It may seem as if the role of truck driver is naturally socially distant, but the answer is complicated. While many truck drivers enjoy spending their time alone, driving a truck can still have a lot of face-to-face contact with dock managers, staff at restaurants/truck stops, fuel station attendants and a variety of others that you encounter on the road. 

The more we learn about COVID-19, the better we can protect ourselves and others around us. And, fortunately, if you are a truck driver, there are ways to protect yourself and the people you interact with during a typical workday. These tips can help you stay safe and keep others safe at the same time. Here is what you need to know. 

Avoid Close Contact with Others

The safest place you can be when you are on the road is in your truck because it is in your truck where you can avoid contact with others. Time spent outside the truck is time when you could be exposed to COVID-19. When outside your truck, develop these habits to protect yourself:
  • Avoid shaking hands with others.
  • Whenever possible, use your radio or cell phone to speak with other drivers and dock managers.  
  • Make arrangements for cargo pickup and unloading in advance to limit contact with facility managers upon arrival. 
  • Keep food and water in your truck to limit stops on the road.
  • Many trucking companies, and the shippers and consignees that utilize their services, are now using electronic invoicing/receipt options to avoid exchange of papers with others.
  • Make sure to disinfect surfaces in the cab. 
Wear a Face Covering

Many customers, cities and states require you wear a mask. Be prepared. Wear your face mask, bandana or face covering whenever you are in public spaces like truck stops, restaurants, convenience stores and at designated pick-up and drop-off locations.
Wear a face covering that masks your nose and mouth. Keep your face covering clean. Remove the face covering while eating (it might get dirty) and avoid touching your face covering. If you must touch your face covering, sanitize your hands before and after handling.

Practice Basic Sanitation

Practice basic sanitation on the road. Use disinfectant wipes, an alcohol solution of 70% alcohol or a diluted bleach solution to clean frequently touched surfaces in your rig. Disinfect your steering wheel, driver door handle, seat belt, turn signal and wiper controls regularly. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before eating and after touching frequently touched surfaces. If you are unable to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer generously. Keep hand sanitizer in the cab and in the sleeping area of your truck. Keep your truck well-ventilated whenever possible.
Wash your hands after sneezing, coughing, and blowing your nose. Avoid sharing personal protective equipment such as masks and safety glasses, or tools like phones and radios. 

Know Where You Can Be Safe

If your employer has a list of safe truck stops and hotels that practice basic sanitation, use that list to plan your route. If there is no such list, call ahead to facilities to make sure you have a safe place for yourself. 

Have a Plan

What happens if you are on the road and get sick? What will you do with your cargo? How will you get care? Have a plan in place just in case something happens. Discuss your plan with your spouse and co-workers, to ensure that everyone knows their role and what you will do. 

Drivers have many more options to get help while on the road. In many cases, you can connect with a provider using an app on your smartphone. If you do have COVID-19 symptoms, connect with providers ahead of time, so they can be prepared for your arrival. If you do become sick and are able to get home, stay there until all symptoms are gone and your doctor has given you clearance to return to work.

Read Up

Again, there are many resources online to help truck drivers stay safe while on the job. Do your research and know the best practices to stay safe. That can help you protect yourself, your family and people you encounter while doing your critical work.  Safety First

As someone who travels for your job, it is vitally important that you protect yourself from COVID-19. If you are not working for a carrier that provides you the support you need to be successful, look for a trucking company that is built on Safety. Trucking companies that provide masks, hand sanitizer and who leverage contactless technologies are investing in your safety and long-term success.

Remember, practice good hygiene, wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer and keep your truck clean. Practice social distancing and do not gather in large groups to protect yourself and the people you encounter while at work. Following these tips can help you stay safe, stay on the job, and protect the people you care about. 
 
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