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Managing Stress for Truck Drivers

Driving truck provides so many unique upsides as a career.  Whether you love the views, the freedom of the road, a good paycheck or something else, truck driving offers tons of benefits.  Despite all the perks, every job has its downsides and stresses. 

Our committed vlogger and veteran Midwest Carriers driver, Robin, took a few minutes from her day to discuss some of the stresses she encounters as a truck driver and what she does to try to eliminate stress from her day.  Robin touches on a few important topics such as proper rest, planning, and parking and gives some recommendations to tackle these challenges.  She has two more fun ways to combat stress, but you’ll have to watch the video to hear them! 

Transcript:

Alright, how are y’all doing?  Coming at you from Wisconsin!  I’m actually home at the moment, I thought I’d do a quick video to talk a little bit about stress and maybe a few tips to alleviate the stresses of being a truck driver because truck driving is one of those higher-stress jobs.  You would think driving 11 hours a day on the road, you’re laying back, relaxing, chilling out and just driving, right?

Well, as a professional driver we are always on high alert, sitting up really high, we can see around us, we are always checking our surroundings.   It is really important for us to be on high alert to know what’s going on around us so that 11 hours of driving can be an exhausting thing to do in itself.

The first tip I have to alleviate stress is to just get enough sleep, that helps with needing to be on high alert all day.  I notice if I shorten my sleep by an hour or two, I’m a lot shorter-fused, I get frustrated over little things a lot easier, so sleep is super important and helps with everything, especially stress.

One of the biggest stresses of this job for me personally isn’t weather or accidents, it’s parking.  It’s finding a place to park this truck every night.  If you get to a truck stop after 5pm, a lot of times they’re full.  If your clock is winding down and you need a place to park and there’s no spots—super stressful!  If there are one or two spots, they’re the hardest ones to back into.  For me, the best thing to do to alleviate some of that stress is to just plan.  Allow enough padding in my day to allow for Plan A, B, C or D to the best of my ability.  Sometimes if I have to park at a specific truck stop because it’s close to the shipper or receiver, I’ll fork out $12 or $15 to reserve a spot—that just takes that pressure off.  Mostly just planning, that also helps with really bad weather, which is going to be coming up really soon too.

Last but not least, traffic!  If you end up stuck in traffic, it can be so frustrating because you’re on a schedule and you’re watching the clock tick down and you’re stopped on the road because there’s an accident or whatever and sometimes there is just nothing you can do.  For me, in those situations, as frustrating as they can be, the best thing you can do is just pick a lane, stay there, and follow the traffic.  You’re not going to anywhere any faster than anybody else, you just try to relax. Find a distraction.  Listen to a podcast, find some music, call a friend, just do something to distract yourself from the frustrations around you.  Just stay in your lane and try to relax.  Then, figure it out once you’re out of that traffic what your new plan is going to be. 

If worst comes to worst, when you’re in traffic, I find that cookies are really fun.  And also, bubbles.  I mean, come on.  Roll down your window and blow some bubbles.  It will make you smile, and I guarantee you that everybody else around you that is stuck in traffic is going to smile too.  It’s always good to spread the joy.  Stay safe out there everybody, stay stress-free, get good sleep and blow some bubbles.  See you all down the road.