Commercial truck driving is an essential industry as it helps move critical goods and supplies across the country; for drivers, it can also provide the opportunity to see many beautiful locations. However, while truck driving can be a great career choice for people who enjoy driving and want to see the country, it also comes with its share of health risks. Hours sitting in a truck cab with little access to healthy food or exercise can leave truck drivers vulnerable to developing various health conditions. Fortunately, knowing the biggest health risks truck drivers face can help you make better decisions to ensure your physical and mental health on the road. Some of the most common health conditions that affect truck drivers include:
One of the biggest issues commercial truck drivers struggle with is obesity. The sedentary lifestyle that accompanies being stuck behind the wheel for most of the day means that it can be hard to get enough exercise. Additionally, since truck drivers often don’t have much time to eat when on the road, this means that their diet often consists of fast food meals high in fat and sodium, which makes truck drivers much more likely to be overweight than the average population. This also means that commercial truck drivers are more likely to suffer from weight-related health conditions such as hypertension and high cholesterol.
While trying to stay in shape can feel like an impossible challenge when you spend so much of your life on the road, even making small changes to your routine can have a huge impact on your overall health. For instance, when you stop to stretch your legs, try to get some light exercise. Even a 15-minute walk can have a huge impact on your physical and mental health. You should also try to order healthy meals with lots of fruits and vegetables when possible in order to ensure a balanced diet.
While not a direct result of being a commercial truck driver, lung cancer is more common in truck drivers than in the general population. This is because truck drivers are more than twice as likely to smoke, and smokers are at a much higher risk of developing lung cancer. Truck drivers often smoke as a way to fight fatigue or because they are simply bored on the road; however, doing what you can to cut back on your smoking (or quit altogether) can greatly improve your health.
Sleep disorders such as insomnia are another common problem truck drivers face, as constantly changing schedules can make it difficult to get the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep a night. This also means fatigue is a common problem reported by truck drivers. However, chronic fatigue can be extremely dangerous for truck drivers as it can put you and others on the road in danger should you fall asleep at the wheel. If you are struggling to get enough sleep on the road, it is critical that you talk to your doctor about solutions that could help you get the sleep you need.
Depression and Isolation
For long-haul truck drivers who spend days at a time on the road, feelings of sadness, loneliness, and isolation can lead to struggles with depression as well as other mental health problems. Time away from family can also lead to stress about what you are missing and feeling guilty about being away. If you find that your mental health has suffered because of your job, it is important that you consult a mental healthcare professional as soon as possible to ensure you get the care and support you need.
Being a truck driver can be a rewarding career, but it is important that you take steps to ensure you stay healthy while on the road. Contact us to learn more about the unique issues commercial truck drivers face on the road as well as for all of your commercial truck insurance needs in Florida, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Tennessee.