There’s no doubt that National Driver Appreciation Week looks a bit different this year due to the challenges of COVID-19. However, in 2020, America has truly recognized the importance of a professional driver’s role during this pandemic. While the majority of the working force had the opportunity to work from home at some point during this pandemic, drivers were unable to do so as an essential worker. In fact, these men and women answered the call when America needed them the most and worked hard to deliver food, water, medicine and cleaning supplies to stores across the nation.
As we continue to celebrate National Driver Appreciation Week, it’s important to reflect and understand the obstacles that professional drivers have faced this year. Three professional drivers that worked vigorously through the pandemic gave their insight on the experience of a truck driver during COVID-19.
The Shipper/Receiver Experience Has Changed
Shippers are doing their best to keep their employees and professional drivers safe and healthy. With that, many protocols have changed for the shipper/receiver experience.
“Most of the shippers have placed very strict no-contact policies. Drivers cannot check-in at warehouses, a lot more conversations are being done over the phone and everyone is required to wear a facial covering when entering into a building,” said a Werner Logistics alliance carrier.
In addition, some shippers have switched over to electronic methods to document pickups and deliveries.
Truck Stops and Restaurants Were Closed
A large number of businesses were closed toward the start of the pandemic, and that includes truck stops, restaurants and even rest areas, which made it difficult to find parking, and even a proper meal. This was a huge hurdle for drivers as they were on the road making sacrifices to deliver essential supplies to store shelves.
When many of these places were closed, Jennifer, a professional driver for Werner, would mainly eat meals that she cooked out of her truck. Jennifer enjoys cooking dishes from her truck, which includes pasta, meatloaf and chili. Many other drivers also experienced acts of kindness from communities that were willing to provide them with meals during this unprecedented time.
Many Have Recognized Our Nation’s Heroes
Over the past several months, America has recognized and appreciated the sacrifices made by professional drivers. Many have made signs, handed out meals, written letters or simply said “thank you.”
“This experience has been one of those situations where you need to step up because someone’s got to,” said Werner two-million miles accident-free driver Bill. “As an essential worker, I’m proud to do that.”
During this National Driver Appreciation Week, take a moment and reflect on all that drivers have done for our supply chain and economy. As essential workers, they have spent time away from their families to help yours. These men and women deserve our respect and gratitude each and every day.
“Providing essential supplies to people in need has been an eye-opening experience,” said Werner Professional Driver Jennifer. “Whether there’s a hurricane or a pandemic, professional drivers pull through the storm every time.”