Truck driving can be an exciting way to make a living and see the country, simultaneously. Unfortunately, due to the demands of the industry, being gone for days, weeks, or months at a time is likely for a truck driver. This can negatively impact family life for the entire family unit. Thankfully, the following tips represent ways you can actively change this narrative and better balance truck driving and family life:
How Long Are Drivers on the Road?
Before delving deeper into improving work-life balance for trucking families. There are two main options when it comes to joining the trucking industry, being a regional driver or an over-the-road (OTR) driver. In most cases, newer truck drivers in the industry will begin as OTR drivers at least for their first year. Most trips will range between five and seven days, with truckers going home for one day per every seven days worked. Of course, some trips will be longer and last weeks at a time and others will be shorter. It all depends on the type of driver you are and what company for which you are working.
Tips on Balancing Truck Driving and Family Life
1. Make the Most of Home Time
All parents are tired when they can get home from work, and this is especially true for the trucker who has been on the road for days or weeks. However, when you are home, it’s immensely important that you make the most of your time off with your family. Go to local parks, go get ice cream, take them to and from school, go to all their sports events, etc. Just try to be as involved as possible with the time you have.
2. Work Towards a Predictable Schedule
If possible, speak with the company you are working for and aim to create a more predictable schedule. Sometimes, this is impossible, other times it is doable. The only way to know is to ask and then do what is necessary to get your hours more predictable where your family can plan around your work days.
3. Keep in Touch with Tech
Thankfully, today, unlike in previous years, you can actually keep in touch with your family no matter how many miles away from them you are at the time. FaceTime, Zoom, texts, voice messages, pictures, etc. can all be sent from you to your family and vice versa to keep the connection healthy between all the family members, even when you are away from home working. Many families find it easiest to schedule a set time of day to communicate with their loved one, others rather it being spontaneous, either way, as long as you make an effort, you are maintaining that family connection, even hundreds or thousands of miles away.
4. Become a Local Driver or Owner Operator
If it’s feasible, you can become a local driver or owner-operator. This will mean that those long weeks or months on the road simply aren’t required. You can instead stay close to your family and still enjoy a career you love. Being an owner-operator also allows you to set your own schedule, so even when you do have to be on the road, you can better plan these trips around your big family events.
5. Ask Family Members or Close Friends to Help with Home Tasks
If you do have to leave for days, weeks, or months at a time and know your family will need help with specific household tasks, make sure to ask family members or close friends to step in and help out while you are away, or delegate your jobs among your family members. Most people don’t mind helping out if they know there is a need, and setting up provisions to ensure your family is taken care of while you are away is one way to show them you love them.
6. Take Reminders of Home on the Road With You
Finally, take something from home with you when hitting the road for a long trip. This could include any number of items. Just make sure it’s something that makes you smile and think of home.
Put all the above tips into action to better balance being a truck driver and family life.
Truck Driving for Barr-Nunn Transportation
At Barr-Nunn Transportation, we know how important home time and family life are for our drivers. When do you want to be home to see family and friends? When it’s time for you to be home, we get you there! We work with all of our drivers to make a schedule and routes that fit their needs. In certain geographic areas, Barr-Nunn offers different options for drivers who like to be home daily or weekly.
You may also enjoy 7 Qualities of Great Truck Drivers