Whether you’ve been a truck driver for 18 months or 18 years, you’ve probably picked up a few habits along the way. There’s even a good chance you’re stuck in your ways. Not that that’s a bad thing — after all, your routine may keep you from going crazy during those long road trips on empty highways, and help you get more jobs.
But it’s 2020, the beginning of a new decade. Now’s the time to re-evaluate your habits and figure out what’s actually beneficial and what you could be doing better. If you’re starting yet another year on the road in a big rig, here are three habits to pick up — and three habits to drop.
PICK UP: Packing Healthy Snacks
It’s easy to load up on snacks from home and at truck stops to hold you over between meals. What’s not easy is packing healthy snacks. But when you’re eating high sodium, high fat, high sugar snacks, you’re not looking out for yourself long-term. Combined with the generally sedentary lifestyle that truckers have, loading up on junk food can lead to heart disease, obesity, and other serious issues.
Instead, choose some snacks that are nutrient-rich, but low in sodium, processed sugar, and empty calories. This can include:
- Dried fruits
- Fresh fruits like apples, bananas, and cherries
- Vegetables like carrots and cherry tomatoes
- Low-sodium nuts and nut mixes
- Nut butter
- Whole-grain cookies
- Dark chocolate and dark chocolate-covered nuts
If you have a fridge in your cab, you can also load up on less hearty fruits and veggies, like strawberries and celery. You can also get hummus, cheese sticks, and other healthy snacks that are packed with protein.
DROP: Tobacco Use
Trust us, we know. When you’re hauling on a long, empty highway, the urge to pop in some wintergreen chew or light up a cigarette can be overwhelming. Or, you might be a more modern nicotine addict and use vaporizers. No matter how you use nicotine, 2020 is the perfect time to stop. Just about every form of nicotine use has been linked to some kind of serious disease.
While the best way to quit nicotine is usually to go cold turkey, that probably isn’t an optimal choice for truckers. After all, nicotine withdrawal presents a lot of side effects like insomnia, aggression, and difficulty concentrating. This can be incredibly detrimental if you’re behind the wheel. Instead, taper yourself off with nicotine patches, gum, and other cessation tools.
PICK UP: Reading More
As a truck driver, you have a lot of time to yourself. You can go stir crazy just trying to find good radio stations from state to state, or listening to the same playlists over and over. Instead, make it your 2020 goal to read more. Of course, when you’re on the road 8-10 hours a day, you can’t spend that time with a book in front of your face. But you can read during your off-hours. Bring some books with you, or buy an e-reader to keep in your cab.
Of course, if you want to stay alert and engaged while you’re behind the wheel, you can always get an audiobook subscription. No matter how you read (audiobooks included!), it’s great for your brain. Reading can help stave off dementia, reduce stress, improve your memory, and boost overall brain health. If you don’t like listening to books, there are a variety of podcasts and other media you can enjoy to keep your brain sharp.
DROP: Being Unnecessarily Stressed Out
Stress is just a part of the job as a truck driver. But adding unnecessary stress to your life is easier to avoid than you may think. One of the best things you can do is stick to federal regulations when it comes to how many hours you can drive. If your boss puts you on an impossibly tight deadline, tell them that you can’t meet it. Your health and well-being are more important than those few extra hours of driving.
You can also take proactive steps to prevent stress from overwhelming you. When you can, stop and get out of your cab. Take a walk around the truck stop, stretch, and reset your body. At the same time, do some meditation to reset your mind. This doesn’t mean you have to cross your legs and chant. Instead, just take some quiet time to focus on your breathing, letting thoughts come and go without attaching to them.
PICK UP: Driving Safely and Patiently
If you’re a veteran driver, you probably have quite a few ways you deal with traffic. You may cut off drivers, or you might have a habit of yelling at other drivers and otherwise acting aggressively. This year, make a habit of driving safely. Yes, dropping bad habits while picking up new ones is challenging, but this one can save your job and even your life.
There are a lot of negligent drivers on the road. Practice being patient with them. They may cut you off or practically live in your blind spots. Instead of getting mad, anticipate their actions. Even if they don’t do something stupid, your anticipation means you’re driving more safely overall. And that’s a resolution we all can pick up — whether we’re driving a semi-truck or a sedan.
DROP: Driving Unprotected
No matter how safely and patiently you drive, there’s always the chance that something’s going to go wrong. You may blow a tire, or you could be hit by a car. It’s important you have someone on call to make sure you get back on the road as quickly as possible. That support comes in the form of semi-truck roadside assistance services.
At Encore Protection, we offer roadside assistance services to all sorts of commercial vehicles, whether it’s a small delivery fleet or a massive semi-truck corporation. With our nationwide network, we can get you back on the road and back on schedule. Give us a call today at (844) 636-2673 or contact us online to learn more about our semi-truck roadside assistance services.