Ask any trucker about their toughest challenge and one response will keep coming up: solitude.
As humans, we’re not programmed to spend long stretches of time by ourselves. We crave the company of others, but in trucking those human interactions can be few and far between.
Every new driver expects to face certain challenges. Reversing into tight spaces, congested roads, bad weather and tight schedules are all par for the course. But feeling lonely on the road is a challenge like all the rest.
An overwhelming feeling of solitude is one of the most common reasons why people turn their backs on a career in trucking. And at a time when the industry is desperate to recruit new drivers, it really can’t afford to lose a single person.
As anyone who drives a truck knows, the world of truck stops, warehouses, rest areas and truck parks isn’t always the most stimulating. Conversations with strangers are OK, but they’re not the same as chats with family or mates. And spending time alone isn’t so bad, until you find yourself on your own for hours at a time.
Feeling lonely is never a good feeling. Especially when you realise that life at home goes on as usual without you. Even when you go home, it’s easy to feel like an outsider. Of course, loved ones will always be desperate to see you. Partners, kids and friends will always be keen to catch up and spend time with you, but it can sometimes feel like a wall has formed between you and them.
Unless you experience it, it’s almost impossible to understand what it’s like to spend time on the road. Others might enjoy listening to your stories, but they can never fully appreciate how hard life can be.
It’s important for truck drivers to recognise feelings of loneliness and don’t ignore the cues. The danger is that loneliness can turn into depression. Find creative ways to make new connections with people, and if you feel like calling a partner or friend, make that call as soon as you can.