For many people, being a trucker sounds like the ideal job. Once you’re done with training, you’re pretty much on your own. While you still adhere to company rules, policies, and deadlines, you don’t have a boss constantly breathing down your back.
However, as much as a dream job as truck driving is, there are some things you need to know about being a trucker. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, especially when there’s inclement weather or you’re severely missing your family back home.
1. There’s a High Attrition Rate
Did you know that 35 percent of professional truck drivers quit the job within the first 90 days? And the rate goes even higher up to the first year. However, once a trucker has made it through the first year of driving, he/she is more likely to stay for the long haul.
Like any job, there’s a learning curve. However, being a trucker requires adapting to a learning curve and a lifestyle change. You’re constantly away from home, alone, and on the road in new territory.
This unfamiliarity can start to get to people, especially if they’re used to being close with the people around them. Making an effort to engage with your friends and family back home on a daily basis can help make the hours on the road pass as well as keep you company.
Additionally, the human spirit is fantastic at adapting to new things and situations. Give it time, and you’ll feel more comfortable on the road.
2. Being a Trucker Can Be Tough on Relationships
The trucking lifestyle, as we mentioned above, keeps you away from your loved ones quite frequently. Depending on the strength of your relationship and the personality of your spouse, this could create a substantial strain on your relationship.
However, investing in a hands-free phone system and keeping in constant contact with your significant other can help you both keep your sanity while you’re on the road. You can also use video chat while you’re not driving to make sure you’re consistently seeing each other “face to face.”
3. No Two Jobs Are the Same
A great perk about being a trucker is that you’re always experiencing new things and meeting new people. While your routes may be the same, no two jobs will ever be.
You never know what’s going to come up, what detours you’ll have to go through, or what the weather conditions will change. Driving will get tedious after so many hours on the road, but at least you’re not staring at the same four cubicle walls every day.
Additionally, if you’re a social person and need some engaging conversation, you have the opportunity to meet new people every day, even if it’s just for a quick chat.
4. You Need to Make a Focused Effort to Stay Healthy
Being a trucker often comes with facing the stigma about truck drivers. Unfortunately, driving for a living comes with very little exercise or physical activity outside of pressing pedals, shifting gears, and turning the steering wheel. The fact is, 50 percent of truck drivers are obese.
In order to avoid risking your health for your profession, you need to make a concentrated effort to be health conscious while on the road.
First, start with your diet. While drinking soda and energy drinks may seem like the best choice for staying alert, it can have a lot of negative effects on your health. Additionally, you should avoid eating fast food and other heavily processed foods, even though they’re wildly convenient.
Finally, find a way to get some exercise every day while you’re on the road. You could visit gyms, carry some exercise equipment with you, or even go for a walk or run every day.
5. Be Prepared
Being a trucker means you need to be prepared for everything that can happen while you’re on the road. This means tire blow-outs, sliding off the road, and worst-case scenarios such as accidents or tip-overs. Make sure you bring vital tools along with you so you can make necessary repairs on the road.
However, being prepared also means having a map, GPS, and driving log with you at all times. You should also bring several days worth of extra clothes, emergency food, and water.
Finally, take a look at some winter truck driving tips, as driving in the winter is vastly different than any other time of year. For example, if you’re truck breaks down in the middle of nowhere, you’ll need plenty of warm clothes to keep from freezing until help arrives.
6. Be a Selfish Driver
One thing being a trucker teaches you is how to be a selfish driver. This doesn’t make you a bad or inconsiderate driver, but your rig must take priority on the road. Your truck is big, bulky, and hard to maneuver.
While you may feel like you’re being inconsiderate, other drivers need to yield to you. Don’t rush turns or any other maneuvers to get out of peoples’ way. They can wait.
7. Pick Up a Fulfilling Hobby
Finally, being a trucker means you need to find a way to entertain yourself while on the road. While you’re driving, you can talk to people using Bluetooth, listen to music, or listen to books on tape. However, while you’re stopped, you have a few more options.
There are movies, TV shows, and all sorts of other electronic entertainment. However, we also recommend doing something that’s more fulfilling, such as drawing, writing, wood carving, or any other hobby that’s constructive.
The key is keeping yourself from feeling depressed or unproductive.
Being a trucker can be a fantastic and rewarding career for people. However, you must learn how to make the most of your long hours away from home.
Remember that it’s a learning process that takes time to adjust to. You’ll be great! And for more advice and information about work-life, feel free to check out the rest of our articles.