As I said last week there is not much information out there about "How to be a Trucker-wife" or how to make this life easier on yourself and your family. It took a while after my husband started OTR to get a handle on things and to be content with this decision. At the time I had wished there was somebody there to give me advice in the beginning, maybe it would not have taken me so long to accept this life and make the most of it!
So I decided to comprise a list of tips for new trucker-wives and how to handle the transition easier. This list can also be useful if your significant other has any job away from home.
Last week I discussed the importance of developing a support system. This week I will continue on with this series and talk a little about the trucking industry.
So here goes, tip #2...
Learn All About the Trucking Industry
When A left for training neither of us (especially me) knew much about how the trucking industry worked. My knowledge on this topic was very limited and caused a lot of misunderstandings.
I advise both of you to sit down and talk about how it all works. Let him explain to you what he does all day, how getting loaded and unloaded and his "Hours of Service" work.
I was under the assumption he loaded up someplace, drove to where he was to unload, unloaded quickly, slept the night, and then did it all again the next day. Simple as that. Little did I know it is not quite like that. I did not understand why he was not making it home when he originally said he would.
For one thing, there are rules and regulations that truck driver's have to abide by. One of these is the "Hours of Service" (HOS) regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. HOS regulations were adopted for the main purpose of preventing vehicle accidents caused by driver fatigue. These regulations limit the amount of hours drivers may spend working and/or driving and require drivers to take a minimum rest period.
These regulations are a necessities and without them your husband's career would be very dangerous to him and others on the road. While these make driving safer, it also can cause complications for getting home. This combined with traffic and weather conditions will cause delays on getting home more often than not (at least with my experience.) Even if your significant other is only 15 miles down the road, if his clock runs out, he is forced to shut it down.
I have researched these regulations and I am still not exactly sure how it all works but I know that a driver's time "on-duty", not necessarily driving, is also accounted for. Which means, if he is stuck at a location getting loaded for hours, this time "on-duty" is also counted towards the HOS, therefore creating another roadblock in getting home.
It is not fun being excited all day for your husband to come home, only to get a call that he is not going to make it. In the beginning this would thoroughly piss me off. I did not understand what he was going through and all the roadblocks he encountered trying to make it home. After talking more and understanding how this lifestyle operates, it was easier for me to accept these surprises.
I have only touched on one topic of the trucking industry, I am still learning myself. There are many more topics you and your spouse need to discuss to get a grasp on a better understanding of his work-day. Communication is key and will create a long lasting relationship.
For more information on the trucking industry click on the following links...
US Dept. of Transportation: Summary of HOS
Layover.com : Day in the Life of a Trucker
Truckingtruth.com : OTR The Life of a Long-Haul Truck Driver