10 tips to beat boredom during rest periods

    Even if some drivers moan about them, the rest periods when driving a truck are important, so that the only professional drivers on the roads are those that are rested. Depending on how long the rest periods are, you can spend your time in different ways.

    1. The rest period during the week between the driving times is eleven hours. It is hardly possible to just sleep during this time. So get some exercise, which you don’t get enough of behind the wheel. You can pack your running shoes and a mat or blanket on which you can do sit-ups and push-ups. A skipping rope does not take up much space, either.
    2. Allow yourself time for a proper meal. Regular meals are better than frequent unhealthy snacks while driving. Whether you head for a truck stop or cook next to the vehicle with your own camping gear, remains entirely up to you and your culinary skills.
    3. While travelling, you often have the radio on, with a constant stream of music playing in the background. It can be very relaxing to actually enjoy some peace and quiet during the rest periods and to read one or two chapters of a book. If you do not have a book with you, you’ll find a wide range of magazines on many different topics at the truck stops.
    4. Puzzle games make a nice change from concentrated driving. It will give your brain new stimuli and challenge it in a different way than most of your day. Whether you solve crossword puzzles or Sudoku in notebooks or opt for games on your smartphone or tablet, it’s up to you.
    5. Call home and speak with your loved ones. If you know in advance when you normally stop, make arrangements to make a phone call. If you do not have to concentrate on driving, you have more time to talk about everything in a relaxed way. You can also pick up on the nuances better.
    6. After a strenuous shift, you may also just want to sit back and relax. If you have a TV in your sleeper cab, you can watch a film in comfort. But beware: If you fall asleep in front of the television, your night will be quite restless and the next day much more exhausting than it should be.
    7. Split the rest periods over the week, take three hours first and later another nine – meaning that the rest time is extended by one hour by being divided up. It may be a good idea to get some exercise and eat well during the first, shorter break. If you manage to get a good night’s sleep of seven to eight hours from the nine hours later, before you freshen up at the truck stop and have breakfast, the next shift should not be a problem.
    8. The weekly rest periods are something completely different. If you manage to get home before the end of the shift, you can spend time with family and friends. Make a point of leaving the radio off and enjoy the time in which you do not have to sit behind the wheel. If a trip is planned, you can let someone else drive.
    9. If you have pulled up with your truck at a truck stop in a foreign country and without many opportunities to distract yourself, you should check whether you can shorten your weekly rest to 24 hours. You are allowed to do that if you have compensated for this reduction by the end of the third week from now on. The EU has since declared it illegal for truckers to spend their weekly rest periods in the vehicle – even if it has a full-sized sleeper cab. As a result, every driver who is on the road at the beginning of their weekly rest period must find a place to sleep. Unfortunately, around 50,000 driver beds are currently lacking in Germany alone.
    10. If it’s not too far to your destination, you may be able to extend your travel time a little. This applies in particular if you would otherwise have to take a break for 24 to 45 hours without finding suitable accommodation. It is important that you do not plan this extension from the outset, that you document it well and that it does not become a habit. Also note that neighbouring countries such as France are stricter in this regard than Germany.

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