The life of a truck driver is like no other. It’s not just about being on the road, it’s about your job, your lifestyle and your family. It can be, at the same time, challenging, rewarding and frustrating, and when you really need advice, it can be hard to come by. Yet the solution is a very simple one, one that should be drummed into every driver at the point of training – build a network. This network should be dominated by fellow drivers, however, it can include anyone who is in a position to help you. It also pays to look into associations that have been formed to look after truck drivers and their families.
You can start to build your network whilst undertaking truck driver training. Your fellow students are in the same position as you – probably new (or newish) to the industry, and lacking any contacts within the industry. If they are not new to the industry and have already developed a network, then you should consider having them as part of your network.
Why do you need a network? Driving trucks, in particular long haul drivers, is a very lonely life. Your only contact with the outside world is over a CB radio or cell phone, and at truck stops along the way. Your fellow truck drivers, particularly those who have been in the industry for a long time, have a lot of knowledge and experience. Have a problem at home? One of those truck drivers will have some advice based on experience to help out. The same is true for problems with employers, law enforcement, and other drivers.
It can be difficult to build and maintain friendships in your home community when you’re hardly ever home. By building a network within your industry, you’ll have assistance close by from people who have ‘been there and done that’.