Skip to main content

Driver Burnout: How Truck Drivers Can Manage Stress

5 Ways to Reduce Burn-out

Truck Driver Burnout. It’s common, especially for over the road truckers who can be on the road for weeks at a time.  According to burn-out can be defined as fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity. Many factors plague truck drivers with burn-out. 

These can be long hours, time away from home, traffic headaches, lack of exercise, poor quality food, poor road conditions and the pressure to make the most money while on the road. Furthermore, pressure from carriers and companies themselves can lead to high stress levels. In addition, truck drivers are expected to be responsible for their loads, their truck and trailer and logs.  

The effects of these harsh conditions for truck drivers can lead to physical and behavioral setbacks on the road. Some examples include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Isolation
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Decreased sense of accomplishment
  • Headaches
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Procrastination
  • Abusing drugs and alcohol     

The good news is, there are ways to combat these symptoms of truck driver burn-out. Breaking the cycle and trying a few of these tips could get you on your way to enjoying the road again. 

1. Proper Sleep

We all know the more you drive, the more you can earn. But this mentality can lead to burn-out the fastest. It’s important to make sure you’re getting regular sleep. Additionally, regular sleep can keep you more alert when you’re “on the clock” and keep your mental health tough. It’s also a safety factor when being on the road for long hours. Getting the proper sleep can prevent you from falling asleep while on the road. 

2. Scheduled Runs

If there is a way to get on a regularly scheduled run take it. This will help keep your schedule consistent. Regular sleep is one of the biggest factors for safety on the road. If you’re constantly exhausted trying to get into a routine, a regular schedule can help get you back on track. 

3. Regular Breaks and Vacations

If you’re an over the road driver you’re subjected to a lot of monotony. While stopping at a rest stop or a park can break get you out of your truck and walking around, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re taking a day or two off every once in a while. When you find yourself in a new city, get out and see some of the sights or see a movie. It’s a great way to get away from your truck, even if for a few hours. Additionally, making sure you take your days off is a great way to break up the monotony as well. 

4. Electronic Logs

With the advancement of technology new electronic logs (ELDs), drivers are forced to stick to their set limitations when it comes to overwork. The playing field is leveled and drivers should no longer feel the pressure that there is another driver out there that’s going longer and further. Electronic logs force drivers to take those much needed breaks.   

5. Better Eating Habits

It’s very easy to eat fast food and truck stop food while on the road. Truck stops my offer some better options if there’s a restraint attached, however making poor choices to fuel your body can be detrimental if you’re making the wrong choices. Drivers can start to make better choices little by little. Cook a meal in your truck 1-2 nights a week. Read more about how to eat better on the road here. If you normally drink energy drinks and soda every day, try coffee or one less soft drink a day. Changes don’t have to be drastic but small changes can lead to bigger changes and a better lifestyle. Truck Driver Burnout is a real thing and we take it seriously here at ITF Group.