This is the second in our mini-series on good habits to fight health hazards for Truckers, very appropriate at a time when Truckers are facing greater health risks than ever before. Without a doubt, Truckers are among the unsung heroes of our health and social services heroes at this time.

We at FAW, one of South Africa’s premier trucking manufacturers, recognise this and have created this series in the hope that in these times and beyond, our Truckers can heed this advice and maintain a high level of health and wellbeing.

COVID 19 has just added to the risk list

We have extensively covered the precautions required to prevent the virus from taking its hold on our Drivers, but as we mentioned in our last article, COVID-19 is actually just an additional risk. Even in normal times, they face the health risks of little sleep and exercise, bad diets, accidents, pollution and more.

Apart from ensuring you pack your own healthier meals and smoothies for the road, and get your flu injections, as mentioned in the first article, there are, fortunately, more precautions that can be taken…

Stay Hydrated

Water is probably the most crucial thing to put into your body when it comes to health. Drink good clean water regularly and abundantly. A daily intake of around 2 litres is recommended.

Don’t shirk on this – remember many health issues are as a result of dehydration and the body doesn’t tell you that you need water until you are sometimes already dehydrated. Keep a container with you and sip from it all day.

Avoid caffeine and stimulants.

Related to this is the over drinking of coffee and other drinks that contain large amounts of caffeine. Coffee dehydrates the body, and so if any is drunk, it needs always to be accompanied by a large glass of water.

Caffeine itself is a health hazard as it gives a feeling of being awake, which replaces the real need for sleep. Overuse of caffeine can also lead to anxiety, muscle breakdown, high blood pressure and digestive issues, to name a few.

The bottom line – one or two cups of coffee, or caffeinated cold drinks a day, accompanied by water, should be about the maximum consumption.

Sleep is vital

Related to that is that good, consistent sleep is vital and will prevent you from using stimulants to stay awake. Between shifts, use your time off to get good sleep. If you are driving at night, get into a daytime sleep cycle. Make the room very dark and a good temperature.

Whatever you do, avoid the Driver’s greatest risk – Accidents – by ensuring you are not ‘nodding off’ at the wheel. If you are, rather pull over and take a fifteen-minute ‘Power nap’ regardless of your schedule.

Exercise regularly

Another thing you can pull over (preferably into a safe area) to do from time to time – to wake you and help you to stay fresh, is taking a brisk fifteen-minute walk. Just getting some fresh air and breathing deeply is invigorating, improves your blood flow and heart rate.

If you just did this twice on every trip, you will be getting the required daily exercise to maintain good health – a half hour a day brisk walk! Truckers find regular exercising difficult, but you who sit all day and practice a high level of concentration. Need this more than anyone!

Life after COVID-19

These are not normal times that we are facing, but long after this virus has been overcome and our lives returned to normal, these health hacks will still be vital for any trucker to maintain their wellbeing

Also long after COVID-19 is just a distant memory, FAW trucks will always be the same great vehicles, built in South Africa for Africans and we, as a company, will still be there for our trucking companies and their drivers.

We offer Driver Training and great support for all our Trucking companies, so contact a dealer near you, or directly contact us, to find out about our training programs. We also have a wide range of great quality used and new freight carriers, truck tractors, tippers and mixers, which all come standard with competitive warranties and 24hr roadside assistance.

Remember, it just takes 30 days to get into these good habits to fight health hazards for truckers, so this time of heightened awareness of health and hygiene is the best time to put it into practice. Get started, good luck and stay healthy and stay safe on the road!