As there is a shortage of professional drivers in many regions of the world, one may ask why not enough people seem to be attracted by the profession. What once was a job that required mainly driving skills has developed into a computerised operation, requiring multi-skills of the driver. This development can certainly scare away drivers who cannot adapt to the new technology but should reasonably attract a young tech-savvy generation. Yet, there are not good drivers enough in the market. And probably, anyone who consider entering the trade asks herself if truck driver is a good job. Well, is it?
Yes, truck driver is a good job, but...
For those who want a fully predictable job, small talk with colleagues at the coffee machine, and everyday check out at 5 p.m., truck driving is not the very best career. But, if you are attracted by the variety, the freedom, and the self-reliance character of the profession, then the truck driver is a good job.
The stereotypical image of a truck driver is "a man driving goods from one place to another". This image has to be nuanced. First, it could – and should! – be a woman driver, and the very driving is just part of the job.
Truck driver – variety for better or worse
With a great variety of transportation types and assignments to choose from, the aspiring driver likely can find a job that suits her individual preferences when it comes to everything from working schedule to technical complexity. Technology development has made some truck driving jobs an advanced high-tech operation, with loads of technology and online systems to handle. While this is an inspiring challenge for some, it is a stress factor to others, and probably, digitalisation is the reason for some drivers leaving the profession. Yet, the technical development mainly aims to improve efficiency and safety – and make the day in the cab a better day.
Truck driver stress – a factor to cope with
Irrespective of distance or goods, transportation always comes with a deadline – the delivery time. Accordingly, time is a common stress factor for the commercial driver. Also, personal safety can be a significant stress factor to drivers exposed to risks, whether the risk is due to traffic situations or the nature of the work, e.g. driving in construction sites or driving far in desert areas.
Some stress factors are out of the driver's control, the traffic situation, for example. While rush hours and road works might be foreseen and planned for, a road accident may cause instant traffic stop and delays accordingly. Also, the weather may put delivery time at risk if driving conditions suddenly change.
Reducing stress makes a good job great
A good strategy for reducing stress is to prepare for unexpected situations and use tools for reducing different risks.
Onboard warning systems ensure the vehicle is operating safely. Fleet management systems ensure optimal transport logistics, and GPS systems can help the driver find the best route to keep up with schedule – or the best alternative route should something unexpected happen. Weather forecasts can be connected to warning systems, alerting the driver that bad driving conditions are expected. And, in the case of icy roads, even snow chains can be automatic, allowing full traction by just pressing a button in the cab.
These are but a few examples of tools for avoiding risk and reducing stress for the driver. When stress is minimised, truck driving could be not a good job only, but a great job!
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