Driving in the wintertime has its challenges for commercial truck drivers. Not only is the weather unpredictable and dangerous, but the season also carries with it those holidays that make being away from home just a bit more difficult. We asked one of our drivers, Miguel, to give us his advice for taking advantage of driving through Christmas and driving in winter overall.
Save Up and Slow Down
Miguel emphasized the importance of saving money and driving harder in the summer.
“In Summertime, there’s work to do. You’ll be making good money from April to November. Push hard. But in Christmas time, you better slow down because it’s dangerous. Around Christmas time, you’re not going to make the same money. You might make similar to the amount you make in summer, but not all the time. Once you hit winter, you have the savings.”
Just like your speed, freight slows down in the winter. When the weather turns cold and roads form black ice, freight is influenced in ways similar to the economic effects of hurricane. This can be a tough sell for drivers living paycheck to paycheck, especially if their week’s mileage drops. Miguel suggests not only to save money in the good time, the summertime, but also look to the last four weeks of pay instead of just the current paycheck.
“I don’t look at my weekly wage. Every week, I will look at the last four weeks together. That way I have an idea of how much is my average. It’s easy to get frustrated real fast with a bad load, say 300 miles. It happened with me a lot. I thought, okay, I will push hard no matter what they give me. But then they give you something better. Then they give you this 2,000-mile run, and then you’re good.”
Get out of your Truck
Sure, driving can get lonely over the holidays, but there’s also that bright side of what you’re actually doing. You’re moving the country. Drivers have some opportunities that most folks do not; they see the country and they’re paid while doing it. Planning ahead and getting yourself out of the truck when you have the time can go a long way for perking up any winter blues.
“How much it gonna cost you yourself for that $300 or $400 for flight, Uber, taxi, hotel and all that? We got it all right here. We got the truck, we got the fuel paid, company pay for me to get there. You just want to look for these opportunities and take advantage of it.”
“Don’t just think, ‘I’m by myself, I miss my family.’ – Which is true. You probably do. But you’re seeing places, you’re going places, you’re doing things, and you’re making good money while you’re doing it with Melton. That’s kinda cool. And you’re not spending money, you’re making money with flatbed. ”
“You can do research when you’re doing your 30 minute break. Call to see if they do parking for trucks, or if there are places to spend the night. No showers? Then you know to stop at truck stop and get a shower on your way through. That way you can do whatever you want once you get there. Get as close as possible to your delivery point. That way you have more time the next day. Don’t wait until the last moment to try and figure it out, plan ahead.”
Make it work for you
“You have to think about it. You’re by yourself. That’s quality time you want to invest in yourself. If you’re not making you happy, who’s gonna make it? You have to realize. I’m here, I’m alone. I’m by myself, but I’m in this place. Let’s say Las Vegas on Christmas time. Can I rent an Uber or catch a bus, and go over there, take some photos, eat some decent food and then come back to my truck and keep going with my life the way it is. You have the choice. You have to work on it. ”
Miguel’s a social guy, and he enjoys getting out, taking pictures, and meeting new folks. That may not be you! You know best what you want and need. Give yourself some quality time to do what you like this season.