I've started talking to deer. Sounds odd, right? I'm not kidding, though. As a truck driver traveling all over the great US of A, I see many critters, some widely known, such as squirrels, possums, and coons, and some rarely seen in your day-to-day life like wolves, bison, and armadillos. But the creature that I see the most? Deer. White-tailed deer, to be precise. They are a familiar sight along my oft-traveled highway and interstate routes. Yes, sadly, many are quite dead when I see them. This brings me to my reason for talking to them. In the early morning hours, especially, when everything is peaceful and quiet, white-tailed deer are a dime a dozen. As I come across the usual three or four white-tails, I'm super cautious. Many of them steer clear of my 70-ton truck racing down the road, but some stand stock still, as if debating whether or not to come dashing into the roadway, as many of them unfortunately do. This is when I start to reason with them, even though I know full well that they can't hear or understand me.
I see one shy doe frozen in her tracks and I say, "The grass on that side is as green as it gets!" and "Don't even think of going exploring now!" As of this writing I haven't hit one. It's been close, but I've managed to slow down just long enough for the scared creatures to scamper out of the way. For some drivers, striking a deer is unavoidable.
As a student driver, you are taught to never risk your life or the life of another motorist in order to avoid an animal. However, hitting an animal as large as a deer is very rarely without consequence. There have been countless occasions where a collision with a deer has not only damaged the truck, but also the driver. It's just one of the many hazards that truck drivers face.
Weight gain is another. With all of the time drivers spend sitting, coupled with the fact that fast food is very easy to find at truck stops, the majority of truckers are overweight and out of shape. I knew that staying healthy would be one of my toughest challenges as a truck driver, and can't say that it's been a walk in the park. I have to find time in between my many pick ups and deliveries for trips to a grocery store in order to stay stocked with fruits, veggies, and whole grain bread. I also have to find the time for workouts. I have a bicycle on board my truck and I go for a ride or jog whenever I can. I also have free weights, a kettleball, resistance bands, and a jump rope that I use at least every other day. It absolutely takes effort and determination to be fit and healthy, but it's totally worth it!