January 1, 2020
If you’re a truck driver and your company leaves you stranded, it can extremely stressful. Being stranded in the middle of nowhere is nothing new for drivers, but as of late, it has become an even bigger issue.
In 2019, about 10 midsize to large trucking companies shut down, including HVH Transportation, New England Motor Freight Inc., Falcon Transport, Stevens Tanker Division, and most notably, Celadon (Freight Waves).
Celadon Group Inc. had the largest trucking failure of 2019, leaving over 2,500 drivers stranded thousands of miles from home. These drivers found that their fuel cards were deactivated, and no one was telling them what to do about upcoming planned loads or their trucks.
To make matters even worse, many drivers were in the middle of a load with trailers full of goods. They knew they wouldn’t be paid if they finished their route, but at the same time, what are you supposed to do with a loaded trailer full of someone’s stuff?
Whether your trucking company went bankrupt or your truck broke down and they’re not sending you help, we have some advice on what to do going forward when you’re stranded far from home.
Don’t Trash The Truck!
The theme here is that you shouldn’t take a bad situation and make it worse. Although the company may owe you money, they left you stranded, they deactivated your fuel card, and you have their equipment, you don’t want to do anything stupid. It’s not worth risking your future!
As a truck driver, your license, your record, and your overall standing as a driver is your livelihood. Resist the urge to trash the vehicle, leave it in some random field, or park it on a back road in the middle of nowhere. Decisions like that can come back to bite you, and you want to be employable in the future.
Park Your Truck at a Truck Stop
If you’ve tried contacting your dispatchers, the management, and you’ve exhausted all resources, we recommend parking the truck at a truck stop. Put the keys on the dipstick, remove your personal items, and lock the doors.
Don’t leave the keys in the ignition, because that’s a pretty obvious spot, and you could be blamed in the future if the truck is stolen.
Take Photos of How You Left the Truck
Finally, take photos of where you left the truck and what condition you left it in. The more photos, the better. Treat it like an accident and document the truck thoroughly.
This extra step will make sure you’re protected if someone tries to blame you for damage to the truck later on.
Sometimes, trucking companies are also bought out by venture capitalists, and their goal is to sell everything off and close the doors to milk it for all its worth. We aren’t bankruptcy law experts, but that can happen. They’re going to come after that truck eventually, so take photos to make sure you have nothing to worry about.
Get an Uber or Bus Ticket Home
Once you’ve dealt with the truck, it’s time to get home. If you’re relatively close to home, you can get an Uber or Lyft relatively inexpensively.
If you’re a bit farther away, consider purchasing a bus ticket, which can be a lot cheaper than airfare.
Contact Trucking Companies In the Area
If you’re seriously stranded – as in, thousands of miles from home – larger trucking companies can often afford to send for you. They are all itching for new drivers, so you may find that they’re willing to go the extra mile to recruit you.
You might also contact trucking companies in the area. If you’re out of money and can’t get a ride, lots of companies will definitely help you out. People out there want you as a driver and may be able to pick you up.
Budget a Rainy Day Fund
Especially as an owner operator, we recommend having a little bit of savings in a rainy day fund. While you never expect your trucking company to go out of business or leave you stranded, you want to be prepared for anything. That includes the potential of being stranded without help.
In addition, don’t expect your trucking company to shell out $10,000 to come get you if your truck broke down across the country. A lot of drivers jump from job to job, so why would the company bend over backward if they expect you to leave?
However, loyal drivers can expect the “royal” treatment. Trucking companies will go the extra mile (pun intended!) for drivers who stick around and are dedicated to their position. (Including us.)
In any case, having some money set aside for situations like this will ease your worries and help you transition to the next opportunity.
As a trucker, you’re in demand and are always employable. The nice thing is it won’t take you months to find a new job. Move on, but do it in the right way.
In our industry, integrity is key. Keep an excellent reputation and resist the urge to retaliate. This too shall pass.
Choose a Trucking Company That Won’t Leave You Stranded
Finally, be sure to work for a company that won’t leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere! Here at Freight X, we’re there for our drivers – especially when they need us the most.
Maurice Watson, a loyal driver currently on our lease-purchase program, explains in his Driver Spotlight, “you’re never stranded with this company.”
When his truck broke down in the middle of Arizona, Maurice found out it would take nearly a month to get it fixed. Our team at Freight X sent help from Florida all the way to Arizona – and with a tractor in tow!
“I was so happy to see them come over the horizon with that tractor,” Maurice says. “Not too many companies are actually doing that. That was a life-saving moment for me.”
Of course, we’d love to have you as a part of our driving team here at Freight X. However, be sure to ask whatever company you’re talking with what they’d do in a similar situation.
Being stranded in the middle of nowhere is extremely stressful, especially when you have no support from your trucking company.
If we can be of any assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can call our office at 325-629-2042 for help, or you can reach us via our Contact Form.
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