Happy Truck Driver Appreciation Week! Every year, Americans dedicate a week to pay tribute to professional truck drivers and their importance to everyday life and the overall economy. This year’s initiative started on September 13 and will take place until September 19. It will pay homage to the role truckers have played in keeping much of America afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help make this initiative a success, take a look at these nine ways you can help truck drivers feel appreciated:
#1: Educate yourself and others around you
There is much negative public perception around truckers on the road. Much of this is reaction-based, with some four-wheelers meeting truck drivers who are cautiously turning, accelerating, and merging with huffing, puffing, obscenities, and honks.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a slew of timely articles — like this one — emphasizing the critical role truckers play in delivering vital supplies across America — during times of crisis and beyond. Take the time to read some of these articles for your benefit, and then use the knowledge you gain to gently inform an impatient person in your circle scoffing at truckers in the future.
#2: Be a good pal on the road
Driving a commercial vehicle is many things — and easy is not one of them. You can lend a symbolic helping hand right from the driver’s seat. Whether you leave room for a driver to merge into your lane or wave at a trucker while you’re both stopped at stop signs, there are many ways you can show truckers that they have allies on the road.
#3: Thank a trucker
It wouldn’t be a successful Truck Driver Appreciation Week without those two magic words — thank and you. In today’s increasingly digital and virtually-connected world, in-person acknowledgments are a perfect and genuine way to show truck drivers they’re appreciated.
Interstate travelers, in particular, will likely be able to take advantage of this most, as they have the opportunity to encounter truckers a great deal at stops along their routes.
#4: Get social
A recent study found 63 percent of all truck drivers use Facebook. They also frequent other popular social media platforms, although the survey found Facebook was their most preferred, by far, with many truckers on public and private Facebook groups.
Given their active social media presence, showing some love to truckers via a social media post can reach many of them. Be sure to use the hashtag #NTDAW2020 to ensure your post gets to as many truckers as possible.
#5: Deliver some care to drivers who deliver everything else
When a good Samaritan left a care package for truckers and postal workers at their doorstep this March, the heartfelt gesture made national news.
A seemingly small act of kindness like this can make a significant, positive impact on a driver’s day. And the good news is this doesn’t only apply to residential homes. Anyone, anywhere — from warehouse workers to retail managers — can leave care packages filled with goodies, like sports drinks, water bottles, snacks, and hand sanitizers, for drivers to treat themselves to.
#6: Say it with a sign
Many people have been getting creative and making Truck Driver Appreciation Week poster signs. You can show your gratitude — and your art skills — with a poster, some markers, and whatever else you wish. Once you have your poster ready, share it however you see fit. You can have your kids pose with it and post a picture to social media, tape it to a car window, or stick it on your balcony.
#7: Pay it forward
There are an endless amount of ways to show truck drivers they’re appreciated. The next time you’re in a restaurant or drive-thru line with a truck driver, consider paying for their meal or coffee if you can afford to. Not only will this likely put a big smile on their face, but it’s an unexpected and kind gesture that lets commercial drivers know they have allies on and off the road.
#8: If you’re a fleet manager, don’t underestimate the importance of everyday action
As is the case in almost any profession, truckers look to their managers — perhaps more than anyone else — for recognition and gratitude.
While there are many ways for fleet managers to extend their gratitude, they must put both vocal and non-vocal meaning behind their show of thanks. Gift baskets, thank-you emails, and gift cards are great shows of appreciation. Yet, the perhaps most genuine way to show drivers they matter is with a commitment to a healthy work culture with good pay, benefits, and a strong work-life balance.
#9: Support a charity
At Omnitracs, we’re proud to support impactful charities in our industry, including Truckers Against Trafficking. For Truck Driver Appreciation Week, we encourage you to do the same and support a truck-centric charity of choice.
Most people don’t think of truckers when they think of nonprofits; yet, there are many noteworthy organizations out there helping truckers with anything from food assistance to life coaching. To get started, check out this list of organizations doing tremendous work.
From all of us at Omnitracs, we want to extend our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to the over 3.5 million truck drivers across the country. Take a look at one of our throwback blog posts from 2017’s Truck Driver Appreciation Week to learn more about the challenges truck drivers face every day.