Over The Road Drivers require a certain set of skills to be successful. Beyond the obvious ones, like excellent time management, there are some tips shared by some wise drivers who know how to handle being on the road for long periods of time, and sometimes making deliveries sometimes beyond a regular 9-5. Here's to you, OTR Driver, this industry couldn't survive without you.
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, 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.
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 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.
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.