How to Balance Work & Life [As a Trucker]
Truck driving is tough work, and as adventurous and free as the open road is, it can get boring and lonely at times. When your life and living conditions center around your work, it can get even more difficult to keep at it during long hours on the road. Learning how to balance work and life is key for truck drivers who want to be a trucker for life. Find out how to keep a work-life balance while on the road, and what it might be like to have the life of a trucker’s wife if you decide to bring your spouse along for the ride.
No matter what you do for work, maintaining a good work-life balance is important to keep you healthy, avoid burnout, and enjoy the job you do. For truckers, work-life balance has always been a challenge, especially for OTR truckers on the road for days or weeks at a time. Learning how to balance work and life as a truck driver takes practice, but if you plan to be a trucker for life, it’s something you’ll need to put into practice.
If you choose to be a trucker for life, you’ll need some solid tips and strategies for maintaining a work-life balance. The daily life of a trucker is hard, but with these tips you can be well on your way towards a great work-life balance in a career you love.
When you’re on the road, getting the sleep you need can be difficult, but it’s essential for your safety and well-being that you prioritize your sleep time. If that means turning off the lights a little earlier or turning off the TV in the evening, then make it a priority. Make sure you invest in your sleeping area to make it as comfortable as possible.
Truck driving usually requires you to sit for the majority of your day. Unlike a desk job, you can’t just get up and go for a walk any time you need to stretch your legs. Because of this, it’s especially important to stick to a regular exercise schedule and have a plan to stretch out when you’re on your breaks. Whatever exercise you choose, make sure you stick to it and do it on a regular schedule.
Along with getting enough exercise, eating healthy while you’re on the road will help you learn how to keep a work-life balance as a truck driver. Going grocery shopping for your food and preparing healthy meals and snacks in advance will help you stay healthy and save money while you’re on the road. If you have a sleeper cab and kitchen setup, you can use that space to make healthier meals while you’re on the road for long periods of time.
Just because you can earn good money as a trucker doesn’t mean you should grab every load available for the sake of asking for more money. Learning how to keep a work-life balance also means knowing when to say “no” to loads you don’t need. Once you have your bills and finances down, you may not need to pick up that extra load just because you need a little more money in your pocket. A good way to weigh decisions if you will miss something at home is to ask yourself if will matter in a few days, weeks, months, or years.
One of the best ways to learn how to balance work and life if you’re a trucker for life is to remember to take regular breaks. Give yourself time off work to balance the time you’re out on the road. If you struggle to take time off, set up a vacation with your family and set that time aside for them. Taking regular breaks allows you to focus on what’s most important and helps you keep a work-life balance as a trucker.
Staying connected to your family, spouse, or significant other while you’re on the road is very important. Thankfully, there are lots of great options with today’s technology that allows us to feel closer than ever and communicate easily and quickly with our loved ones and friends. Facetiming your family for dinners together or to read bedtime stories can make it feel like you’re there, even when you’re on the road.
Keeping a regular schedule is another way to learn how to keep a work-life balance when you’re on the road for long periods of time. This is also true when you head home during your time off. If you wake up at a certain time when you’re on the road, make sure you keep that schedule when you’re home as well. This will help you stay rested and make the transition from work life to home life easier.
When you have a job that becomes a major part of your life, you need time to decompress and leave work behind. One of the best ways to learn how to keep a work-life balance is to make the most out of your time at home. Spend quality time with those you care about and be present with your loved ones. You may even find it strengthens your relationships to savor the time you have with your family while you’re there.
In some cases, truckers find the best solution to maintaining a great work-life balance to be bringing their family with them on the road. While it’s not ideal for everyone, bringing your family with you makes it easier to spend time together and build experiences you can share with one another. Living the life of a trucker’s wife can be difficult, but your wife (or husband) may enjoy spending more time with you on the road.
Learning how to keep a work-life balance depends on your personal needs and situation, buy following these tips can make it a little easier to manage.
The simple answer here is yes. Truckers can, and often do, bring their family members with them on the road. However, it's not as simple as heading off with your wife (or husband) and kids into the sunset. Whether you can bring someone with you on the road often depends on the company you work for and the type of truck driving you do. This is because USDOT regulations don’t allow passengers in commercial vehicles unless you have written permission from the carrier.
Some companies, like Prime Inc., simply require drivers to obtain a free passenger permit from their fleet manager before bringing family members on the road with them. Other companies may have different rules or requirements for passengers. For example, many companies prefer that your passenger does not have a CDL so they cannot drive your vehicle. Always check with your motor carrier before bringing passengers in a commercial vehicle.
Another thing to keep in mind when bringing passengers on the road is that not all types of truck driving allow for passengers. If you’re hauling hazmat loads, tankers, or other loads that require a CDL endorsement, it’s unlikely you’ll be allowed to have passengers in your vehicle.
If you are allowed to travel with your child and you have a young child such as an infant or toddler, you may need to bring the child’s car seat. As you’ve probably noticed, trucks only tend to have front seats, which aren’t typically recommended or allowed for children because of airbags. The good news is that many trucks don’t have airbags on the passenger side, making it slightly safer for you to secure a car seat on the passenger side of your vehicle.
State laws typically allow you to place a car seat in the passenger seat of you vehicle, provided you have disabled your airbags, have a rear-facing seat for infants, and follow other state laws regarding the setup of your car seat or booster seats. Car seats can be installed in a semi truck in much the same way you would in a regular vehicle. However you install your child’s car seat, you should make sure it’s securely in place.
Trucking companies generally have a rider policy in place for drivers who want to bring along a passenger. Before bringing any passenger in your vehicle, you need to check with your motor carrier (or insurance company if you’re an owner-operator) on their rider policy guidelines. The company will inform you of their policy, which may differ from company to company. Most companies have general restrictions on:
Knowing your company rider policy beforehand makes it easier to plan for how to keep a work-life balance on the road with your family members.
Traveling with your family and keeping good habits are all ways to help you figure out how to keep a work-life balance on the road as a trucker for life. The life of a trucker’s wife can be difficult, so bringing your family along for the ride can be a great way to learn how to balance work and life and make your time on the road an opportunity to build memories with the ones you love.
Whether you’re a man or woman in trucking, you can keep your life balanced by following these tips and considering bringing your family with you to enjoy the trucking lifestyle even more.