Recommendations for long-haul drivers to stay safe during COVID-19

The worldwide response to the coronavirus challenges has been prompt, going from the first steps to impose full lockdown to limiting the amount of time that a driver can spend on the road. Transportation, along with field services, utility workers, and many other fleet-based operations have been deemed essential services and, therefore, are allowed to continue to operate, in spite of the threats posed by the novel coronavirus. In the United Kingdom, operators are required to provide feedback on a regular basis concerning the volume of work, as well as the number of vehicles deployed. 

One thing is for sure: long-haul transportation keeps the economy afloat. Nations are depending on truckers to get through these difficult times. If the transportation industry would stop rolling, the economy would most likely come to a halt. The question now is: Who is protecting long-haul drivers? Well, organisations are doing their best to ensure that their most valuable employees are safe, such as being staffed at regulated hours, maintaining systems and platforms running all the time, and working with customers from a distance. Nevertheless, truck drivers have a duty of care to protect themselves. We have some suggestions on what long-haul drivers can do to stay safe during COVID-19. 

Notifying supervisors and staying home if they have symptoms 

It’s very common for people to contract the novel coronavirus without even knowing it. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 can be asymptomatic, which means that infected people don’t develop any kind of symptoms. Asymptomatic patients are very dangerous because they can spread the virus around even if they’re not coughing or sneezing. It’s not recommended to ignore symptoms of COVID-19 because the disease can evolve rapidly. Even if the country has passed the peak of the coronavirus infection, there are still chances of becoming fatally ill. 

Long-haul drivers with symptoms and exposure should let their employers know what is going on. It’s necessary to notify the employer that you’re sick and make a plan for recovery. Put a stop to your activity the moment that you suspect you may have coronavirus. Reach out to your employer via email and insist on the fact that it’s not a good idea to come in to work. Your colleagues can catch the disease from you. There is a policy in place for how to handle situations of this kind, outlining who should be notified first, what time off you’re entitled to, and so on. If you haven’t taken the time to read the company policies, do it now. 


Staying in the driver’s cabin whenever possible 

Transportation companies go at great lengths to protect their employees during the global pandemic. Given that reckless driving is on the rise, many have resorted to installing rear-view camera systems and blind spot warning systems to prevent unfortunate accidents. The roads are quieter since the COVID-19 outbreak and the number of car crashes is plummeting, but collisions haven’t been completely eliminated. Reckless driving has become a nuisance. Truck drivers should no doubt follow the speed limit and always be on the lookout for drivers and pedestrians. Some might be tempted not to respect the law making the road a dangerous place for other users. 

As mentioned earlier, long-haul drivers need to be proactive and make sure they don’t do anything irrational. They shouldn’t step out of the driver’s cabin unless it’s completely necessary. There’s nothing more important than limiting contact during this time of crisis. Social distancing measures have been enforced to make sure that the deadly virus doesn’t spread from person to person. If it’s necessary to leave the cabin, it’s recommended to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres when other people are present. Face-to-face contact should be avoided at all costs. You should stop touching your face too often and 

Wearing cloth face coverings in public places 

Long-haul drivers have contact with truck stop attendants, dock workers, store workers, as well as other drivers. They’re at a higher risk of becoming infected with the novel coronavirus, which is why it’s essential to wear personal protective equipment. Cloth face coverings offer protection against the COVID-19 virus. The use of face masks is a common occurrence in countries such as China. As more and more nations relax restrictions and enable citizens to resume their lives, it’s more important than ever to be careful. Masks should be worn anytime in public. Many people unknowingly infect others by coughing or sneezing. Wearing a cloth face covering is effective for two reasons. On the one hand, it eliminates the breathing that spreads the virus around. On the other hand, the mask reduces oral transmission. 

Before putting on the cloth face covering, it’s paramount to clean the hands using water and soap. An alcohol-based solution is equally acceptable. There should be no gaps between the face and the mask. If this happens, when you inhale air, the virus will find a way to get into the body, therefore, negating the benefits of wearing a mask. The positioning of the mask varies according to the shape of the nose, so we can’t talk about an ideal position. Make sure the cloth is tightly sealed around your nose and mouth. The mask doesn’t have to be too tight, yet, there should be no gaps. The mast should be replaced with a new one as soon as it becomes damp.  

Last but not least, long-haul drivers should make sure they are packed with essentials such as food. This will eliminate the temptation of stopping at drive-ins or other types of food establishments along the way. Cleaning supplies are of the essence because the COVID-19 virus can live on surfaces for a long time. Disinfection practically kills the pathogen. Sanitize the steering wheel and don’t forget about the door handles, buttons, touchscreens, and so on. If you happen to touch a contaminated surface and then touch your mouth or your nose you could succumb to illness. Getting enough hours of sleep at night, eating healthily, and exercising is important for those who now sustain the economy. 

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