A major obstacle for truck drivers is overcoming long-haul road trips. Hours on the road can be more physically demanding then one would think, which is why truck drivers need to take their personal health into consideration. Not only will a healthy lifestyle benefit you by helping you stay more alert on the road, but it can also help the other drivers you are sharing lanes with. Truck drivers have a responsibility to abide by the rules of the road, but you should also take care of yourself in the process so you can be alert and able to handle stressful situations. Continue reading to learn how to stay healthy on your long-haul road trip below.
Long-haul roads are well-known to be demanding, and a major reason why is because alertness can be tested. A major cause of accidents on the road comes from sleep deprivation, with the NHTSA reporting that there were 795 fatalities in 2017. Therefore, it’s important that you are well-rested prior to getting on the road for a long-haul road trip.
Don’t Fight Off Your Sleepiness
If you do feel the need to rest your eyes, don’t fight it. A much safer alternative would be to pull over or plan your trip ahead of time and know where you can rest at a truck stop. Drowsiness on the road can cause damage to a regular-sized car alone, but the damage can be far more detrimental if caused by a semi-truck. Hold yourself accountable and recognize when you are starting to fade away on the road and get some much-needed sleep.
Practice Good Hygiene
In addition to stopping at a truck stop for some much-needed rest, you should also continue to practice good hygiene. Staying clean and refreshed by washing your hands or taking a shower is also incredibly important because you might be making multiple stops throughout the day, especially given the current state of things. Keeping the interior of your truck clean is also an important measure to remain healthy.
While many will resort to unhealthy energy drinks or sugary beverages, you must stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. If your urine is dark, that’s the easiest sign you need to consume more water. Not only is this necessary in the summer months, but staying hydrated can also give you plenty of energy to take on the road.
Use the Bathroom Whenever Possible
However, you will also want to be conscious of how much water you are drinking and realize that you might be stuck on the road for a long period of time without bathroom access. Therefore, you need to make sure you are going to the bathroom whenever you have the chance, so you can avoid an uncomfortable ride.
Eat Healthy Meals
Your options might be limited for food when you are on the road, with many of the usual suspects for fast food available off the highway. However, an unhealthy meal can also negatively affect your driving and make you drowsy. A much better option is to eat a well-balanced meal. If you do find yourself at a fast-food restaurant, be conscious of what you choose to eat because there are plenty of healthy options available. You can also pack healthy meals and snacks for the trip ahead as well.
Get Some Exercise
If you do find the time exercise, do it. Truck driving is as sedentary as it gets, and that can be incredibly unhealthy for you. So, go to a motel or local gym or go on a run to get your heart rate up before you go back to sitting for long durations of time.
Be Prepared for Dangerous Weather
A truck driver is also bound to face many outside elements which include weather. Truck driving is a 24/7 job, which means there are bound to be storms that will make driving conditions much worse. A truck driver must be prepared for the dangerous weather by dressing properly, having the necessary tools accessible if an accident or breakdown were to occur, and driving safely according to weather conditions.
A major distraction many drivers face when they are on the road is the sun, which can quickly make driving difficult no matter what time of the year it is. By far, the best way to combat the sun and keep it from impairing your vision of the road is to sport sunglasses.
The sunlight isn’t the only distraction that can end up in an accident on the road. Perhaps the biggest distraction people deal while driving is their phone, whether it’s texting or using an app. You should utilize Bluetooth instead because you will likely need to use your phone at some point, either for directions or to contact someone. Therefore, you can take care of business while you are on the road, but also keep two hands on the wheel.
Keep Yourself Occupied
To avoid getting distracted and pass the time on the road, you must find safe alternatives to keep yourself entertained. While using Bluetooth technology, listen to an audiobook, a podcast, or music. These are all great ways to keep your brain active while you are driving.
Fix Your Posture
As you remain seated for a long period of time, the best thing you can do for your body is practice good posture. Sit up tall, have both hands on the wheel, and constantly stretch throughout so you can avoid experiencing fatigue when you are driving.
The last tip on how to stay healthy on your long-haul road trip is to be as comfortable as possible. This can mean everything from what you wear to different pillows or seat adjustments you must make. It’s also important to have fully functioning air conditioning and heat in your semi-truck all year round as well.
The health and safety of yourself and the others around you are vital to understand as a truck driver. As with any profession, there are unhealthy methods that can help you deal with the stress and other obstacles that occur. However, being conscious of the healthy choices you make during long hauls can be far more effective. While health is the priority, also make sure you care for the health of your semi-truck as well with Peterbilt 387 parts you can find at Unitruck.