By Marilena Acevedo
Dealing with stress at some point is inevitable for drivers of work trucks, and the cause of stress is different for everyone. A stressor could be the inability to find a rest stop as quickly as needed, making a tight turn, delivering on time, inclement weather, standstill traffic, detours, or dealing with other drivers on the road.
It’s important that drivers make note of their typical stressors before they begin their workday. It might help to think back to a recent trip to recall if there was anything that caused stress and associated emotions. After reflecting on those events, drivers should think about how they felt, what got them worked up, and what they did to resolve the situation. Drivers should then think about a better solution, what could have been communicated more efficiently with the dispatcher, what was within their control, and what could have been done to avoid it. When drivers reflect on a situation before encountering their next task, it can help prevent or reduce future mishaps and moments of stress.
TRUST YOUR DISPATCHER
Communicating effectively with dispatchers and leadership ensures that deliveries are made on time and that drivers get in and out of docks as quickly as possible once they arrive to their destination. Stress is often a result of drivers running behind schedule, which could be due to lack of proactive communication, proper updates, and asking the right questions of the dispatcher.
A haul can go seamless and stress free when the driver trusts their dispatcher. For instance, if the driver isn’t familiar with the area where the dispatcher is a local, the dispatcher may know a better shortcut than the driver or even the GPS. Drivers need to trust that the dispatcher will get them to the delivery location as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible. This can alleviate a lot of stress.
STRESSORS AND WAYS TO AVOID THEM
Trying to find a rest stop to pull over and take a break can also cause stress. Often, it’s not easy for drivers to pull over or find rest stops quickly. This is why it’s important drivers pre-route their trips with the help of their dispatcher to identify and predict at what point within their trip they’ll need to take a break and find the nearest rest point.
Traffic for any driver is a cause of stress, especially when you have a large truck to manage on the road. If it’s possible, companies can schedule deliveries during times that avoid traffic; for instance, early morning or midafternoon.
Change in weather also causes stress because drivers need to adjust driving habits and be aware of the various weather patterns that could impact their trip. Some companies, such as PetroChoice, provide relevant and extensive training for drivers with each changing season so that drivers are prepared for whatever they may face on the road.
Before you head out on the road, take a moment to reflect on what caused stress during past trips. Discuss these issues with your dispatcher, then plan your route with your dispatcher to determine the most efficient and safe time and route to travel.
Although things happen that you can’t always plan for, following these tips, along with a little patience, will make your drive less stressful and more enjoyable.
About the author
Marilena Acevedo is the vice president of human resources at PetroChoice, a national lubricant distributor with a proprietary fleet of drivers and trucks.