Many truck drivers have questions regarding bringing family members, such as a spouse or child, on the road with them. Are truckers able to bring family along when driving over-the-road?
In short, the answer is: most of the time. Different factors do impact the ability to bring riders. There are several things to consider when thinking about bringing a girlfriend or child along for the ride.
Can truckers bring their wives/girlfriends?
Bringing your spouse or girlfriend along for the ride might sound like a dream, but there are several things to think about before hopping in and firing up your rig.
First things first: You must check with your company regarding their rider policy. Ask them if there are any special requirements or restrictions when it comes to bringing along your significant other. (Most of the time, marriage is not a requirement.)
Some trucking companies restrict riders due to insurance reasons. However, if you own your own truck and provide your own insurance, that is something you can address with your insurance provider directly.
Many companies will not allow new drivers to bring a girlfriend or wife over-the-road. Often, after a period of six months or so, you can revisit the option of bringing a companion. There are a few companies out there that do allow a spouse/girlfriend immediately after training is complete. Just make sure to check with the company you work for directly.
Once you get the “go ahead” for bringing along your girlfriend, you both will likely have to sign a waiver releasing the trucking company from all liability should something happen while on the road. Your company will also probably provide you with a document to take with you, stating that they have approved her riding with you.
So, once you decide to take the leap, what are the pros and cons of bringing your significant other along for the ride? There are things to consider, even if your company allows a rider.
While it can sound like a romantic adventure, cramped living quarters and tight driving schedules can be challenging for some couples. For many women, who are not adjusted to the ins-and-outs of trucking, the new lifestyle can come as quite a shock.
Small spaces, limited food choices, and truck-stop showers can be tough to get used to for quite a few women. Also, 24/7 companionship, with no alone time, is often uncharted territory for both the driver and the rider.
However, taking your girlfriend along can have many positives. Having a rider that can help with navigation is a huge plus for many drivers. She can also help grab snacks if you’re in a real time-crunch, or even respond to dispatch if you’re in heavy traffic.
Many couples do enjoy bonding during this time and appreciate getting to see new areas of the country together. It really can be an adventure, if everyone involved understands what they’re signing up for.
Remember, check with your company and make sure to follow all requirements they have set before bringing your special someone along for the trip.
Are kids allowed to ride in the truck?
If you’ve spent any time at all around truck stops, you might have seen children of different ages riding with their parent(s) in a big truck. When thinking about bringing along your tot, there are a few things to think about first.
It is important to note that there are currently no state or federal laws prohibiting babies, toddlers, or children from riding in a semi-truck.
Since we now know there are no specific laws, the next thing you’ll want to consider is your company’s policy on children riding along. You will want to check with them on any restrictions they may have regarding children.
Some companies have age limitations and other parameters to consider, often due to insurance restrictions. If you are an owner/operator and manage your own insurance, you’ll contact your insurance company directly.
If your company agrees that your child can accompany you on the road, you’ll probably need to sign a waiver releasing the company of any legal responsibility. Your company will also probably provide you with paperwork to carry with you, stating that they approved the child to be in the truck.
If you decide to take your child with you (and your company allows it), the safety of your small passenger should now be your number one concern.
Children riding in a moving vehicle should be restrained. But, how can you do this in a big truck, which is set up totally different from a car? In short, if the child is out of the bunk area of the truck, he or she should be properly restrained in the passenger seat of the truck.
Semi-trucks are not required to have airbags, so children are usually safer in the front seat than in a traditional car. Make sure that if your child is riding up front, he is restrained according to state laws.
Children do need to move and cannot be strapped into a seat for hours and hours at a time. If they absolutely must move around, the bunk area is the safest option for this. You can purchase a harness that attaches to the back of your bunk if you’d like your child to have the ability to move without falling off the bunk.
Once the issue of safety is properly addressed, there are still a few things to think about on a personal level. How will the child receive his education? How will she exercise daily? Are all sites that will be visited safe for the child? Is your truck big enough to accommodate your kiddo? Only you can answer these important questions.
Ultimately, (if your company is on board) it is your decision to bring your little one along. It can be a rewarding experience, but make sure to think about all the potential challenges you might face along the way.
Tips for those who decide to bring their family
If it is your dream for your family to join you on the open road, there are many things you can do to maximize the experience. Even though you are working, you can still enjoy yourself and have fun along the way.
As you’re traveling all over the country, try to enjoy the scenery. You may see oceans, rivers, mountains, and plains all within the course of a week. Take advantage of this by parking at scenic locations when possible, and have your rider snap a few pictures as keepsakes. You won’t want to forget experiencing these moments together.
If there are times when it seems like the scenery is a bit dull, bring along extra entertainment for your child or spouse. Books, tablets, smart phones, and crossword puzzles can all really help keep boredom at bay.
Don’t spend all your downtime sitting! Try to make sure you and your rider get in a little exercise each day. Bring along a pair of sneakers and get in a quick walk around the park or truck stop in the evening. Even small amounts of light exercise can help boost your mood!
Next, make sure you have plenty of snacks for the road. Your rider (and you) will probably get hungry in between mealtimes, and keeping quick, easy snacks on hand can help with irritability.
Make sure your family member brings all his or her essentials. It’s easy to forget basic items such as deodorant and toothpaste, especially if the trucking lifestyle is new to your rider.
Try to map out restroom and meal stops the best you can. Even though trucking schedules can be tight and sometimes unpredictable, it is important to have a tentative plan for these things if you have a rider with you.
If you are bringing your child, make sure to bring any cherished toys or stuffed animals with them. Your little one should sleep much better if she has her special teddy bear with her at night.
Make sure you have the sleeping arrangement worked out and that everyone will be as comfortable as possible. If you and your rider want to enjoy this special time together, it is imperative that everyone has a relaxing place to recharge at night.
Go into the experience with realistic expectations. It is important that your family member realizes that they are coming with you to work, and that this will not be a vacation. This does not mean that you can’t have amazing experiences together! It is just essential that your rider understands that, ultimately, this trip is for business purposes.
Most importantly: Try to have fun! You have a new over-the-road companion, and not everyone is so lucky. This is going to be a great bonding experience with your loved one, and you will cherish this time for years to come.