Mental health issues affect a large percentage of the American workforce, but few occupations lend themselves to stress and other issues more than trucking. FleetOwner notes that one major mental health issue, known as burnout, can affect a large percentage of those who make their living driving.
Burnout has many facets, and when drivers learn to identify them, they may then take steps to seek out resources and coping strategies that may improve their mental health as they carry out their driving duties.
Feelings of persistent exhaustion
One major sign of truck driver burnout that may contribute to the greater risk of accidents is a feeling of persistent tiredness or exhaustion. Unlike tiredness resolved by restful sleep, exhaustion may present in a variety of ways, including:
- A consistent lack of energy
- Increased feelings of stress
- Feeling mentally tired even after resting
Persistent exhaustion may have an especially negative effect on drivers who travel long distances alone.
Because burnout has so many different aspects, truck drivers may not recognize all of its symptoms, such as depression. Feeling hopeless, sad and frustrated can affect driver performance and cause slower reaction times, which may contribute to accidents that cause injury or death to drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles that share the road with 18-wheelers.
Increased job dissatisfaction
Burnout can lead to inefficacy, or feeling unsatisfied and stuck in one’s job. This symptom may occur when a job offers little chance for personal or professional growth, causing those affected to feel frustrated or bored, which could result in reduced safety standards.
Trucking employers can prevent burnout in their employees by providing them with mental health resources and coping skills that may keep them feeling more alert and increase their sense of well-being.