Although truck driving with a child at home may seem wildly unfeasible, there are a number of ways to balance working on the roads and raising a family without compromising on the important moments in their lives. Truck driving has long been considered a stable, respected, and lucrative industry to work in, but many potential truck drivers can be put off by what they perceive as a challenging career to balance with family life. For seasoned drivers, recently qualified CDL holders, and those considering switching to a career in trucking, read on to learn about some of the ways in which you can be there for your child while earning a living while truck driving on America’s roads.
Truck Driving With a Child at Home or on the Way- You’ve Got Options
Truck driving has a reputation as a solitary endeavor, with weeks spent on the open road and only the odd night or weekend back in your hometown. Existing truck drivers who are about to become parents, or parents considering a new and challenging career in haulage should keep open-minded about the realities of the industry. Most truck drivers don’t exactly operate on a 9-5 schedule, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t make time for a young family. A job truck driving with a child and partner is entirely feasible, and thousands of drivers make it work every year. You have a lot of options to find your ideal work/life balance.
Bring Them Along for the Ride
Seeing America from the perspective of its expressways, industrial hubs, and freeways can be profoundly formative for a child, especially for an extended trip with a parent. Many contemporary truckers spent stretches of the summer or long weekends joining parents, grandparents, or uncles behind the wheel, listening to the radio, and enjoying the ride. Many turned to trucking themselves later in life and understand how meaningful those memories were to them.
If you must make trips during the holiday season or summers when your child isn’t in school, bring them along for the journey. You’ll find that driving with your child in the cab can be a great way to strengthen the parent/child bond. It is an efficient way to get those formative family road trip memories while on the clock, and seeing your usual route through your child’s eyes could give you a whole new perspective of your profession.
Before buckling the kiddo in, remember to check in with your carrier regarding riders. Some jobs come equipped with rider policies, while others must be negotiated after a few years of work with the carrier. Many companies have restrictions in place for a minimum passenger age, so be sure to brush up on your carrier’s specific rules before letting them know your interest in traveling with your child. Note that you may have to do some negotiations regarding insurance, or sign a waiver releasing the company from blame in the case of an accident.
Remember that your child’s safety should be your first priority. Make sure all seat belts will be able to hold them in and make sure to give them a safety briefing about the rules of the rig before hitting the road.
Age requirements will vary per state or company on children riding in the trucks so please check to make sure that you are in compliance.
Consider Short-Haul Work
The image most people conjure up when they think of the truck driving experience is lengthy stretches on the blacktop, traversing the country from coast to coast with days in between returning home. The reality is that while long trips can be lucrative, plenty of smaller local firms need hauling as well. There is plenty of work for drivers who aren’t interested in the thousand-mile plus runs. Everything from constructing to logging, road-building to waste disposal requires short trips of only a few dozen miles.
If you’ve ever seen trucks bringing building materials like sand or gravel to a building site, you can bet that those materials didn’t make the journey across the continental United States. The chances are the driver brought them from a depot on the outskirts of town and makes half a dozen of those runs a day. There’s plenty of work like this to be had for hardworking, professional drivers whose lifestyle doesn’t work with weeks away from home at a time.
Look for Regional Work
There are a lot of opportunities for work that keeps drivers in the same region, allowing them to head home and sleep under the same roof most days a week, with the occasional overnighter. Bearing in mind that most truckers are restricted to driving at 65 miles per hour, you can still clock up a respectable 520 miles just driving from nine to five every day. For example, a New Orleans-based driver could drop their child off at school on a Monday, drive to Austin, and be back Tuesday evening to make them dinner and take them to school Wednesday morning. That round trip clocks in at 1,040 miles and a lot of cash in your pocket. Although you might not be able to tuck your child into bed every single day of the week, you can still clock in thousands of miles and be home for family time. Additionally, with the stability of a steady trucking payslip, this kind of schedule will allow you to make the most of weekends with your family, rather than having to hustle every free hour to make ends meet.
You Can Be Successful Truck Driving with a Child
No two drivers will have the same experience truck driving with a child. For some, keeping your child at home could be the safest option for them. Others may be able to handle juggling parental and trucking life at the same time. You will have to look at the financial and emotional needs of your family and communicate with them to figure out what methods will be right for all of you. This is a challenge both veteran and new drivers alike must face every day, so know you are not alone.
If you are a parent considering joining the trucking industry, the Truck Driving Institute can provide speedy instruction to get you out on the road quicker. With our focus on job placement, we’ll be able to match you up with a carrier partner who understands that you are a parent, first and foremost, and can accommodate your family’s needs. Check out our website to find out more about our placement and financial aid programs for new drivers ready to share the country with their families.
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