Ask most any truck driver about the largest source of stress of the job, and invariably the answer will be “time away from home.” And indeed it is an eternal source of consternation for many a truck driver, and is chief among reasons why this isn’t a profession fit for just anyone.
However, if you are reading this, chances are fair that you are already expecting this part of the job, and you fall somewhere between embracing this part of the job and tolerating it for the sake of a paycheck.
But once you are out on the road, buddy, it’s a whole new ballgame.
It’s one thing to be a single person, a young man or woman, ready to make your way out onto the open road, just you and your rig and the load you’re carrying, but once you’re out there and reality sets in that you’re out here alone, your thinking can change really quickly.
Of course, when you’re on the road and working, concentrating on your electronic logs and on paying attention to the road and keeping the truck in the proper lane, you may not be thinking too much of what you are missing at home. It’s the time when you aren’t driving, when you’re hunkered down in a truck stop, waiting in line to take a shower or nestled in your tiny bunk in the back of your truck that reality sets in.
Do you have a special someone at home? Be sure they can handle the pressure too. Many a driver had his career, or marriage, derailed by a significant other who grew weary of the solitude that many young truckers crave. Remember that when you have a family, truck time doesn’t only affect you; it takes hold of everyone in your family.
Going over the road can indeed be tough. If driving a truck takes a special breed of person, going over the road can take a saint. Recognize what it is you’re missing out on, and what you have to deal with when you return, and be ready to make accommodations for those things.
So what are some good coping strategies for life on the road? Well, that’s difficult to say, because only those who have been on the road truly know what it is like to be out there.
Of course, those of us who don’t have the privilege of living that life can only offer suggestions. Even those who do go out on the road may enjoy their own processes and recipes for fun and success, but you have to find what works for you and roll with it. Here are a few suggestions for coping:
- Make the most of home time. Get things done. Spend time with your friends and family, and try to stay away from work as much as possible.
- Call home frequently. Speak with loved ones often, many times for no reason. Make sure you are staying in the loop on what’s going on back at home and at the old haunts.
- Keep yourself busy on the road. Have a hobby or something meaningful to do while you’re on the road. Get plenty of exercise, rest, and good food (that is, NOT junk food).
- Maintain a positive attitude. Understand that loneliness is normal, and is a temporary feeling. You will have home time, and you will have the chance to make the most of it.
- Find a routine that works for you. What keeps you happy when you are on the road and not working? Do you have a certain author’s books that you like to read? Do you stream video? Do you like to knit? Whatever it is, find what works and keep it going.