How to Make Life Easier for Truckers and Families
Life on the road can be tough for the trucker and his or her family. The truck driver is away from home missing his or her family, while the family is at home, trying to keep things as “normal” as possible.
Both the truck driver and the family may wish for things to be different, but the truth is, driving a truck is an important job that affects just about everyone in our nation. The American Trucking Association (ATA) states that, “nearly 70% of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. goes on trucks. Without the industry and our truck drivers, the economy would come to a standstill,” (ATA, 2013). A truck driver’s job is vital to our economy and daily life in general, so how can you make things a little bit easier at home?
First and foremost, communication is key for a healthy relationship! This is true for any relationship, but if you think about it, communication is the only connection you have with your trucker while he or she is on the road. Here is a list of tips to help you communicate with your driver and cope while your driver is on the road.
Tips for communication:
1.Put some ART in your relationship.
- Appreciation: Both people in the relationship need to appreciate the role each person plays.
- Be sure to avoid the “who has it worse” game. No one wins!
- Respect: Remember respect is best earned when it is given.
- Trust: No healthy relationship can exist without trust.
2.Pay attention to what your driver is saying.
- He or she needs to know that you care.
- Listen for the feelings the driver is trying to communicate (i.e. excited, worried, and frustrated).
- Validating and supporting what he or she is saying does not mean you agree, it means that you can understand and recognize what they are feeling.
3.Ask for clarification if you don’t understand something he or she is saying.
4.Use “I” messages when you respond.
- “You” messages suggest blame and escalate conflict. Each person is responsible for his/her actions, thoughts, feelings, etc.
5.Use texts and emails to send pictures from home. This helps the driver feel connected and loved.
6.Talk with your trucker regularly about daily experiences and life at home.
7.Talk about plans for when the driver comes home and listen for his or her input on plans, so that you can agree.
ATA (2013). Reports, Trends, & Statistics.