Truck Driver’s Stress Relief
Life on the road is not without its stresses. For most truck drivers, there will inevitably be times they feel overwhelmed and under pressure. Here are a few types of truck driving stress you may encounter and some helpful ideas regarding stress relief for truck drivers.
- What Stresses Will a Truck Driver Face?
- How to Improve Truck Driver Stress Level
What Stresses Will a Truck Driver Face?
Truck driver stress can come in many forms, and what causes truck drivers stress is usually a combination of factors. What stresses a truck driver will face may vary depending on the length of days and routes, ability (or inability) to plan routes and nutrition, and whether you can maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What Are the Physical and Mental Stresses that a Truck Driver Faces?
Physical stress from driving a truck can include:
- Tiredness and fatigue from long hours and lack of sleep — Even though there are rules regarding maximum driving times and a minimum number of breaks, truck drivers spend a lot more time driving than the average person. Moreover, trying to take “coffee breaks” can be more difficult logistically since it would require you to navigate traffic and pull over somewhere safe.
- Eye strain from concentrating on the road — Safe driving requires focusing on the road and constantly assessing hazards. Truck drivers can’t simply rest their eyes while driving.
- Aches, cramps, and pains from the prolonged sitting position — Even though there are products meant to make the cabin more comfortable, truck drivers are stuck in the same position for hours at a time.
- Weight gain, loss, or malnutrition from a sedentary lifestyle and lack of healthy eating options — Given the long schedules and lack of healthy food offerings at truck stops, many truck drivers end up eating too many fatty, fried, and junk foods. There are also few exercise facilities outside of cities and populated areas.
Emotional/mental stress can come in the form of:
- Loneliness and social isolation — Truck drivers have few social in-person interactions outside of gassing up, getting food, and the actual delivery.
- Family turmoil — Truck drivers and family stress often go hand in hand, simply because of all the time spent away from home and being unable to help with raising the children and other family obligations.
- Feeling harried and irritated — Every job has its annoyances and pain points. But, dealing with various dispatch personnel, clients, fellow drivers — as well as different paperwork and documentation requirements, time management, and traffic problems — can seem more unbearable in conjunction with the other circumstances.
- Being nervous driving large trucks — When considering what are the physical and mental stresses that a truck driver faces on the job, this may seem odd. But truck driving can make one nervous, especially when someone is first starting out or has been unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident.
Any combination of these sorts of stress factors can understandably make for a stressed truck driver. Furthermore, one type of stress could eventually lead to additional stress. For example, if a truck driver is feeling the effects of physical stress, they may worry about whether they are able to perform properly — which could create mental stress.
How to Improve Truck Driver Stress Level
Properly dealing with truck driver stress largely comes down to smart pre-planning.
Plan Your Route
GPS has done wonders for improving the drive — doing away with poring through paper maps, recommending the most efficient routes, and alerting drivers to changing road and traffic conditions, along with suggesting alternate routes so you can avoid the stress of accident areas and bottlenecks. What GPS and map apps can also do is allow you to plot out good times and places to pull over and take a break. This way, you can make sure you regularly get in a stretch or short walk to reduce the likelihood of cramping.
Plan Your Meals
Bring a cooler full of foods that are tasty and nutritious so that you can maintain healthful eating habits. You can also plan your breaks around grocery stores with big parking lots so that you aren’t just buying junk food. Prior to long road trips, make extra when you are cooking. This way, you can pack leftovers instead of relying solely on diners and truck stops. Make sure you eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, protein, and less processed foods, salt, sugar, and fat. Set alarms for water breaks so you stay hydrated.
Stay in Touch
Schedule regular video chats with your family. Even though you are not physically there with your children, you can always read them their bedtime stories and say “goodnight.” Chat with your spouse. Check up on your parents. Look up an old friend you haven’t talked to in years. The wonderful thing about the current state of digital technology is that your loved ones are literally a screen tap away.
Listen to New Things — Nostalgic Things, Too
The radio — whether it’s a music channel or CB — can get old. Find new podcasts and audiobooks for the drive. Before you head out, make the ultimate compilation of your favorite jams that will brighten your mood.
Get Plenty of Rest
Whether you are doing a road trip or have a few days off, make sure you get good-quality sleep. Shut down your devices at least an hour before bedtime. Don’t eat anything big or drink alcohol right before going to bed.
Learn and Practice Coping Techniques
Some people meditate and do breathing exercises. Some people repeat mantras. Some need physical activity to decompress. Try out different methods of stress relief, find the ones that work best for you, and place sticky note reminders where you can see them.
Don’t Ask Too Much of Yourself
Maybe people get overwhelmed because the business is not just driving. There’s paperwork, load planning, and compliance to think about. That’s why Logity Dispatch is here — we can take care of one, more, or all of these things so you don’t have to. Contact us and find out how we can help!