Six things truck drivers can do while on the road

Six things truck drivers can do while on the road

Trucking isn’t all about being out on the open road but that is a huge part of it. Your eyes need to be focused on what’s in front of you and a decent portion of your brain does too. Even so, you will probably still have brainpower to spare. You’ll also have breaks when you can (and should) take your eyes off the highway.

With that in mind, Emma Tyrer, Head of Sales and Marketing at Walker Movements shares ideas suggested by the her team of drivers on how to make the most of that time.

Become a music expert

HGV drivers listening to music may be one of the biggest cliches around. As with a lot of cliches, however, it’s based on fact and that fact is based on sound logic. Music often provides just the right level of stimulation for driving, especially truck driving. It’s also easily accessible. If you can get a road suitable for an HGV you can get a radio signal, plus you can bring your own device.

While modern smartphones generally do a decent to good job of playing music, if you’re trucking, there’s a lot to be said for having a standalone MP3 player. These tend to have more storage (and they’re dedicated to music) so you can pack them full of your favourite tunes. You can also put on other audio if you fancy.

Instead of just listening to the must, however, really pay attention to it and analyse it. If you’re listening to the radio, then think about how the presenters put together their playlists and how they do their spoken-word sections in-between tracks.

Expand your reading

You need to be a bit careful with spoken-word content when you’re driving. If you get something too intense then it can become a distraction. That said, you still have a lot of options. Light comedy is often the best one. It’s enough to keep you engaged and upbeat while still leaving you plenty of mental energy for your driving.

It’s probably best to keep spoken-word radio and podcasts for when you’re on breaks. The content of these can be unpredictable so, again, they can become a distraction. These days, however, most radio shows are available on catch-up so you won’t miss out and podcasts are generally available for extended periods if not indefinitely.

Learn a new skill

Obviously, you’re going to need to learn a skill you can learn mainly through listening but that still gives you a lot of options. One you might want to consider very seriously is learning a foreign language. If you want to drive internationally (or if you already do), knowing at least the basics of another language could be extremely practical. If you’re prepared to put in the work to become fluent, then you’ll open even more doors.

Alternatively, you could just broaden your general education. In particular, you could use the time in your cab to learn about the science and strategy behind “soft skills”. There is plenty of audio content available on these topics, some of it from very high-quality sources. Improving your soft skills can not only make your everyday working life easier, but it can also really boost your career.

Take up a new hobby

Life isn’t all about work and self-improvement. It’s important to make time for a bit of fun too. Lots of hobbies are portable, or, at least, have portable options. For example, if you’re into music, you could learn a small, light instrument like the harmonica, the ukulele or the clarinet. You may not be able to play much in your cab but you can certainly learn the theory. You can also work on memorizing tunes.

Another option would be to take an aspect of your driving and turn it into a hobby. For example, you could start a collection based on your travels. Maybe you buy a postcard everywhere you go. You could also try documenting your travels in words and/or in photos. You can keep these private or just share them with family and friends. You could, however, try creating a blog and/or building a social-media platform.

If you are going to do this, consider buying your own domain and a basic web-hosting package. These are both very affordable. You don’t need any technical skills to put up a blog. There are plenty of free templates you can use to create the structure of the site. You just add the content.

Make sure to get out of the cab

When you’re driving, you’re probably going to need to keep your windows closed for safety reasons. Even if you do have them open, there’s a limit to how much fresh air you can get in a cab. That being so, whenever you’re on your breaks, always try to get out of your cab, no matter what the weather. If you’ve packed properly, you should be able to handle it.

Use your short breaks as opportunities to do some stretching. This will relax your mind as well as your muscles. It will also give your circulation a boost. If possible, do some deep breathing too. This helps to oxygenate your blood and hence refreshes you.

Use your longer breaks for self-care

Really, the entire purpose of longer breaks is so that you can take care of yourself so make sure that you do so. At a minimum, eat a good meal, preferably a healthy one and make sure that you are suitably hydrated. You won’t be drinking alcohol when on the road but be careful of caffeinated drinks and also fizzy drinks (as they tend to be full of chemicals).

Try to fit in the time for some proper exercise. You can buy cordless skipping ropes for an easy way to get cardio in a small space like a hotel room. Resistance bands are great for portable strength training. Yoga can be done without equipment and in a small space and can do wonders for your flexibility.

Prioritise getting a good night’s sleep every night. This can require a bit of preparation. It’s advisable to take an effective eye mask and earplugs wherever you go. You might also want to learn meditation and/or use a mediation/mindfulness app to help you wind down and settle into sleep.