U.S. Truck Driver Training School would like to wish you happy holidays. We would also like to show a big, extra appreciation to our truck drivers nationwide! We’ve said it before – the holidays are brought to the world by truck drivers. The food for your big holiday meal, the gifts you buy – they all come to you on a truck. It is understood that this is an incredibly busy time of the year for truck drivers, with holiday shipments going to stores throughout the nation. Because of this high demand, many drivers find it challenging to make it home for the holidays. Here is a list of tips for trucking through the holidays.
1. Check your company’s time off policies
If you prefer to make it home for the holidays and spend time with family and friends, it may be helpful to consult with your company’s policies for taking time off. Depending on who you drive for you may have options, such as a guarantee that you will get to choose one holiday for hometime while being required to work the other holidays. Other companies may give their drivers the day off during specific holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you are familiar with the policies, it will allow you to manage expectations and leave you better prepared to coordinate holiday plans with friends and family.
2. Put in your time off request as soon as you can
If making it home for the holidays is important to you and your family, make sure to put your time off or hometime request in early as possible to give you the shot at having your request approved. Each company handles holiday time-off requests differently, so be sure to consult with your fleet manager as well.
3. Celebrate with fellow drivers
One of the best parts of being a truck driver is the truck driver community. For drivers who cannot make it home, or have no family to spend the holidays with, celebrating together at truck stop driver’s lounges, or even getting practical gifts for your truck driver companions is a fantastic way to take part in the holiday spirit. The camaraderie and companionship along with the shared experience of being out there working hard together through the holidays can be a rewarding experience and help drivers cope with feelings of loneliness.
4. Decorate your truck
Many drivers partake in holiday activities and show the spirit of the season by decorating the interior and/or the exterior of their trucks. You’ve probably seen drivers with their trucks decked out in Christmas lights, wreathes, and other decorations. Keep in mind that any decorations you use on the exterior of your truck need to be placed in a safe manner and not violate any safety standards. As far as the interior decorations go, a small tree, scented cones and other decorative items placed in your sleeper berth can help you stay connected with traditional holiday practices and feelings.
5. Use technology to your advantage
When you are unable to make it home to your family over the holidays but want to be a part of your family’s holiday celebrations, using cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices in conjunction with wireless internet can help you stay in touch. There is a wide variety of apps that help this, such as:
The above apps typically need special data plans with your cell carrier, or the use of Wi-Fi. Fortunately, the major truck stop chains, many state welcome centers, and other establishments supply Wi-Fi that is accessible to truckers.
6. Holiday meals
If you are not able to make it home or choose to stay out (but you still want a traditional holiday dinner), you are in luck. Most major truck stop restaurant chains supply seasonal holiday dinners. You will most likely encounter their advertisements in the weeks leading up to the holidays. With a little planning, you can still have a hearty holiday dinner while on the road. Keep in mind that some restaurants supply dinners on an RSVP basis, so if you have a specific place to stop for the holidays in mind, it helps to double check if you need to RSVP or not.
7. Stay alert and stay safe
On a safety-oriented note, stay alert and stay safe while on the road during the holidays. Highways typically experience higher levels of traffic during the holidays, and with more cars on the road, it is important to avoid letting your guard down. Keep your head on a swivel, keep safe distances, and be alert for motorists who are unaccustomed to driving on the interstate highway system. It also helps to give yourself plenty of time to make it to your destination by taking into consideration the increase in traffic.
We hope you have a happy and safe holiday season whether you are on the road or at home with your family.