One of the most difficult things about being a long distance HGV driver is the long drives you have to make alone with no one for company. This is also the biggest reason why people think twice about joining this otherwise great industry. Another problem with long drives also is that if you get too bored and you are tired, as most truckers are, you could fall asleep behind the wheel and cause an accident.
When you are driving for long distances, the first thing you need to do is make sure you get enough sleep. By getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night, you can make sure that you are awake and able to pay attention. Boredom and sleepiness together are deadly.
If it is possible, try and have someone with you. A lot of truckers get a dog or another pet that can easily travel with them in the cab and keep them company. Think about getting a dog or cat as these are the two animals you can safely keep in the cab with you. This way you will always have company on the road.
Many truckers also pick up hitchhikers. This is something you should do with some caution, as hitchhikers by definition are strangers, and you could potentially get into trouble if you pick up someone who is dangerous.
Instead of thinking of the trip as one long drive, break it down. Think of it as a trip from stop to stop. By thinking of it as five or six smaller strips, you will feel more motivated as you will always be “almost there”.
Take breaks. It is a good idea to take breaks for meals, bathroom stops and anytime you feel tired or bored. By stretching your legs and possibly talking to a petrol pump clerk, you will feel more energized and ready to complete the journey.
Make sure you have plenty of music. Bring along a lot of CDs, or an MP3 player. Make sure you keep changing the music. You can also divide the music according to the leg of the journey, for instance, only rock from point A to point B; only rap the next hundred miles, etc. This will keep you thinking.
While this may sound crazy, you can drive away boredom by talking to yourself. You can argue about whatever you want without getting anyone angry, and maybe even get into those thoughts you have not had time to had, like what you are doing in life or where you want to be in ten years.
Finally, a CB radio is a friend to all HGV drivers. Not only is it useful, since you can use it to find out the best routes, weather conditions etc, but you can also use it to talk to other truckers on the road like you and make some long distance friends. This will keep you from getting too bored on the road, just like all the tips mentioned above.
J. Mikula is a business writer and consultant.