Truck Driving – Solitude or Solace
Life as a truck driver can be one of long times by yourself. Local delivery drivers will often have much more interaction with customers and even company dock workers. However, most new drivers will not be working locally. They will be at best regionally and most likely Over the Road (OTR).
The result is that you will be spending a lot a time alone. Some people become truck drivers because of they crave this loneliness. Some are tired of the rat race of office politics or the being just a number of factor working. Some people are natural introverts and being alone is no big deal.
Every person deals with the alone time differently. Some people do not realize how lonely driving a truck can be. They think that they are going to enjoy it, yet all their employment thus far has been part of a team. A truck driver is part of a team – but they are operating as independent team member. The truck driver has to be a self motivated and self starting person by nature or must be able to learn these skills and traits.
The ability to handle and deal with the Solitude or Solace of being a trucker, especially an Over The Road driver gone from family for weeks at a time, can seriously affect your health. A long haul (1,000 mile average) driver who literally will spend 90% of their time locked in their truck cab is about like being a prisoner in solitude. The driver will have dock interaction picking up the load, getting fuel and maybe stopping to eat and then when they deliver the load. The rest of the time, it is just them. That is a lot of alone time.
This solitude, unless accepted and even appreciated, can also affect the safety of the driver and the rest of the traveling public. Solitude can be very tiring. And a tired truck driver is a dangerous truck driver. The sudden increase in Solitude that a person that had previously had a daily interactive family life and was part of an office or business environment with numerous co-workers could be more then some drivers can stand. One of the ways to deal with this sudden shift in social interactions would be to be part of a team driving. Most new drivers will spend several months as a trainee driver anyway where they will be working with an experienced trucker to learn their job. It may be necessary or at least recommended for some new drivers to seek opportunities as a team driver member even after completing any training requirements.
On the other hand, there are many people that the change from an interactive life style to one of solitude as a truck driver is actually a blessing. It may just what they need to achieve the mental state they relish. Being alone does not mean being lonely – it just means you are comfortable without the need for external reinforcements.
Being a truck driver, especially a new one working over the road, is a different lifestyle then most people are use to living. It can be one of Solitude or it can be a life of Solace.
Happy trucking, John