Ben­e­fits of en­gage­ment

In­volv­ing the fam­ily in truck main­te­nance will help them un­der­stand the chal­lenges of life on the road

Owner Driver - - Driv­ing Your Busi­ness - Lynette Gray

NOW CHRIST­MAS IS OVER, the hus­tle and bus­tle from be­fore Christ­mas just stops, while it seems the whole na­tion goes on hol­i­day for the en­tire month of Jan­uary. But that does not pre­vent the bills com­ing in, and your pay­ments still have to be made, and it also seems that the fam­ily re­quires more from you and you are torn in ev­ery di­rec­tion.

Whichever way you look at this time of year, never for­get the most im­por­tant thing is friends and fam­ily. The whole Christ­mas pe­riod is about spend­ing time with your loved ones, eat­ing loads of food and drink, en­joy­ing games to­gether, and cre­at­ing mo­ments you can cher­ish your whole life.

Your truck is parked in the back­yard within range of all the ac­tiv­ity, and your mind keeps go­ing over what you need to do be­fore you hit the road again. It is time to spare a thought for your kids, and you know that they have got all the free time in the world and that they ac­tu­ally miss their dad while you are away, but have to “put up” with mum when she is stressed with all the things she is “just hold­ing to­gether”.

When you en­gage your fam­ily in the main­te­nance of the truck, you can get the small kids (boys and girls) to run the er­rands like “go and get this span­ner” or “get that con­tainer”. It makes them feel im­por­tant and that they are “help­ing” dad. It is in your best in­ter­est to teach them what you know; this is your re­spon­si­bil­ity as a par­ent. It will ei­ther en­cour­age them to fol­low you in your foot­steps or mo­ti­vate them to do some­thing en­tirely dif­fer­ent. Ei­ther way, you are teach­ing them a good work ethic.

En­cour­age your part­ner to help you. Make it a time for you to com­mu­ni­cate so she un­der­stands some of the chal­lenges that you face on a day-to-day ba­sis. Ex­plain the main­te­nance pro­ce­dure as you check the brakes, lin­ings, boost­ers and drums to en­sure that they are work­ing in har­mony with the truck’s brak­ing sys­tem and that it is well lu­bri­cated and in good con­di­tion.

This is not only mak­ing sure you are safe, but you are also help­ing your wife or part­ner un­der­stand where the money is go­ing and she knows that her mate is driv­ing up and down the high­way in a re­li­able truck.

Other com­po­nents on the truck and trailer that you can check and teach your part­ner and fam­ily are things like the trailer king­pin, rub­bing plate, wheel align­ment, electrics and land­ing gear. Your teenage chil­dren can check the king­pins and airbags for wear and get them to help you re­place them, if worn. Or if the semi-trailer rub­bing plate is scored, buck­led or badly worn which it will also have to be re­placed.

RIGHT AND WRONG

En­cour­age your fam­ily to be in­volved. It takes pa­tience and prac­tice, and I guar­an­tee things won’t go smoothly and you will have dis­cus­sions about what is right and what is wrong. Just be­cause they have an­other way of look­ing at life, doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean it is wrong, just dif­fer­ent.

Keep an eye on the wheel align­ment of your truck and trail­ers. Poor tyre and wheel align­ment can shorten tyre life by thou­sands of kilo­me­tres. It also can com­pro­mise very cru­cial steer­ing and sus­pen­sion parts and that is a big hit to your back pocket, which di­rectly af­fects your fam­ily life.

When your tyres are out of align­ment, you might as well be throw­ing $50 notes out the win­dow as you drive down the high­way.

Other things that the fam­ily can as­sist with is check­ing the elec­tri­cal cou­plings, fit­tings, and wiring, but you must teach them pa­tiently so they can un­der­stand what they are look­ing at and why it is not right. This may help to avert any se­ri­ous dam­age, es­pe­cially on late model trucks that are fit­ted with ad­vanced elec­tron­ics.

With the weather be­ing so hot, have a wa­ter fight as you wash the truck and make it a fun ad­ven­ture. Have a com­pe­ti­tion to see who can get their chrome the bright­est and shini­est. En­joy the time you have to­gether as it won’t be long and then you are gone again.

How about in a role re­ver­sal, heaven for­bid? You could also cook some meals or help your part­ner do the laun­dry as these chores are as es­sen­tial as chang­ing the oil in the “big girl”.

Get­ting the truck back on the road and hold­ing your fam­ily to­gether is the re­ward of your liveli­hood.

EX­TER­NAL SUP­PORT

If this is just all too hard and you have reached the point of burnout, it’s prob­a­bly go­ing to take more than just a few days off to solve the is­sue. If you can’t see a way to take sig­nif­i­cant steps and be able to re­duce the amount of stress you’re fac­ing, you may need to draw on sup­port from other peo­ple, in­clud­ing health pro­fes­sion­als. The be­yond­blue sup­port ser­vice can help point you in the right di­rec­tion. You can con­tact them on1300 22 4636 or www.be­yond­blue.com.au.

I am also pleased to of­fer you a 30-minute free dis­cov­ery ses­sion where we can talk about “what is your plan, so ev­ery­thing doesn’t fall back to you” in your busi­ness. Or we can go deeper into your busi­ness, your fears, your story or your bat­tles within these 30 min­utes. It is up to you and guesses what, and it’s ab­so­lutely free!

“It makes them feel im­por­tant and that they are ‘help­ing’ dad.”

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