Monday, April 22, 2013

10 Tips for New Trucker Wives : Learn all about the Trucking Industry

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

11 comments:

  1. I have been a trucker's girlfriend and now wife since 07. We have been through all the paper logs, and now doing electronic (which is far easier to understand). I didn't know you were here to help. If I had someone to tell me this when I first started dating him then it would be easier. Thank you for putting this out there for the new drivers/family.

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    1. Thank you for your comment! It is reassuring knowing that other wives out there are finding my blog and actually reading it!! I haven't been able to keep up like I like to this week due to my toddler being sick! Yuck! Again thank you so much! :)

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  2. Thank your for these post. My husband left at the beginning of April and is in his second week of what the company calls "phase 1". You are not kidding when you say there isn't a lot of info out there for a truckers wife! I will definitely be linking your blog to my own!

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    1. Sorry its taken me so long to reply! I have had a lot going on recently! Thank you for reading and if you haven't already find me on facebook search for "Roll On Momma Blog"

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  3. I'm truck drivers wife been dating 6 years and married for 1 year. The company he works for now hauls tankers according to the seasons. Now that it's cold out he hauls propane and there is a shortage on it due to the cold weather - so there is no logging just trucking. He's been gone since after Christmas and won't be back until Jan 18 when we go on vacation. I'm ok with him being gone during the week and home on weekends since he obviously cannot make money at home but being gone weeks on end its very depressing. I recently talked to a marriage counscelor of course had to go alone cause he's always gone. My 3 choices were to accept it, due something about it (divorce) or compromise. Well I didn't get married to be alone 90% of time, don't want divorce, and my husband says he has no choice he has to go and do what dispatch says. He does make excellent money, but to me it's just not worth it. Any suggestions?

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    1. Hello I am also a girlfriend to a truck driver and like most we are both new to this. I totally get what you are going through. I believe the two main things are to except it and learn different ways to keep yourself occupied. We do plan on getting married next year to BUT it is getting hard. Fortunately he is only gone during the week and home on the weekends. There are some things that are helping me get by 1. I do think about the other wives who don't have there husbands for up to 3-4 weeks or even a few months and only home for one week, I have to be more grateful. 2. stay busy take up new hobby's visit family and if you have kids I know its even harder we have 3 little ones. Include the kids on new activities and adventures the point of all this is to just past time till he gets home and also to keep yourself and your family healthy an moving forward. I'm trying not to look at it as just an obligation but just a different way of living. we just have to re adapt I guess you can say. I hope this helps someone cause I know its a challenge every day.

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  4. Hi, I was married to my husband for 26 years. For 20 of those years he owned a truck and was gone 5 days a week. When he started driving he was 6'1" tall and weighed 195 lbs. and had no health problems. When he stopped driving due to health issues he weighed 320 lbs. His health issues began with high blood pressure and cholesterol. He had heart bypass surgery at 43 years of age. The last health issue which ended his life was diabetes. I have worked 47 years full time and recently retired. It has been difficult being alone but he loved the job and that's the price we paid. We both worked the day we got married in Baltimore, MD - - married at the courthouse and shared a cup of coffee. He got back in the truck and I went back to work. In the beginning he was gone for long periods of time so we moved to Toledo, OH. We were able to buy a house in a small town south of Toledo with a lot next to the house for parking the truck. He wanted to work until the day he dropped and that's what happened. I came home from work and saw his van in the driveway. I knew something was wrong because he never missed work. I found him laying on the sofa the day after his birthday. I could not wake him up and called 911 but nothing could be done - - he went to sleep and never woke up. He said our home was "our little piece of heaven." Well here I am waiting to join him some day. The only family I have is 2 older sisters in TX. At one point he asked me to promise if something happened to him I would not get involved with another trucker. We were unable to have children and the cost for adoption was too high. I miss looking forward to the weekend and the holidays are difficult. Best wishes to everyone and I will keep you in my prayers.

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  5. Thanks for sharing! It's cool that you're willing to share your experiences with others. I can't imagine being the wife of a trucker. I could only bet that it's really tricky. I respect you and other wives for being willing to let your husbands leave for extended periods of time. Trucking is such an important job in today's world. http://www.ashtontransport.com/en/general_hauling_services.html

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  6. Thank you for this blog. I am in a new relationship with a 30-year veteran truck driver. My previous marriage was with a military member. While there is an abundance of information and support for the military family, I have noticed a dearth of support for the trucking family. I was very pleased when I found this and it seems like the industry is catching on to the needs out there. I am hoping for long relationship with my friend and I feel like the strength of it will come from a solid understanding of his livelihood. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences...

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  7. Great blog, the tips will surely help new truck drivers to enhance their driving skills. As truck drivers have to do a very rigorous work and it is surly appreciated.

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  8. What is the process to become a CDL certified truck driver?
    professional truck driver

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