If you’ve been truck driving for a while, chances are, you know what truck driver burnout is. If you don’t, you may not have been driving long enough. Truck drivers’ jobs are very demanding, tiring, and isolating. After years of sitting behind the wheel, it’s possible for a trucker to get beaten into that lifestyle, which could lead to burnout. Not only is truck driver burnout dangerous for a trucker, it’s also a hazard to others on the road. If you’re wondering how to identify, avoid, or handle trucker burnout, keep reading!
What is Truck Driver Burnout?
Essentially, truck driver burnout refers to when a trucker becomes so physically and mentally exhausted from their job that they become a hazard to themselves or others on the road. Truck driving is a lifestyle and, if they’re not careful, it’s very possible for this lifestyle to completely consume a trucker. They may start to feel guilty when they are not driving since they’re paid by the mile. The more often a trucker is on the road, the more money they make. So, it’s possible for a trucker to fall into this dangerous cycle, and this could lead to burnout.
What Are the Signs of Burnout?
Not every trucker shows the same signs of being burnt out. In fact, many truckers don’t even realize that they are starting to burn out. The following are a few signs of trucker burn out to watch out for:
- Exhaustion. A burnt-out trucker may start to lag and become lazier. They may stay at truck stops longer than usual to waste time.
- Loss of motivation/enthusiasm. If a trucker has no motivation or enthusiasm to drive, it could be a sign of burnout. Truckers suffering from burnout start to dislike the trucking job that they once loved. They can barely force themselves to get into their rig and become disinterested in driving.
- Doing the bare minimum. If a trucker is burnt out, they may find themselves doing as little driving as possible. When they’re behind the wheel, it’s not for very long, and they frequently find excuses to stop and take a break. Procrastination is also common, as a trucker may take longer to get things done.
- Poor eating habits. Burnt-out truckers have a tendency to have poor eating habits. Their lack of motivation to drive leads to a lack of motivation to take care of their health.
- Substance abuse. If a trucker starts using drugs or alcohol to cope, it may be an indication of burnout.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that truck driver burnout is often confused with trucker fatigue. However, burnout is more than feeling tired or having trouble concentrating. Driver burnout is serious and could lead to depression.
Dealing With Burnout
If you think that you or a trucker you know may be suffering from burnout, don’t ignore it! It’s important to take steps to resolve it right away. Here are a few ways to handle truck driver burnout:
- Maintain a healthy work-life balance. As a trucker, this isn’t always easy, since you know that if you’re not driving truck, you aren’t making money. However, having a proper work-home balance is crucial for all truckers.
- Similarly, make use of vacation time. Some truckers find themselves feeling guilty for taking their vacation time because they aren’t getting paid. Still, vacation time is necessary for truckers to recharge their batteries and rest.
- Keep some regularity. If possible, getting on a regularly scheduled run with a more predictable schedule is a good way to avoid burnout. That way, your sleep pattern will be more regular and you won’t risk falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Embrace the ELD. As much as truckers are opposed to the new electronic logs, they help prevent drivers from overworking. They force truckers to take more breaks, get more rest and will force them off the road after 70 hours.
What are some healthy ways that you avoid and/or deal with truck driver burnout? Drop us a comment below!