Bringing Riders and Pets Over The Road
For some truckers, the open road can get lonely and it can seem like the empty seat next to you is a million miles away.
There are plenty of ways to combat loneliness on the open road – listening to your favorite song, taking a break and sitting down at a diner with folks, calling your loved ones – but nothing can quite replace having someone as your co-pilot.
Luckily for truck drivers, many carriers and trucking companies realize the isolation that may occur on the road and are willing to help drivers out by instating rider policies, allowing drivers to take their loved ones along with them. Rider programs and policies vary by company and length of route, but many names in the trucking industry want to help out drivers keep their sanity on the road.
So… Can I Bring Them Along, Too?
While rider policies are wholly dependent on the trucking company, many companies that do offer rider policies require a driver to establish themselves first. This generally means that a driver will need to put in 6 months to a year of safe and reliable driving before the company will legally allow them to bring someone along in the cab.
When a driver does get established as a driver, however, the rider policy still may have some restrictions. Drivers are generally not allowed to have more than one passenger at any given time, and many carriers must establish some sort of relation to the driver other than simply “friend.” This generally means that companies will allow riders who are spouses, children, and other close relations to the driver themselves.
Additionally, many trucking companies may have further restrictions for riders including (but not limited to) that they must be age 18 or older and be in good standing with their health. Drivers and riders may also be charged an additional fee for insurance purposes or they may be asked to sign some sort of waiver for riding
We’re On The Road… Now What?
Many riders on the road realize that they are, in fact, accompanying someone to their job.
It’s highly important for riders - whether they are children or partners of the driver - to understand the environment they are going into is not one for leisure, but for business. Riders can prove to be a distraction for some truck drivers, making it difficult to “entertain” their passengers while still focusing intently on the job at hand.
Some drivers may also be required to unload freight and interact with their clients– something that only the driver can handle because they are covered by the company to do so. Otherwise, drivers may have to engage with clients and conduct some sort of customer service.
Otherwise, riders and drivers can have a great time on the road together. The cure for loneliness may be as simple as having someone in the seat next you – and it’s likely that while a driver is on the road, they see their empty seat at home and miss them, too. Bringing along a rider is a great way to experience parts of the country and routes in a scenic way, and allows for a loved one to see what a driver’s daily routine is like.
What About My Dog?
There are several trucking companies that allow drivers to bring along their four-legged friends as well. Many dogs and drivers get the opportunity to unite on the road and keep one another company.
However, many pets must also meet specific restrictions – certain weight limits, breeds, and verified vaccines must be met before a pet is approved to ride.
Brining along a pet is wholly dependent on the route as well, as no one wants to bring along their animal that cannot handle an over the road route or a run that will make them uneasy. Drivers ought to do the best to ensure that their pets aren’t effectively being punished for coming along – giving them a space that is similar to a space in their home.
There are even some instances in which trucking companies will allow their drivers to bring along their cats, if they prefer to do so. This also brings along a new level of logistics in-cab, but many drivers have found a way to make it work.
Tips For Riders – People and Pets
- Make sure you have a conversation with your rider about your routine and give them a realistic snapshot of your day so they aren’t surprised on the road
- If making an overnight run, configure a sleeping situation that works for everyone. Drivers need to maximize their sleep on the road and might look into double bunks or a way that ensures a solid night of rest.
- Plan out a route in advance with stops for your passenger (and pet) that include realistic breaks for food, water, and using the restroom.
- For pets: make sure that they have something to occupy them such as toys or treats so they can face anxiety on the road.
- Have fun with it! As a driver lucky enough to have a policy, you’ve got the ultimate chance to waylay boredom and solitude. Let you loved one and/or pet know how much you miss them on the road and make the best of your time.