Being a trucker more than a job – It’s a lifestyle. I know you’ve heard that before, but I assure you that it’s completely true. There isn’t a long-haul truck driver alive that has a “normal” life. When you get behind the wheel of your rig and hit the highway everything changes. Life as you knew it comes to an end as a new world opens up before you – a life that many will never understand. To make a smooth transition to your new life, preparation is key. Truck driving school prepares you to pass a test, it doesn’t prepare you for life on the road, so let’s take a look at a few points to make your new journey more enjoyable.
Every year there are fewer places that a truck driver can find a good homecooked meal. As more truck stops shift towards a “travel centre” model, those meals drivers were once accustomed to are growing scarce. And, frankly, eating at restaurants every day gets expensive.
When I’m home for a reset I prepare every dinner for my time away. Steak, chicken fajitas, pasta, and vegetables are a staple for me. Freeze them before you head out and put them in the fridge or freezer in your truck, heat them up at mealtime, and you’re good to go. Eating healthy just makes you feel better, too. Fresh food, made the way you like it, sustains you and keeps you healthier, more alert, and safer on the road.
For breakfasts and lunches, you can be as creative as you want to be. From instant oatmeal to fresh wraps, with the right equipment, mealtime can be fresh and healthy. But you need the right equipment, which brings me to the next point.
You want a refrigerator. A cooler is fine if you’re out for a day or two, but have a refrigerator installed to keep your food fresh. You’ll also benefit from a microwave. Trucks are equipped with space and power for your appliances and the installation can be as simple as tightening the tension strap. Those are your basic supplies.
I also have a small crockpot, a kettle, and a toaster in my truck. Having small comforts to make your meals more enjoyable helps with your overall health while on the roads and gives you a greater variety of meal and snack choices.
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Many drivers have satellite TV installed in their trucks. When we’re not driving, we spend a lot of time in the bunk because, essentially, it’s our living room, kitchen, and bedroom. I opted for a quality android tablet rather than a TV. You can download all your Netflix shows onto your android tablet and sit comfortably wherever you choose (downloads are currently unavailable for Apple products).
In addition to Netflix, I suggest downloading an app for books onto your tablet. Actual books take up space, but book downloads on your tablet won’t clutter your bunk or scatter around your space in a hard-braking situation. To take it a step further and consider getting an app for audiobooks. You’ve got hours each day that can be used to fill your minds with new knowledge, stories, and adventures from other worlds as you navigate the asphalt ribbons that tie the country together.
Invest in a quality truck-friendly GPS. While any GPS can get you from A to B, you’ll need a truck GPS to ensure you don’t run into low bridges and truck-restricted roads. Trust me…you’ll want one. While delivery drivers and straight-truck drivers are friendly and helpful, they don’t have the same restrictions as you so those shortcuts they suggest, well, they aren’t so short and you don’t need to get in a bind where you need to call for help.
Speaking of calling for help, a cell phone is standard for everyone nowadays, but having a good plan can save you a few bucks each month. If you find yourself crossing the Canada-US border you will save on roaming fees and international long-distance charges that can add up to far more than the cost of a good plan. Additionally, you’ll often find yourself on the phone with other drivers, dispatch, and family. You’ll want a quality Bluetooth headset or comfortable earbuds to help you stay connected. Save 20% now on BlueParrott Headsets now!
You may enjoy your king-size bed at home, but you’ll like need to get used to a twin bed in your truck. Good sleep is vital to your wellbeing and the safety of those around you, so make your bed the best place for sleep. It’s obvious, but worth stating (because, again, they don’t tell you this in truck driving school), get a good pillow and blankets. You won’t likely have the space you’re used to having, but you can be comfortable in your truck. Your bedding isn’t supplied so invest in what you need before you hit the road.
Tools and Supplies
Even if you are a long-haul company driver it’s handy to have a few tools on board for those surprise problems that can be easily fixed. Along with a set of pliers, an adjustable wrench, screwdrivers, a prybar, and a hammer, keep a couple extra lightbulbs handy along with your extra fluids like wiper fluid and motor oil.
Being equipped for the road comfort and peace of mind. When you shut down the truck for breaks or at the end of your day, having healthy foods, a clear mind, a relaxing space, and a good rest will help you prepare for the next day on the road, keeping us connected, while keeping yourself and others safe.