Being in control of a large road vehicle is a position of responsibility, a position that comes with potential hazards for driver, goods and other road users. This is why there is great focus on ensuring that those who get behind the wheel are trained to a high standard so they are in possession both of confidence and indeed the required skills to safely handle such a large vehicle in all driving conditions at all times.
But there’s a another factor which plays an equally crucial role in driver safety, a factor which has perhaps sometimes been overlooked in past times.
Staying Healthy as a Driver
As a driver, your health is of vital importance to your job; good health will not only prolong your career and ensure your number of sick days is at a minimum but it can also play a major part in your day to day performance and, vitally, your safety.
Here’s a few simple ways in which you can help your health when on and off the road.
Look After Your Diet
There is a lot of temptation around for HGV drivers when on the road; the fast food outlets and service stations; the pasties and sausage rolls or the legendary ‘greasy spoon’ road side cafes.
Or even just having those sweets or chocolate bars to reach for while alone in the cabin as your roll along the motorway with your Fleetwood Mac greatest hits filling the air (well, maybe not the last bit!).
But if you can avoid too much of the temptation and watch what you eat then you can have a dramatic impact on your health and indeed your levels of alertness whilst driving – which is crucial for your, and your fellow road users, safety.
Stay away from the processed foods and gravitate towards more natural things to eat; fruits and vegetables and such like that are high in natural fibres, vitamins and anti-oxidants. A good diet will keep your faculties in better working order that can improve your driving performance and it will boost your immune system so that you give yourself the best chance of staying healthy and reduce the risk of illness.
Drink Plenty of Water
We need water to keep our organs working at their most optimum which is a vital aspect of keeping ourselves healthy. And one such organ that can really benefit from regular water intake is the brain. Staying hydrated throughout the day and especially when driving is not only good for our overall health but it can make a huge difference to our thought process and reaction speeds as it keeps our brain sharper. If you can drink upwards of 2 litres of water every day then your body will benefit an you increase your chances of avoiding poor health and staying safe behind the wheel.
We spend a long time behind the wheel of our trucks, in one position. It can lead to stiffness in the joints, muscle fatigue and mental tiredness – all of which are going to impact overall health and safety.
By including even a moderate level of exercise into your weekly routine you can make major improvements to your health which, by consequence, can increase your performance as a driver and keep you fit for work rather than cooped up on a physio’s bench.
Strength building exercises and stretching can help with your body’s condition when driving, keeping your bones, joints and muscles adequately conditioned, while introducing some cardio-vascular exercise (even a regular brisk walk will have some benefit) can improve your general health, increase your immune system and keep your mental faculties sharper.
Our bodies and our minds need sleep. Driver tiredness is one of the main reasons for road accidents so it’s of huge importance that you ensure you’ve had adequate rest in your daily routine. When you’re at home you should be striving for at least seven hours before you hit the road. When working, regular rest intervals are important to allow body and mind to stay sharp and focused on the tasks at hand.