Thursday, July 5, 2012

Overcoming the Challenges of Trucking


In the trucking industry, there are many great perks to life on the road. The ability to drive across the country and meet new people from all over the world is great. However, as with any industry, there are also challenges to a truck driving job.

According to the annual King of the Road Survey, the top challenge met by truck drivers is eating right. This is followed closely by coping with hours-of-service regulations and exercising. Each of these challenges provide a different level of difficulty to a truck driver’s life, affecting both their personal and professional lives.

To help truckers overcome or at least lessen these challenges, we have provided some tips concerning each topic. It is our hope that by reading these tips you will learn something that can help you improve your life as a truck driver.

Challenge number one, eating right. Practicing healthy eating habits are hard enough for most people without adding the difficulties of a trucking job onto it. As a truck driver you are constantly on the road with a strict schedule. This means that you do not always have the time to go to the grocery store and purchase healthy foods and even if you do find the time, it is rather difficult to cook in a truck…

One thing you may try is just making weekly or even bi-weekly shopping trips when you can purchase fruits and vegetables and perhaps lunch meats for light lunch sandwiches. To do this, you would need a refrigerated storage unit so your food will not spoil. You can also try some healthy dinners that can be fixed in a microwave.

In the King of the Road Survey the top snack foods were fresh fruit, nuts, M&M’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The first snack, fruit, is a great choice. The second, mixed nuts, is also a good choice if eaten in moderation. Nuts are high in protein and if you eat too many you may find them adding to your weight problems. The last two snacks, M&M’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, are not quite the best choices for a mid-day snack.  If eaten sparingly, like once a week or less, these foods are okay but when eaten daily they can become a real problem.

Eating healthy with a truck driving job is not impossible. It does, however, take both time and dedication. It’s not easy, you need to exercise self-control but once you do start to eat healthy you will quickly find that the pros literally outweigh the cons.

Now for the next challenge, coping with the hours-of-service regulations. It is difficult to plan out your trip to the degree that you have every hour scheduled out, especially when there are so many variances like unplanned traffic congestion. The best way to be sure you are in accordance with your hours-of-service regulations is simply to do your best to plan ahead. To make a better trip plan, take into account the time of day, will you be driving during rush hour? The hours-of-service is meant to help drivers be safer on the road. If you are working against it, you will have a harder time with it.

The last trial that many truck drivers deal with is the challenge of exercising. After a long day of driving, most people are tired and one of the last things you want to do is get up and move about. If you do, however, you will find that you aren’t tired so easily and you will have many, many other benefits as well.

Exercise is a vital part of life. Not only does it keep your weight down, but it also has been proven to increase your lung capacity, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, help you sleep better and even improve your mood. If you are having trouble encouraging yourself to get up and exercise, think of all the things you can gain from it. Then, weigh this against what you will gain from not exercising…

Convincing yourself that you do indeed want to exercise is only half of the battle. Now you have to find a way to do it. Most people would simply go to the gym or exercise in their living room, but as a truck driver you don’t have that luxury. Know though that this does not mean exercise is impossible.

There are some exercises you can do right in your trailer during your break. These include sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, leg rises, or certain yoga moves. If you don’t have the room to do all of this or are simply unable to exercise in your cab, there are other alternatives. Some truck drivers take their bicycles with them on the road, taking it out when they stop and finding a trail or simply riding around the truck stop. This is a great idea to help you lose weight and improve your health. You can also simply run around you truck.

Some truck stops have gyms available for their driver to use. This is a great option, but if there is no gym don’t let yourself use that as an excuse. Like eating healthy, exercising is difficult and takes a level of dedication and self-control but is definitely worth it.

Your truck driving job should enable you to live a better life. Don’t let your career stop you from a healthy and happy life. Combine your truck driving job with these few tips and you will see that overcoming your challenges is not impossible and that it really can help you live life to the fullest.