Truck Driving Is a Stressful Job

Truck Driving Is a Stressful JobTruck driving is a financially rewarding profession for many residents of Oklahoma. The financial benefits are likely to increase as the demand for drivers increases while the number of people who have a commercial driver’s license is decreasing. The rewards are countered by many different types of stress. Truck workers often have to leave their families for long stretches of time. Driving a semi, 18-wheeler, or any type of large truck is very physically demanding.

According to CDL Jobs, job security, freedom while the driver is on the road, and the financial incentives often aren’t enough to entice new drivers to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Many truck drivers burn out from the demands of truck driving. Truck drivers who fail to prioritize their health are a risk to themselves and to anyone on the road.

What are the mental stresses of driving a truck?

CDL’s discussion of the stresses of truck driving is based on a 2018 article posted by Transport Topics and a research study on truck driving stress. The study found the following stresses for truck drivers:

  • Truck drivers are often on the road for long parts of the day. When they rest, they may be lucky to stop at a truck stop diner where they can talk with other drivers. Many drivers eat alone. It can be difficult to find social activities after the driver’s shift is over. So, the drivers rely on smartphones and other devices to communicate with their loved ones back home, and on infotainment devices to stay alert. Playing these devices can be risky because drivers who constantly adjust devices are distracted from the traffic around them.
  • Lack of respect. The study indicated that truck drivers often feel that drivers of passenger cars don’t respect them. Many car drivers are aggressive. Other personal frustrations include a lack of respect from customers, supervisors, and other people they need to work with to load and unload their shipments. Truck drives provide the goods that communities across Oklahoma and across the country need. They deserve appreciation for the hard work they do.
  • Government oversight. The study claims that hours of service rules, weigh stations, and other regulations cause a great amount of anxiety. These regulations help save lives and help reduce the number of serious injuries, but they can create a burden on drivers who are paid based on how quickly they can deliver goods.

What are the physical stresses of driving a truck?

Truck driving is a demanding job. Most drivers drive for long hours each day and many weeks of the year. Even with current technology, drivers need to be strong to maneuver their trucks. Many truck drivers help with the loading and unloading of the cargo. Truck drivers also need to use force to secure the cargo.

Truck driving is essentially a sedentary job. Drivers who sit in their driver’s seat are at risk of heart attacks and heart disease. Current medical thought is that everyone who works at a sedentary should stand up and stretch every hour.

Some of the possible physical problems that can often be helped with medical guidance include:

  • Truck drivers who eat too much, often while they’re driving, and don’t exercise are at risk of obesity. Truck drivers who eat while they’re driving are also likely to be distracted. Driver distraction is a leading cause of truck accidents.
  • High blood pressure. Along with poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, and a lack of exercise – truck drivers are likely to develop high blood pressure. The odds of developing high blood pressure increases if the truck driver smokes.
  • Physical disorders. Poor ergonomics can place a lot of physical stress on a truck driver’s neck, back, and spine. Seats and sleeper compartments should help the driver not hurt him/her.

What steps should Oklahoma City truck drivers consider to reduce stress?

There are many steps drivers take to improve their health – so they don’t cause a truck accident. A few suggestions include:

  • Eating a healthy diet. Pack your lunches and store them in a small travel refrigerator or cooler instead of regularly eating at truck stops and fast foods where the food may be satisfying but often has a high carbohydrate and a high cholesterol content level. Drivers can also stop at a supermarket or places that serve healthy foods.
  • Getting enough rest. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has hours of service rules for good reason. Rested drivers are better able to handle the emotional and physical stresses of driving a truck. Drivers should make sure they sleep on quality mattresses.
  • Staying connected. Drivers should schedule regular times to speak with relatives and friends back home. They should make sure to make calls and read texts after their shift is over or while they are on break – so they don’t drive while they are distracted.
  • Being aware of ergonomics. Good postures, back and neck supports, and other strategies and devices can help make the long drive more comfortable.
  • Getting enough exercise. Truck drivers should find time to walk or exercise while they are on their breaks or after their shift is over. It’s not a good idea to just watch TV or play with electronic devices. Drivers should try to walk, run, or do some exercise that improves their heart and health.
  • Understanding stress management. There are some mental techniques such as yoga, meditation, or doing things to clear one’s head that can help truck drivers. Gadgets like stress balls may be useful and may even help strengthen your hand. A massage, if available, can also help.

At Cunningham & Mears, Oklahoma City accident lawyers understand why truck accidents happen. Often truck crashes occur due to driver fatigue, distracted driving, driver intoxication, and other types of behavior that are easily preventable. If you were injured or a loved one was killed due to a truck driver, call us to discuss your claim. We advise clients about their rights and how the litigation process works. We’ll fight to obtain the best result possible. You can contact us today in Oklahoma City, or call 405-232-1212 to schedule a free consultation.