When we caught up with Jacob he was driving his truck somewhere near Dixon, Tennessee in his home state. He told us he had been driving with Prime for 4 ½ years. Part of his job includes training student drivers. In fact, in 2016 Jacob was recognized by Prime as one of the finalists for their TNT Trainer of the Year Award. Jacob says he became a trainer to “payback,” to help new drivers like someone helped him.
Although Jacob likes the freedom associated with driving an 18-wheeler over-the-road, he is excited that his new Prime route will soon allow him to get home once a week. That’s where he catches up with Niki, his wife of 11 years, and their two daughters, Abby (5) and Riley (2).
We asked Jacob how his family felt about him driving “over-the-road.” He told us one big benefit for him and Niki was that the income he earned allowed her to quit her job and stay home with the children. He admitted it is a sacrifice not to be with them as much as he would like, but both Jacob and Niki feel it is worth it to have her with the children more of the time.
Staying Connected Over the Road
It’s not always easy to stay connected with your kids when you’re on the road, but Jacob is a big believer in using every electronic means possible. He says his kids love to video chat, e.g., through SnapChat, but Jacob has another unique means for staying connected with his girls.
In part, because he was training new drivers, Jacob developed his own YouTube channel, Prime Driver Jacob. In it, he gives instructions and encouragement to new drivers. He has a unique approach using hyper-lapse videos to capture what it’s really like to drive a truck over the road in all kinds of conditions. With more than 1500 followers, it is clear Jacob’s contribution is appreciated.
What My Dad Does
But Jacob’s videos serve another purpose, as well. As he drives down the road, he often talks to the camera about what he’s thinking and experiencing. The hyper-lapse approach allows him to capture a whole day of driving in just 30 minutes. Doing this, he hopes to communicate who he is and what he does to his daughters, especially since work requires that he spend time away from them.
“I want them to know, especially if something should happen to me, who I am and what I do,” he explains.
This became especially important to Jacob with the passing of his own father in April 2017.
Given all the means Jacob uses to stay connected with his family, it’s not surprising that he has the following words of encouragement for truck driving dads:
1. Stay connected with your family. It can get hectic. You may need to take time out. Remember family first.
2. Let your fleet manager know what’s going on with you. Communication is key with him and with the folks at home.