Santa’s workshop is operating at full capacity 24/7 to produce toys for children of the world. Truck drivers are also working extra hard behind the scenes to keep holiday shipments in stores across the nation. With expected high demand, many drivers find it difficult to take time off to make it home for the holidays. Many companies provide significant compensation increases to work the holidays, and that helps lessen the stress of being away from spouses and children during this magical time, but it still doesn’t make it easier. So, here are some tips for truckers to help make the holiday season easier.
Safe Driving Habits
First of all, it’s vital to take care of yourself on the roads, to stay extra alert and safe. Traffic during the holiday season is always at its peak. Couple that with potential weather conditions that can slow travel, being behind the wheel of your big rig becomes even more stressful. Avoid letting your guard down, maintain safe distances and give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go. The holidays are stressful enough, you certainly don’t want to add an accident or injury to it because you’re pushing yourself too hard.
The Holiday Spirit
Get yourself into the spirit of the season by decorating the interior of your truck, or even the outside of it. Maybe a small tree, scented cones and other decorative items for your sleeper cab. You may have even seen trucks decked out in Christmas lights, wreathes or other kinds of décor. We know certain truck drivers who decorate themselves in red and white hats, gloves and more. If you put yourself in the mindset that you are essential in delivering joy to other families and kids, you’ll find the spirit of the holidays in your heart.
Surround Yourself with Company
Knowing you’re not alone out there on the road this holiday season can also be a comfort. Celebrating with fellow drivers at truck stop driver’s lounges can be great for your holiday morale. Lean on the camaraderie, companionship and shared experience of your fellow truckers. That can help ease the feelings of loneliness and missing your family over the holiday season.
Don’t Skip the Holiday Meal
Something else that will help soften the blow of working during the holiday season is to treat yourself to a holiday meal. Good food always provides some comfort and a feeling of home. Most major truck stop chains offer holiday dining options. If you know you’ll be working over the holidays, plan your route so you’ll know you have a great holiday dining option along the way. Many truck stops with holiday meal options may require you to RSVP, so be aware of that as well. A bit of planning and you’ll be able to take a break to enjoy a hearty holiday meal.
Being away from family physically doesn’t mean you can’t be present remotely. You can utilize FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or a number of other apps to see and been seen for the holiday. If you’re stopping for a holiday meal, use your app or the truck stop’s Wi-Fi to connect with family while you’re not there in person for the best possible connection.
If you really want to be home for the holidays, make sure you put in your time off request early. Consult your Fleet Manager as well as each company handles holiday time off requests differently. There are some who will want to work the holiday for the extra pay, so having the time off may benefit one of your fellow trucking friends. It will also help if you’re familiar with your company’s policies when it comes to holiday time. Some give drivers the option of working one holiday for time off on another, while others provide no special consideration when it comes to being home for the holidays.
From all of us at ATC Driveaway, be safe and have a happy holiday season, whether you’re on the road or at home with loved ones. You keep America moving and we’re thankful for all you do.