Truck driving is sometimes seen as an isolated occupation, but is not the case at The Chippenham Pit Stop. Here truck drivers and management worked together to raise money for the installation of a life-saving defibrillator.
I look at what motivated their actions and share a few tips on health whilst driving haulage.
A Life-Saving Installation
Chippenham Pit Stop, in Wiltshire just off junction 17 of the M4, has around 100 truckers stopping there overnight. With so many drivers on-site, Lisa Hatherell, the Chippenham Pit Stop health campaigns coordinator, is well aware of the health challenges a truck driver can face. The campaign encourages drivers to learn about potential health risks and promotes healthier lifestyles.
The defibrillator unit cost around £1,500, which was raised by donations from drivers and matched by the management. All who donated, and those who didn’t, appreciate having the unit on site.
The managers of Chippenham Pit Stop are passionate about truck driver health and run awareness campaigns each month to highlight how drivers can look after themselves on and off the road. The stop has introduced more healthy eating options as well as an outdoor gym to make it easier for busy customers to make sensible choices.
Minimising Risks as a Truck Driver
There are some very simple things you can do to improve and maintain your health while on the road.
- Exercise: The nature of the job means that you are sitting in one position for extended periods of time. This can lead to stiffness in the neck and shoulders and a sore back. Just ten or twenty minutes of exercise a day will make a noticeable difference, lead to increased comfort and reduce the likelihood of aches and pains.
- Sleep: Make sure you are getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. The average truck driver is likely to work shifts which can interfere with your natural body clock. Activities such as meditation, reading, or even sports can improve the quality of your sleep. Remember to try to avoid screen-time immediately before sleeping.
- Nutrition and Hydration: It is too easy to make questionable nutrition choices at the end of a long shift, or when you don’t have much time to eat. However, eating as much fruit and veg as possible along with high quality proteins and complex carbs (wholemeal bread not white) will keep you feeling full and give your body what it needs. Snack on seeds and nuts rather than chocolate and crisps. Equally as important is keeping well hydrated and choosing water over sugary alternatives. Drinking plenty of water will help you feel awake and focused.
Though it can seem like it’s difficult to stay healthy as a haulier, following this simple advice about exercise, sleep and nutrition will go a long way to keeping you fit and healthy on the roads. Hopefully, more will follow the example of Chippenham Pit Stop in prioritising the health and wellbeing of their customers and working with drivers to implement effective solutions.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching a truck driver with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe ‘wholesale’ environment.