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11 ways truck drivers can avoid getting sick on the road

A truck driver poses in front of a row of unladen trucks.

COVID-19, influenza (flu) and seasonal allergies are just a few of the health risks drivers may encounter on the road, especially if you drive between different regions of country.

Some things are beyond your control, but you can take smart, preventative measures to avoid getting sick and keep yourself healthy throughout the year.

Truck driver tips to avoid getting sick on the road

1. Wash and sanitize your hands.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and when you’re on the road away from soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60-95 percent alcohol.

2. Get proper sleep.

Your body needs quality sleep to keep its immune system strong. The exact amount varies by individual, but following these truck driver sleep recommendations is a great place to start for improving your sleep.

3. Choose healthy meals, snacks and drinks.

An assortment of healthy meal-prepped snacks.

Preparing healthy meals on the road and selecting healthy trucker-friendly snacks will reduce the amount of unhealthy fast food you eat, which will help fuel your body with energy to fight off illness. Drinking half an ounce to an ounce of water for each pound you weigh is also important to help your body’s heart and kidney health.

4. Stay active outside the driver’s seat.

It requires some creativity to stay active when you spend much of your day driving, but many truck drivers are discovering workout routines to do on the road and overcoming challenges to a healthy driver lifestyle. It can be done!

5. Disinfect your truck.

A Schneider driver wipes down the door handle on his truck.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many drivers have added to their truck cleaning routines and found better truck organization strategies. Especially if you’re a training engineer, Team driver or if you slip-seat, develop a more detailed cleaning and sanitizing process (like Schneider has in orientation) to prevent bacteria buildup on any in-cab surfaces and high-touch exterior locations like door handles.

6. Be alert at truck stops.

With drivers congregating from around the country, even the cleanest truck stops can become places where germs spread easily. Wear shower shoes like flip-flops while showering, sanitize your hands immediately after fueling up and generally be smart about your interactions at truck stops and rest stops.

7. Avoid tobacco products.

It can be tough to quit smoking or using tobacco products, but it’s worth it for your health. Call a smoking cessation help line for resources. In general, be careful with what you’re putting in your body, including understanding laws about truck driver use of medical marijuana and CBD oil.

8. Consider wearing a mask.

A truck driver wears a cloth face mask while behind the wheel.

While state and local governments have different mandates in place in response to the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends truck drivers wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Especially since many drivers travel the country, stopping the spread is important, and drivers can play an important role.

9. Practice social distancing.

It’s likely you’ll interact with some customers. Maintaining close relationships with people is important, but to the extent you’re able, strive to maintain 6 feet of social distance between you and others in public. Even when COVID gets contained, this principle could be wise to follow during flu season and with anyone who appears to be sick.

10. Get recommended vaccinations.

According to the CDC, annual flu shots are your best protection against the latest seasonal strains of the flu virus. Consult your doctor about any concerns you have. Schneider drivers can speak to a nurse for free any time or schedule a virtual doctor visit from anywhere.

11. Relieve stress with relaxing hobbies.

Stress can compromise your immune system, so finding fun hobbies for truck drivers can help you maintain work-life balance on the road. It’s good to want to work hard, but if you work yourself into poor health, your body could force you into a work stoppage.

Bonus tip: Work for a company that puts your health and safety first.

At Schneider, you are the “captain of your ship,” so if you’re feeling sick, you make the call to shut down. We provide resources to help you stay healthy and safe, but we are also understanding if you do become ill. Make the healthy move for your career and join the Schneider team today.

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Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

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