As an over the road truck driver you set goals every single day. Usually, those goals are mile markers or destinations for your freight. Yet this time of the year long-haul truckers also consider New Year’s resolutions, just like the rest of Americans. The big difference is that OTR truck drivers live a much different lifestyle than folks with 9 to 5 jobs. That means drivers need to have goals oriented around being in a rig 24/7. To help truckers like you gear up in the right direction for 2018, we’ve come up with a list of the best resolutions for long-haul truckers.
Learn How to Use an ELD
Yes, we know, you love them or you hate them…and most truckers despise them. Electronic logging devices leave you sitting on the roadside for long stretches, and you’ve likely lost a load already this year because of ELDs. The fact remains, though, these devices are mandatory. So the first resolution of your New Year needs to be to learn how to use them to your advantage.
Step 1: Understand you can no longer fudge your logbooks. Accepting that can be the most difficult aspect of this journey.
Step 2: Know that you aren’t alone. There are thousands of long-haul truckers around the nation who are taking longer to deliver loads and getting yelled at by shippers and dispatchers for missing their next pickups.
Step 3: Approach routing and deliveries using the actual hours of service rules, so that you can avoid Step 2 as much as possible.
It is going to take some time before drivers, shippers, and customers are caught up to the rigors of ELDs. But it will happen, just trust the process.
This one is a doozy for truckers. You don’t have the time, you say, or the places to exercise. Well, this brings us back to the ELD issue. Now that you are mandated to sit for breaks and your full off-duty hours, you will have more of an opportunity to get your body moving. Here are some ways to fit exercise into your trucking routine:
- When you stop for fuel, walk around your truck while the rig fuels up. You can pretend to look at your tractor-trailer for inspection purposes if that makes you feel less self-conscious.
- Download a fitness app. There are thousands and most are free. Look for those that include strength exercises for people in small spaces, such as apartments or trucks in particular. Also, note the exercise apps that require minimal exercise equipment. A kettlebell, maybe a set of hand weights, and perhaps a resistance band—that’s all you want to haul in your sleeper.
For most truckers, this is a touchy subject. After all, if you don’t eat healthy at home who’s to say you would want to eat healthy over the road? If you need some nudging to lay off the snack cakes and soda pop, consider that you must be in good health to be a trucker. If you have to take medication for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea related to obesity…well, then, you might not have a CDL anymore. It is time to take your health seriously. Both your trucking job and your life depend on it.
To stay healthy as a trucker, prepare healthier meals at your home and carry it with you over the road. Simply by pre-planning and portioning your meals you avoid overeating processed meals high in sugar, salt, and fat at truck stops.
Do you have any New Year's resolutions that would help other truckers? We'd love to hear them!