The commercial trucking industry can be challenging.
While there are certain benefits in being a trucker, there are downsides as well, just like any job. One of the more common challenges faced by truckers is the loneliness they feel, being on the road for an extended period of time. The days can quickly turn into weeks and the weeks into months. If you’re beginning to feel the effects of being isolated, disconnected, or lonely, the following coping strategies might help.
1.) MAKE PLANS TO SPEND TIME AT HOME
Depending on the type of trucking you do, you will have some time to spend at home. It would be great if you could make plans in advance such as have a dinner-and-movie date with your spouse, take the kids to the zoo, or catch up with friends over coffee. Use your time on the road to visualize and plan what you will do when you get home so that the time will seem to pass more quickly and you can mentally create a positive impact when you do get together with your family and friends.
2.) PARTICIPATE IN THE TRUCKER COMMUNITY
Another strategy is to get involved in forums, Facebook groups, and chat rooms where truckers hang out. This will help you to get to know them and become part of the national trucking community. It’s possible that you will cross paths sometime in the near future (for meals or a conversation) so it would be a great idea to try to get to know them now.
3.) STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR LOVED ONES
Before you hit the road, make sure you bring a smartphone, preferably with social media capability, so that you can keep in touch with your spouse, kids, or friends while on the road. Some of the apps you may want to install are FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, and Skype. Aside from SMS (text messaging), you can also do video calls or chats, which can make you feel closer to your loved ones. In this way, the loneliness you feel won’t be so overwhelming.
4.) CONSIDER BRINGING A PET ALONG WITH YOU
Some people wanted to be truckers because it affords them the lifestyle of being able to work alone by themselves. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be totally alone. If your company allows it, you can take along a pet with you while on the road.
Of course, you’ll have to keep your pet fed, hydrated, and sufficiently occupied or entertained while on the road. If the temperature gets too high or too low, you may need to protect it from the elements. This may require you to take more frequent stops for bathroom breaks or walks. If this is not too much of a burden for you, and if your company allows, this is one idea.
5.) TAKE YOUR SPOUSE ALONG WITH YOU
It’s a sad reality that lonely truckers also have lonely spouses. Even if you are earning good money as a trucker, the time away from each other can try any marriage to its limits. Since the truck driver shortage is becoming more acute, some companies now allow spouses to drive together. With two drivers instead of one, both of you can log more miles while taking shorter breaks and keeping each other company. It’s also advantageous as the spouse can help keep an eye on the road while the other is driving — leading to a safer journey overall.
The life of a truck driver can be lonely, that’s for sure. But with some planning and creativity, you can still enjoy your life on the road and get plenty of community and interaction with the people you love.
Do you have other ideas and tips we haven’t covered in this article? Share them with us in the comments below.