The top tips road hauliers need to steer clear of haulage driver loneliness.
There are plenty of big benefits to a career in road haulage. Still, you can rarely have the good without the bad and, unfortunately, that means that those miles of open road can become quite lonely for some.
So, what are we going to do about it? Let’s start with taking a deep dive into the situation as it stands:
- Haulage driver loneliness: the facts.
- 4 strategies to tackle haulage driver loneliness.
- Your mental health as a haulier.
- Raising industry awareness.
Haulage driver loneliness: the facts
We could talk for hours about the many great reasons to work in road haulage, from the amazing travel opportunities to good rates of pay and more independence. But that’s not what this blog is about.
The fact of the matter is that the job requires drivers to spend a significant amount of time alone in their vehicles. Of course, everyone gets lonely from time to time. However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this limited social interaction is leading to periods of loneliness for drivers.
The good news? This improved awareness is just one of many signs that things are starting to improve within the sector.
Not only that, but there are also plenty of simple strategies you can implement to stave off loneliness in your own cab!
4 strategies to tackle haulage driver loneliness
Shake off symptoms of loneliness and make your mental health a priority when you’re out on the road – here’s how…
1. Create a routine of connection
If loneliness is a worry for you, there are practical steps you can take to ensure each day is improved by human connection.
This could be through getting social with other drivers at rest stops, either before you set off for the day or at larger stations along your route. Whether you head inside for some refreshment or step into their cabs for a chat, it’s sure to give you a boost.
It’s also important that you stay in touch with friends and family across long distances. Having a routine for communication can give you something to look forward to and help maintain emotional connections. So, plan regular phone calls into your week, and set aside time each day to send messages during designated breaks.
2. Join online driver communities
Another way of staving off loneliness is to join online communities. These could be driver-specific communities, or forums that provide a sense of escapism. Do some research to find out what’s available.
Sharing experiences, advice, and stories can foster a sense of camaraderie and provide a much-needed avenue for interaction.
3. Audiobooks, podcasts, and talk radio
Keeping your mind more engaged is a great way to steer clear of the loneliness trap. So, why not try turning the hours on the road into something more productive?
Here are just a few of the options available to you:
- Talk radio stations.
- Interesting podcasts.
- Educational podcasts and learning programmes.
Give a few things a try and find what works for you! Not only will the above options help alleviate feelings of isolation, but they’ll also make each journey more enjoyable.
4. Make the most of the journey
One of the best things about the job is that, as a haulier, you get the chance to see so many new places. But, as with many things in life, it can be all too easy to drive through without really taking things in.
Have you found yourself in the habit of simply passing through? Then start taking the opportunity to explore local attractions, parks, or points of interest during layovers! Even going somewhere local for lunch can be a great way to bring more interaction into your day.
Your mental health as a haulier
Whether or not you’ve experienced loneliness as a driver, it’s important to put your mental wellbeing first. There are lots of ways to do this, like prioritising a proper sleeping pattern, staying active wherever possible, and making healthy meal choices.
And, if you ever find yourself struggling, remember that seeking support is crucial. Here are some things you can do if you need support:
- Ask your company’s HR or management for available support programmes – more organisations recognise the need to offer mental health support than ever before.
- Explore resources and look into helplines, either from mental health organisations or industry-specific bodies.
- Talk to trusted colleagues, friends, and family, or look into professional mental health services for more structured support.
Raising industry awareness
It’s been great to see more organisations talking about mental health in the Transport sector.
Do you want to join the conversation? Listen to Richard James Smith, MD of the Road Haulage Association, talking to former Senior Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell in episode two of the Rerouting Logistics podcast:
“Being stuck in a space that’s smaller than a prison cell…”
Rerouting Logistics is the new podcast from Aspion Search, on a mission to tackle key issues in the world of Transport & Logistics:
- Mental health in Transport & Logistics.
- Diversity in Transport & Logistics.
- The Transport & Logistics age gap.
- The future of the sector.
Have you listened yet and have something to say?