on staying active when we can and making good food choices. Prepare food at home to bring on the road so you’re less likely to indulge in fast food. Pack healthy snacks and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Finding the time for a workout may seem daunting to some, but even getting your heart rate up for a few minutes can be beneficial for your body. Park further away from the door at truck stops so you have to walk further, do a few laps around your truck and a few jumping jacks whenever you take a break, or head to YouTube to find a helpful in-cab workout to do.
- Stay connected with loved ones
It’s easy to get lost in the monotony of your day-to-day tasks or in the isolation of the job, which is why it’s so important to make sure you’re staying in touch with friends and family. Technology allows us to connect frequently throughout the day even when we’re separated by hundreds of miles. Send messages via text or email, connect on social media, or use video chat to see each other face to face. You can even go old-school and write letters or postcards and mail them out from wherever you are in the country.
- Remind yourself that the job gets easier
If you’re new to trucking, navigating new skills as a driver and learning how to live in a new environment can feel overwhelming. Just remember that a lot of wisdom comes with experience. The longer you do this job, you’ll be able to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t and sharing your advice and knowledge with a new generation of drivers.
- Remember your why
We know that as much as you may love your job, there will be times when you might feel exhausted, lonely, or defeated. Trucking is hard work and there’s not a lot of people who understand exactly what life is like on the road. When you’re going through a difficult time, remember your “why” – the reason why you chose this profession in the first place. Use that to motivate you through the hard times.
Are you a new driver or simply looking for a change? We’d love to share why Carter is a great place to grow your trucking career. Give us a call today!