Contrary to belief, truckers aren’t always on-the-go. Though commercial trucks see more time on the road than any other vehicle, your 18 wheels still need quite a bit of rest ― for your health and stability as much as your truck’s. In fact, most truckers learn early-on that they need to rely on at least five places while they drive. New drivers should move fast to procure all of the following places so they can maintain safety and sanity on the open road.
1. An Understanding Home
The nature of truck driving takes truckers far from home, sometimes for weeks at a time. Consequently, many truckers find it incredibly difficult to maintain ties to any single location. Yet, without stability at home, most truckers lose focus during work hours, putting their cargo, jobs, and lives at risk. Thus, it is paramount for truckers to have a settled and secure home life.
Relationships are perhaps the most difficult to sustain during a life on the road. When someone is so frequently away from home, communication often breaks down. No matter where a trucker is, he or she must always stay in contact his or her loved ones. Especially with romantic partners, talking regularly is the only way to sustain feelings from a distance.
Truckers (and their significant others) must be sure to express their emotions clearly, particularly positive ones related to love and appreciation. By preserving relationships while on the road, truckers can return to a warm, comfortable home when their jobs are complete.
2. A Secure Parking Spot
There are more trucks on the highways than ever before, which is both good and bad for truckers. It’s good because lawmakers are noticing the unfair treatment many drivers receive in the line of duty, and laws in most states now mandate periodic rests on long hauls. It’s bad because truck stops are unable or unwilling to construct more parking for the excess truckers and trucks that need a break.
Many inexperienced drivers desperate for a stop will get desperate after failing to find parking at rest stops and choose to pull over onto the shoulder of the highway. Unfortunately, this is a deadly mistake. A far better solution is to chart one’s course ahead of time, finding a number of rest stops that fit a trucker’s route and schedule. Truckers can use online resources as well as mobile apps, like Trucker’s Path, to help find a safe and secure parking spot every time.
3. A Trustworthy Dealer
Trucks break down. It might be after 200,000 miles; it might be over a million miles; eventually, every trucker’s rig will need to be replaced. Unfortunately, unlike used cars (for the most part), used semis are not worthwhile investments, especially when they come from unknown third parties. Smart truckers only buy new, and they only buy from respectable dealers.
Truckers without a go-to dealer should first consider their chosen make and model, and then perform online research to find a high-quality, well-reviewed dealership. Most dealers specialize in only a few manufactures, so truckers who prefer Volvos, for example, will only find their next rig with a reputable Volvo truck dealer. Ideally, a trucker will establish a relationship with a sales person, who will be able to provide services and support for this truck and the next.
4. A Reliable Shop
Any vehicle above a Class 5 is a beast unto its own, and most mechanics are both inexperienced and ill-equipped to work on such machines. Yet, as previously mentioned, trucks break down, and if one breaks down while a trucker is on a job, he or she needs a patch job fast.
While there are a number of online resources to help trucks that need repair, it is usually safer and cheaper to develop a relationship with a particular shop. Working with a regional or national chain of mechanics allows consistency in the quality of work and the price of service no matter when and where a truck needs maintenance.
If possible, truckers should ally with dealerships that provide maintenance and repairs throughout a driver’s range. Also keep in mind that financially-speaking, working with a factoring company for truckers is another way to help front the cost of truck repairs.
5. A Favorite Stop
Like a loving, stable home, a favorite rest stop is a place where truckers can relax and find peace in the midst of their long, lonely travels. The nature of this stop is completely personal; some might prefer the noisy revelry of a highway-side dive bar, while others might seek out scenic views near natural parks. There are plenty of rest stops around the U.S. worthy of becoming a trucker’s favorite. When a trucker has something to look forward to during his or her journey, the tedious hours behind the wheel slip away.