Long-haul Driving And Boredom

Topic 7932 | Page 1

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Ian B.'s Comment
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Hi all, I've got a somewhat odd question for all of you, but I am being totally serious. I'm a journalist writing for a video game news site. There's a video game that is frequently described as "trucking in space," so we thought, well, let's find some truck drivers and ask them. How do you deal with boredom on the road? If you've got 5 hours to drive between nowhere and nothing, how do you pass the time? Any insights will be much appreciated.

Thank you!

Ian

Amy P.'s Comment
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Great Answer!

I remember one time seeing a postcard at a rest stop that was just a black rectangle. On the back of it it said, "Indiana at night." I laughed hard, because outside of the cities, that is completely true.

The way I keep myself from being bored during uneventful times is with music, books on tape, and an almost cinematic imagination. I avoid talk radio like the plague. Seems to me as it's designed to get blood pressure boiling and that's not a good place for me to be in while hauling. The last thing the world needs is me sitting on 80,000lbs with a bad case of righteous indignation towards my fellow Americans.

As others said, if it really gets too tedious, then it's time to pull over and get out of the seat. I don't know how that will translate to "truckers in space," but it seems to be a general rule that the folks drawn to this job tend to deal well with solitude. However, if you're looking for characterizations, some of us tend to morph into near compulsive talkers when we finally do get around folks. Not me tho. Nu uh. Not at all.

Old School's Comment
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Great Answer!

I don't know if there is a possible correlation between "trucking in space" and travelling this nations highways. I've never been bored for a single moment. This is a job that requires intense concentration, and personally I think that those who don't possess that ability probably don't last long at it. There is so much to see and be aware of as you are traversing the roads in an 80,000 pound vehicle that is about seventy feet long and bends in the middle, that boredom would be detrimental to your safety and well being. A professional driver has got to be constantly aware of all the different spaces around him, including above and below him, and constantly trying to anticipate what others around him are about to do that the only way boredom is going to overtake him is if he's slacking up on his responsibility to be on the alert.

Now, I'm not going to be critical of those who enjoy books on CD or stuff like that, but for me it is just too much additional stuff for me to process at the same time when I'm driving. Those type of things actually wear me out more quickly. Maybe I'm just a person who is "all in" when I'm committed to doing something - I'm intense about my work and adding in the additional things to process at the same time just has a tiring effect on me.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Christina H.'s Comment
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Books on tape, talk radio, music, watching the scenery and paying attention to the road and my driving!

Ian B.'s Comment
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Thanks Christina! How long have you been driving? Are there any routes in particular that are really, really boring?

Christina H.'s Comment
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You should wait for some more replies. I haven't driven OTR since 1998. I will tell you that, for me the 500 miles across Nebraska on the I-80 were the most boring, though some of the other Great Plains states tend to be a drag also. Everywhere else the changes of scenery and landscape were always breathtakingly beautiful to me, so not boring at all.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Jopa's Comment
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Hi all, I've got a somewhat odd question for all of you, but I am being totally serious. I'm a journalist writing for a video game news site. There's a video game that is frequently described as "trucking in space," so we thought, well, let's find some truck drivers and ask them. How do you deal with boredom on the road? If you've got 5 hours to drive between nowhere and nothing, how do you pass the time? Any insights will be much appreciated.

Thank you!

Ian

Believe it or not, there is not much boredom on the road ... number one is that it takes a lot of concentration and attention to keep a rig running down the road safely ... even in open country this is the case but once the traffic starts to get thick or you come into a town or city, the attention to detail is critical ... even as you gain experience, things become more automatic but you still have a huge responsibility to those you are sharing the road with and a small mistake can have disastrous results ... then there is the beautiful country you are passing through ... this is such a beautiful country, it really hard to be jaded by the scenery ... and you have all of those 4-wheelers that never cease to amaze how stupid and unconscious they are ... literally, truckers have to do things to SAVE lives all of the time to make up for the ridiculous things 4-wheelers do without a thought ... then there is all sorts of electronic entertainment available ... from talking to fellow truckers on the headset to listing to music to books on tape (I spend a lot of time listening to Bible studies - it's a wonderful use of time) and many of these things allow you to still be very astute about your driving ... between training and driving, I have close to 90,000 miles on me, have been to 47 of the lower 48 and crossed from coast-to-coast 16 times ... haven't been bored yet ...

Jopa

smile.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Ian B.'s Comment
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Thanks Jopa and Christina. So, the idea that boredom is a huge problem: is that a common misconception?

David L.'s Comment
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Thanks Jopa and Christina. So, the idea that boredom is a huge problem: is that a common misconception?

Ian, I'm pretty new at this OTR thing but boredom has not been an issue. As Joppa said, other drivers do their best to keep the adrenaline flowing. wtf-2.gif

Night driving is potentially the time boredom and complacency could set in. I've done early AM a few times and the lower traffic volume can lull a driver into a false sense of safety. But, throw in fog, rain, or construction and the awareness definitely takes a tic UP!

My son enjoys the night runs and uses music to keep his mind active. I use a white-noise machine to mask the music when I'm in the sleeper. I'm surprised how quickly I adapted to sleeping in the truck as our highways are often very rough and noisy with expansion joints and potholes creating their own symphony of sound and motion!

Boredom is a pretty good indicator that you need some home time or at least some quality time out of the left seat to recharge.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

J. Snow's Comment
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I'm just beginning school and I can tell you that being bored is not really a concern of mine going into this new career. Everything they said-plus I know that I'm going to be learning from mistak.. er I mean experiences all day, every day. :)

Jopa's Comment
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Thanks Jopa and Christina. So, the idea that boredom is a huge problem: is that a common misconception?

I would say "Yes" to that statement ... I remember when I was contemplating the lifestyle (notice I didn't say "job") and one of my concerns was if it would be too boring ... I needn't have been concerned - like I said, haven't been bored yet ... I HAVE been too sleepy to continue to drive and had to pull over and sleep for safety's sake, but that was because of physically being too sleepy to be safe and not really from boredom ...

Jopa

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Ian B.'s Comment
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Thank you, everyone, for the great responses.

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