This is a contributor’s blogpost …
Finding the career path that works best for you isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Education prepares us mostly for working in the offices and labs of the world, while the other options seem to be learning a trade. But there are more careers out there than we give credit and if you love (or can tolerate) spending a lot of time on the road, then that just might be where you find yours. Here are a few questions worth asking yourself and a few risks you need to navigate if you’re thinking about a career on wheels.
First of all, let’s think about the different career options that actually exist out there for drivers. Trucking is maybe the most obvious one, an industry that’s in demand, and one that can be especially lucrative if you’re willing to do it internationally or in conflict zones, but that’s clearly not for everyone. Nowadays, it’s become a lot easier to become a freelance driver, whether it’s through working in partnership with apps like Lyft and Uber, or it’s working a courier helping to deliver packages all across the country. For those with more technical driving skills (and a taste for thrills) stunt driving is a perfectly legitimate career choice too.
If you’re not going for stunt driving, then learning how to be safe on those particularly long journeys is an essential skill worth learning. After all, there’s a lot more work for those willing to travel long distances than those who stick to operate in one small area. One of the greatest dangers that all career drivers need to be aware of is the risk of driving fatigue, as shown by Nationwide Insurance. It can happen at any time, and it’s best fought in advance. For instance, you should never start a shift on the road without having had an eight-hour sleep the night before. When you’re on the road, instead of trying to fight the fatigue, know when you need to take a break.
Working on the road might seem like it involves the same thing day-in, day-out. Yes, driving might comprise the vast majority of your working day, but it’s not as straightforward as you might imagine. Working on the road requires adaptability. Sometimes you have to be able to work with an office crew that can add sudden changes to your schedule. You have to know how to cope with driving in adverse weather that you might otherwise avoid. You could end up taking a necessary detour if the road you planned on using happens to be closed. Not to mention, you have to plan for downtime in advance with long drives as sometimes you might end up driving for hours without a valid rest spot in sight.
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Be prepared for some odd hours
Driving for hours is very much a key theme of driving as a career. If you work as a taxi driver, whether for a taxi firm or one of the mobile app companies, you have a lot more control over those hours. If you’re a courier or a truck driver, however, you could be driving distances that take all day, if not even longer. There are laws governing how many hours an employer can ask you to drive, which are well-worth being familiar with to ensure you’re not being taken advantage of. Otherwise, you should get used to long work days interspersed with long breaks from work. It can add a strain to relationships and family life that must be considered.
The sedentary nature of most careers is becoming a serious health concern with links between spending all day sitting and heart disease, obesity, even stress and diabetes. Of course, driving involves sitting just as much as a desk job does, so you have to be prepared to find little ways to keep yourself healthy while on the road. Take the opportunity when you have breaks not just to nap or eat but get up, stretch, and walk around. Avoid easy, gas station food and try to pack healthy options in advance. There are even light stretches and exercises you can do on the road without having to take your focus off the task at hand.
Know the real dangers
Indeed, that focus is a key element of keeping you safe. Drowsiness isn’t the only dangerous factor on the road, you have to be aware of the other drivers out there as well. Even in long journeys, you have to keep your eyes sharp and practice defensive driving at all times. In long-distance driving, you might even find yourself facing truck drivers more often, who can be some of the riskiest drivers of all. It’s a good idea to have legal assistance like Craig Swapp & Associates waiting in the wings for the likelihood of an accident, especially with said truck drivers. You are at more risk than most drivers since you spend more time on the road, after all.
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Loneliness can be a factor
When driving far distances and long hours, there is a serious health concern that’s not addressed often enough. Loneliness can be a major contributor to mental health issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety, and in a lot of cases, it’s not viable for a driver to bring someone with them. Instead, it’s a lot better to find ways to cope with that loneliness and to stay in contact as much as you can. Some people can operate perfectly fine in isolation, but if you’re an extrovert who thrives in social environments, then perhaps the only kind of driving career suitable for you is in transporting people for Uber or Lyft.
A career in driving can be lucrative, it can be reliable, and it can even be fun if you love driving. But there are threats to your safety, your personal life, and the industries that you need to be aware of. Don’t spin off into the distance without seriously considering them.