A trucking career can be a rewarding, profitable, and fulfilling career. But, just like any other industry, truckers may also experience burnout. Trucking may seem exciting at first, but when you get into this job, you realize that it is fast-paced, stressful, demanding, and isolating. After being in the job for years, you become accustomed to the lifestyle, and soon you start to notice the job is taking a toll on your mental and physical health.
In fact, truck drivers are more prone to burnout than people working in other sectors because the trucking industry requires drivers to tailor their lifestyle completely around the job. And a study published by the U.S National Library of Medicine found that due to long, and poor working conditions long-haul truckers are at a greater risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
What is Trucker Burnout?
Truck driver burnout refers to a condition in which a truck driver becomes exhausted from his job. Not only can this exhaustion be a danger to the driver’s life but also to the lives of other people on the road. Trucking is not a job, it’s a lifestyle, and this routine can consume a trucker completely.
Driving a truck is a high paying job, which means the more hours you are on the road, the more money you will make. It might make you fall into a vicious cycle and this could lead you to driver burnout.
Whether or not you feel it, if you’re into this field for years the chances are that you are suffering from burnout in some form. The symptoms of trucking burnout vary from person to person but there are some symptoms you need to watch out for. Signs of burnout can be physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms including:
- Lower immunity
- Muscle pain and headaches
- Loss of motivation
- Change in appetite
- Change in sleep pattern
These are some signs of burnout, and they can lead to depression if you do not take the time to address it.
How Do You Avoid Burnout?
If you have any of these symptoms, do not ignore it. You need to take action to resolve the symptoms right away. Here are some tips to follow to handle or reverse truck driver burnout:
Solution 1: Take Your Vacation Time
As a trucker, it is not easy to take downtime and chill with your family and friends because you know if your truck isn’t rolling on the road, you’re not getting paid. A significant cause of burnout is working continuously without taking your vacation time. If you do not want to suffer from burnout, you need to maintain a balance between your personal and professional life. Take vacations whenever possible and spend time with your loved ones to recharge your mood. It can help you to become a safer, healthier, and happier trucker.
Solution 2: Maintain a Regular Schedule
Long-haul driving, especially without having a schedule, can lead you to feel tired, drained, trapped, and helpless. If possible, make a regular schedule and follow it. Doing so can help you stay away from burnout. When you follow a regular schedule, you’ll have enough time to perform all your tasks on time, without compromising your safety and comfort. For example, your sleeping pattern will become more consistent, and it will help you avoid the risk of falling asleep while out on the road.
Solution 3: Take Breaks on the Road
You may get some extra bucks from your boss for reaching your delivery destination early but, do you really want the extra money if it puts your health at risk? Your safety is in your hands and driving continuously without taking any break increases the possibility of an accident that will hurt yourself or others on the road. So, it is important to take breaks even when you feel a little fatigued. It will help you regain your energy and boost your morale.
Solution 4: Embrace Technology
Whether you like them or not, you can’t deny the fact that electronic logging devices, such as E-logs and ELDs can help you from overworking. These devices not only force you to take more breaks to get rest but also force you to leave the road after 70 hours of continuous work. These electronic logs are specially designed for truckers so that they can take their breaks in peace.
The Key Takeaway
Truck driver burnout is a sad truth for almost all truck drivers. Being a truck driver, if you haven't been caught up by driver burnout, good for you. But, it doesn’t mean you are not at risk. Fortunately, you can avoid this situation by following the tips mentioned above. Not only can these tips help you stay fit physically and mentally, but can also help you maintain a balance between your personal and professional life. Bring these tips to practice and you will start loving your job again.