Helping a Family Member with Depression

You travel long hours on the road. After about a half of a shift, the long, gray ribbon of highway seems to stretch forever. You’re zoned out. Or, worse, your mind is too cluttered.

It’s the 21st century. You don’t need to click on the radio and listen to crappy, regional stations. You have better options. Smart phones, MP3 players, iPods, and satellite radio let you stay stimulated throughout your long hours on the road.

To keep yourself focused, consider listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks. World-famous Dutch psychologist Ayça Berfu Ünal studied the effects of listening to music while driving. She found that the driver retained better focus than if he or she listened to silence. She also found that it didn’t matter which kind of music or audio entertainment the driver chose. Every form of audio stimulation, from listening to the news to loud music, improved the driver’s focus.

What Is It About Auditory Stimulation?

Ünal’s study started with the common misconception that motorists get distracted by music, news, and the radio; and therefore, they ignore traffic regulations and drive less responsibly. She asked the study’s participants to drive long, monotonous stretches behind other cars, both without and with music.

Without music, the participants became bored, then agitated, then less focused. With music, the participants retained enough external stimulation to stay alert and prevent boredom.

Have You Tried Podcasts?

Podcasts are like a radio show that you can download or access via your smartphone. They’ve grow immensely in popularity in the United States over the past five years. Why? Just as Netflix users want to watch shows when they have time, podcast fans want to listen to shows when it’s convenient. Long roadtrips are ideal for podcast listening. There’s only so much music one can listen to before you want to laugh or learn.

Not sure where to begin? Not to worry. We offer you a list of beloved podcasts to get you started before your next cross-country shift:

Good Job, Brain!

When you travel as much as a truck driver does, you learn a lot of potentially useless trivia. This show puts all those miscellaneous facts to use. The hour-long program kicks off with questions from Trivial Pursuit, then seeks to educate you on random fun facts.

America’s Test Kitchen

If you like food, you’ll love Christopher Kimball’s podcast. It spreads expert information about food, wine, restaurants, and chefs. You can call in with questions, get new recipes, and listen to interviews with food experts.

Car Talk

Okay, you’ve heard of this one. The MIT-educated, Italian-American sibling car experts Tom and Ray Magliozzi not only will teach you more about how your truck should run, but they will make you bust a gut laughing while they do it.

Here’s the Thing

You may know Alec Baldwin from films like “The Hunt for Red October,” or shows like “30 Rock.” On this WNYC program, he has a different role. He interviews musicians, artists, politicians, and other interesting people, and gets them to open up in an intimate, one-on-one environment.

New York Times Book Review

Readily considered the world’s best determiner of what’s a good book, the New York Times Book Review can guide to a great story.

For a longer-term option, try a book. When you’re driving, you don’t have time to read. Or do you? Audiobooks create an opportunity for you to catch up on new and interesting books, without you needing to stare at the pages or a Kindle.

For more tips about how to stay focused and enjoy your job as a truck driver, choose a compassionate, locally-based employer.

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