For a lot of people, a career as a driver sounds like a very enticing prospect, if you are a confident driver; you are getting paid to spend some quality time by yourself, zigzagging up and down the country, with the open road for company. Sounds ideal for many people, but driving as a career has a lot more difficulties attached to it than most people think. Think about how frustrated you can get as a driver when you’re making a short journey, but let’s have a look at the impacts of being a driver, especially the long haul ones, on your overall wellbeing and the worst case scenarios.
The Hassle You Have To Deal With (on A Daily Basis)
Being a long-distance driver is difficult. Not only is there an impact on your long-term health because of the long distances, but being a driver of a heavy goods vehicle or a truck means you have a lot more pressure on your shoulders. The main issue in driving a truck is the braking distance. When you are driving long haul on a freeway or a motorway, it is challenging to maneuver this large machine in comparison to a sports car. The main issue that truck drivers have on a daily basis is the fact that if there’s a gap in the road, other drivers tend to fill it, this means that you have to put the brakes on to create that much more of a gap again to have a safe braking distance. If you, as a long haul driver are dealing with this kind of hassle on the road on a daily basis, it can prove very frustrating, because you would be held accountable if you were to cause an accident. But unfortunately a lot of drivers do this on a regular basis, people in cars see a gap in front of a truck and pull right in front of it, which isn’t just endangering themselves and you, but everyone else in the immediate area. It’s a lot more stressful for a truck driver to try and navigate out of a possible accident at the last second, and they will be paying for it more if you are an inattentive driver that has noticed a gap in the road. The amount of near misses that truck drivers have to contend with on a daily basis because of other drivers is staggering.
The Stress Factor
While there are many regulations for long haul drivers now, it’s still has a big impact on the overall wellbeing of a truck driver. A lot of drivers make overnight journeys, and as a result, this results in irregular sleeping patterns. Even long haul drivers that make 200 mile round trips in the space of a day find that they are working for a minimum of 14 hours a day, getting up at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning so they can get home at a good time in the evening. Their sleeping patterns can be irregular, and have a major impact on their lives. But it’s not just the anti-social hours that you have an impact on your health. Issues such as getting a specific stock on time to meet a deadline, as well as common issues like traffic, especially if you have to drive through a busy city center, can cause a lot of hassle for you. To work as a long haul driver, you need to be aware of the potential amount of time you can be stuck in traffic, and so something like boredom can set in very easily. If you’re bored, it can be difficult to keep yourself entertained in such a small space, so you may naturally reach for snacks, which can have an adverse effect on your health, which is why we see so many truck drivers overweight!
We all hate driving when the weather is terrible, and so we usually take a break if there is a major weather issue. A lot of long haul drivers don’t have this option, and although breaks are built in to their working day, if they’ve got to get somewhere on time, it means a lot of navigating adverse weather conditions. This means you would be operating on a sense of high anxiety. And not only this, the difficulty in maneuvering a truck in adverse weather can mean there is a high potential for accidents. Truck drivers are aware of the devastation they can cause if there is the potential to slip and slide, and of course, reduced visibility in poor weather conditions means a very unsafe set of circumstances. Whether driving on ice, through rain, fog, or snow, a long haul driver has to adapt to the circumstances quickly, not just for their own safety, but for the safety of everybody else on the road.
The Personal Impact
In addition to this, if you are driving as a full time job, and then you get home and are expected to ferry your children around, it may be the last thing you would want to do! In addition to this, if you spend a lot of time away from your family, is it a suitable career? A lot of truck drivers complain of adverse health conditions, and these include depression, mainly due to the long hours stuck in a small cabin. Long haul truck drivers can be on the road for up to 8 weeks, and for these long haul journeys, generally haulage companies offer one day off for every 5 (or even 7) days on the road. As a result, divorce rates are quite high among truck drivers.
Yes, while driving may be a romantic notion for a career, there are a lot of negative effects if you are seriously considering this route. These perils of being a truck driver or a long haul driver are the worst case scenario, and if you are thinking about being a driver, but you want to stay closer to home, maybe you would like to be a delivery driver. But these have their own stresses too! Think carefully!