Living On The Road: Tips For Truckers

View of Truck Driver of the Open Road

Living on the road just goes with the territory if you’re a truck driver.

Not all truckers are affected by the transient life style,  just the portion of drivers who travel outside of the range of their home base…..the long haul driver (otr trucker).

A Unique Set of Challenges

Life on the road for long distance truck drivers certainly presents it’s own unique set of challenges.

The best way to sum up the challenges a trucker faces when ‘living on the road’, is the challenge of maintaining ‘balance’ in their life. 

There’s so many things a professional driver tries to fit into his life, both personal and for business. There’s family time, exercise, leisure activity, and of course the long hours it takes to complete the job as required.

A trucker’s life on the road can be one big ‘balancing’ act.

It is when there is no concern for balance, that the issues begin, for an ‘over the road trucker’.

Health can suffer if diet, exercise and proper rest is ignored. Family life and relationships will deteriorate rapidly, if insufficient face time is available.  Even the driver’s job can be in jeopardy, if not enough attention is paid to keeping an eye on finances and budgeting.

Many truckers find this the greatest challenge of life on the road.  Due to the stresses and time demands of the job, getting and maintaining balance in one’s life, can seem overwhelming at times.

Drivers often, let one or two aspects of their lives take over their schedule, with these things taking up the majority of their time.  For example, a driver spends a lot of hours working on their rig, and the rest at work, living on the road…. not exactly a healthy scenario for a happy family.

Keeping a Regular Schedule

A truck driving job can demand 18 to 20 hour a day, IF you let it.

One big perk of the electronic logbook system, is it really does promote ‘quality of life’, while living on the road.

If utilized properly by the carrier, the driver can lead a fairly relaxed schedule on the road. An 11 hour work day is still a longer day, than most people work. Shippers and sometimes carriers will push for the 18 -20 hour day.

Try to parallel your routine as close to a ‘normal’ or your ‘home’ schedule as possible. Maintain a regular meal schedule, exercise, some leisure walking, sleep etc. whenever possible.

Take a good break around mid-day, too, to stretch and get out of the truck.

Your eating, exercise and sleep habits/routine, can ultimately make or break your success as a trucker. You may get away with ignoring these things, but not for long.  Your health will definitely suffer…it will catch up to you eventually.

During your 10 hours off duty time, 7 to 8 hours should be allotted to sleep, and 2-3 hrs dedicated to leisure, exercise and meals. Use your down time wisely to do things that will benefit YOU.

Trip Planning

It’s a good idea to do some road trip planning, before each trip.

Before even accepting a load from your dispatch, take a good look at the trip distance, and the expected delivery schedule.

Do some calculations re: driving time, fuel and meal stops, sleep time and add in unexpected delays, to be sure you have sufficient time to make the delivery as expected.

If the schedule looks reasonable, accept the load. If not, address any delivery schedule issues at this time. You must be able to log the trip legally.

When you are satisfied with the delivery schedule, be sure to plan for meal and sleep spots. Check the weather for the route. Trip planning is vitally important, when living on the road.  The trip will go more smoothly, and in turn, the driver’s stress level will be lower.

Long Haul Trucking

Over the road trucking does has an advantage over short haul driving jobs.

Ideally, the loading hrs are minimal, and income is maximized, as truckers for otr trucking jobs, are normally paid by the mile.

Some truckers truly love living on the road, and love the long trips.  They enjoy the driving as they find it relaxing, love the scenery and truly crave the life style of living on the road.   Many love the freedom and excitement from the everyday challenges.

But, it’s important for all truckers, especially long haul truckers, to find a ‘balance’ in their routine.

Truck Driver Standing Beside Blue Peterbilt

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