The average commercial driver spends nearly 12 hours on the road every day. After endless miles on the highway, and countless gas stations, rest areas and convenience stores, all those hours and miles start to blend together. Boredom just doesn't impact your job satisfaction, but it also affects your job safety. Whether you're new to trucking or a seasoned veteran, these 7 trucking tips and tricks can help you to pass the time, banish boredom and improve your road safety.
What are some Truck Driver Strategies?
1. Rethink Your Music and Try Podcasts Instead
An estimated 85 percent of commercial drivers say that they listen to music while working, and for right reasons. According to John Hopkins University, listening to music doesn't just make you more alert as a driver, but it also makes you more creative, reduces boredom, improves your memory and energizes you.
But music isn't your only option.
If you want to feel inspired, build your career, and uncover new insights and advice, tune in to a podcast or audiobook for truck drivers. Think of it as an audible life class, turning those hours of driving into valuable lessons on relationships, success, mindset and more.
2. Take the Road Less Travelled
Just because the interstate is what you're used to driving doesn't mean it's the best route for you. When you're choosing your route, remember that the quickest, fastest road isn't necessarily the best.
Even if you have a delivery deadline, try and find routes and roads that allow you to explore the area a bit. From scenic vistas to eye-opening landmarks, all of those sights and sounds can help to add a spark to your drive, while you avoid boredom and potentially road construction, keeping you alert and energized.
On a similar note, switching up your habits can also expose you to new experiences and scenes that keep your drive engaging. For instance, visit a coffee shop you don't normally stop at, or grab dinner at a different truck stop or restaurant. Anything to get you out of your rut and break up your subconscious routine can help to make your daily drive more entertaining.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet and Pack Fun Snacks
Unfortunately, many commercial drivers and truckers struggle with eating a healthy diet. It's not likely you'll always find a salad bar or nutritious snacks at your average truck stop.
But the food you eat can not only entertain you through a variety of textures and flavors, but the food you eat is directly correlated to your energy levels, alertness and attentiveness as a driver.
While every driver is different, a few nutritional tips can get you started:
- Begin each day with a healthy, well-balanced breakfast to lay a nutritional foundation for your day
- Be cautious of your over-reliance on caffeine and other stimulants
- Stay hydrated, which affects your energy levels and all other marks of health
- Avoid overly processed foods that are common at truck stops, such as candy bars, high-sodium chips and snacks, and foods with a lot of refined, processed ingredients
You may also want to stock your truck with healthy snacks that provide entertainment and something to do while on a long-haul drive:
- Nuts and seeds
- Granola bars
- Pre-cut veggies, such as carrot sticks and sliced bell peppers
- Healthy dips, such as hummus
4. Bring a Stimulating Book
Tap into the wisdom of books (or audiobooks) the next time you're pulled over for a nap, or catching some shut-eye at a hotel or AirBnB.
Having a book gives you something to look forward to when on a long-haul drive, and also provides entertainment and food for thought as you drive and ruminate on what you just read.
5. Stretch Your Legs
Whenever you get a chance, and whenever your driving schedule allows, pull over and stretch your legs. Regular exercise and physical activity is a proven energy-booster and boredom-banisher.
And while truckers may struggle with staying active on a long drive, there are many exercise options for drivers:
- Pack dumbbells, exercise bands and other portable equipment in your carb for use at rest stops
- Go for a walk whenever you have the opportunity to do so, even if it means simply parking at the end of the lot and walking up to the store or facility you're visiting
- Using bodyweight exercises, such as burpees or squats, when delivering your load
Even something as simple as bodyweight exercises in your truck cab when you are paused at a red light can help to keep you mentally and physically strong
6. Use Mental Games
Keep your mind alert, and boredom at bay, with mental games that anchor you in the present moment and help you to stay engaged on your drive.
For example, you might:
- Look for specific makes and models of other cars while you drive
- Watch for other commercial drivers, and maybe even chat with them on your CB radio
- Keep an eye out for landmarks or symbols
7. Try a New Job
Right now, there's a massive shortage of commercial drivers and truckers in North America. If you've been driving for the same company for a while, and keeping to the same routes, switching things up by signing up with a new employer or taking on a new route can make your daily tasks more entertaining and less boring.
CDLjobs.com has hundreds of job opportunities posted right now. From coast to coast, trucking companies are looking for drivers like you to get their cargo to its destination. Switch up your daily routine, add some excitement to your job, and search hundreds of trucking employers and trucking jobs.
Whatever your route, and no matter your schedule, staying entertained and engaged as a commercial truck driver helps to improve your safety and your job performance.