Over-the-road trucking often requires long periods away from home, with isolation going hand-in-hand with independence. So how do truck drivers stay connected to friends and family? We asked some professionals how they stay in touch with loved ones while on the job.
Local driver and Ask A Veteran Driver founder Joan Elizabeth Raby from Ohio shared this sweet story: “When I first started trucking 10 years ago, I wrote postcards to family and friends. They really love pictures from all over the country and as handwritten notes are sort of a thing of the past, it meant a lot to them. When my dear artist friend Glenn passed away, they told me that they found all of the postcards I had ever written him underneath his pillow.”
Tennessee owner-operator Matthew Velasquez said he primarily uses Facebook and a platform called Discord, a free chat app for gamers, to keep up with friends and family.
Facebook groups are also a way for drivers to stay connected to one another. We have also heard that Sharae Moore’s SheTrucking Sisterhood provides mentorship and guidance for women in trucking, while Shelle Lichte’s LGBT Truckers gives a safe space for those in the industry who identify as LGBTQ+.
Instagram is another popular social channel for communication. Alex Butz, an owner-operator from Corona, California, leans on Instagram to document his experiences on the road by sharing photos and videos of the places he travels to during work.
Nic Richelle, who team drives with her wife Carla, leverages app technology to watch out for their children: “One of the best ways is Life360, a family locator app which helps keep track of your teenagers and make sure they’re where they’re supposed to be.”
Long-time driver Sandford Hall of Louisville says he uses FaceTime to stay in touch with loved ones, but he recalls a time when he had nothing but payphones at his disposal: “Me and my wife went days without talking. I might be in California, and she might be asleep by the time I’m able to call her. When she was up, I was driving.”
Driver Michael DeMarco from New York relies on face-to-face communication as well—even when he’s on the job. “I use video calling to talk to my wife and daughter,” he said. “I never use texting or messaging for any lengthy conversations.”
These days, no truck driver works without a mobile phone. Driver Kevin Payne from Albuquerque says he has cell phone service almost everywhere in the US but uses a signal booster to make sure he can stay connected, even in remote areas.
While Georgia-based owner-operator Sammy Lloyd is on the road, he makes time to call his close friends every week. Setting a schedule eliminates the phone tag!
Brad Henley, a driver and fleet owner from Wisconsin, also sticks to a rotating phone schedule with his wife and teenage daughters. At night “we talk about our day, what chores are expected,” he said. “And in the mornings, we set aside time to pray as a family.”
Many over-the-road truck drivers document their day-to-day through YouTube channels. Alex Butz also uses it to communicate with friends and family in real time with “a camera that does a live feed on YouTube.” Viewers can then comment live on topics or places while he’s streaming, making them feel like they’re part of his journey.
Xavres Good, an owner-operator from Mississippi, has fun with unannounced visits on the road. “If I know I’m going to a city where I have family or friends sometimes I want to tell them,” he said. Other times, “I would just go and then let them know once I’m there. A lot of times that shows you who your real friends are!”
Brad Henley also takes his daughters in the truck with him for at least a week each year. “This is fun for all of us,” he said, “but it also has led to an appreciation of what it’s like to live on the road as much as I do.”
The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the individual being featured. Experiences may vary.