Truck drivers from all around the world are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the concern on everyone’s mind is safety.
Whether driving long hours or short distances — cross-country or within state borders — this country relies on the brave men and women at the forefront of supply delivery. Here are some helpful tips and hints to practice safe precautionary measures to ensure a lower chance for infection and transmission during truck driver’s daily routes.
Personal Protective Equipment
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Cloth face coverings may prevent people who don’t know they have the virus from transmitting it to others. In terms of gloves, if you do not have any, wear an old sweater around your waste so that you can use the sleeves to open and close doors and to pump gas at the station. Also, wearing your sunglasses when coming into contact with individuals can minimize exposure. Anything to help protect your face, especially if someone near or around you is coughing or sneezing.
Cash or Credit
If possible, avoid cash. Cash is unclean, even without a contagious virus going around. Whenever possible use a card to pay. And even better, use contactless payments through a smartphone or with contactless card. This can help limit contact with hard surfaces where the COVID-19 virus can live for hours if not properly disinfected.
Get a cooler, load it up with ice, and start packing home-made sandwiches. While this might not be the most convenient of feasible method to fill a person’s stomach, it is important to try avoiding contact with others when possible. Also you should order food to go, instead of eating inside restaurants. But, if you need to enter a convenient store to make a purchase, do not forget to disinfect the goods afterwards and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Public Restrooms & Showers
When going in public restrooms, preferably bring your own toilet paper or napkins as a safety net. If you happen to order take-out on the road, ask for extra napkins! They can be a life-saving substitute. And, again, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
If the need for a shower cannot be helped, bring your own soap and shampoo, and a pair of shower shoes/flipflops. The flipflops will not only protect you from COVID-19, but from many other fungi and bacteria that live on shower floors. Be sure to bring a plastic bag to place used shower shoes in to keep the bottoms of them away from you and your things. After shower be sure to avoid the use of hair dryers and hand dryers because of their ability to blow around invisible surface matter that can then be inhaled and breathed in. Always stick with towel drying.
If you decide to rent a hotel or motel room while on the road, do not trust the cleanliness from surface appearance alone. Use best practices like hand washing after touching anything in the room and bring out those flipflops again. It would also be beneficial to bring blankets, sheets, and even a pillowcase. If this is too much load for you, at least use disinfection spray all over the bed and the room to disinfect as much as possible.
And even if all precautions are met, don’t forget the basics:
- Notify your fleet manager and stay home if having symptoms.
- Follow CDC-recommended steps if you are sick.
- Follow CDC recommended precautions and notify your fleet manager if you are well but have a sick family member at home with COVID-19.
- Limit close contact with others by maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet when possible.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on a routine basis.
- Avoid touching surfaces often touched by others when outside of the cab.
COVID-19 has changed the world collectively, and as a result, the lives that we live will be very different going forward. Always get your information from credible sources like the CDC and the WHO. It’s important to remember false information often makes it way around online platforms.
When driving across borders, be sure to adhere to the measures put in place for your own safety. Keep your distance from others, and avoid social gatherings, even when not driving across the country.
The saying, “better safe than sorry” definitely applies nowadays.
Be safe and stay strong!