Being in a vehicle for long periods of time can lead to physical pain, reductions in mental clarity, and exhaustion. It can be even more difficult for truck drivers whose daily routine is to drive long distances for many hours on end. If you’re not careful, inactivity, an irregular schedule, and other factors can negatively impact your health. Yet these healthy long-distance driving tips can help you stay alert and safe while on the open road.
Sitting behind the wheel all day demands more from your body than you think. Truck drivers should consume more water per day than most people, but not all at once. Sipping water over time keeps your body hydrated and reduces the number of bathroom stops. You’ll feel less inclined to drink high-sugar, high-calorie beverages too.
While large soda containers fit easily into cup holders, they’re usually loaded with caffeine and sugar. These can leave you feeling fatigued and be harmful for your long-term health. It’s best to stock up on water or have a cup of unsweetened coffee.
You can help your metabolism, heart, bones, and teeth by eating properly. Healthy snacks include carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, grapes, bananas, almonds, pears, and oranges. Eating high-fiber foods every couple of hours keeps you alert and avoids overheating at fast food establishments.
Plan Your Route
Planning your day not only ensures you get to your destination. It also helps set up rest stops to get out and stretch every couple of hours. Even if you work an 11-hour day, proper planning can lead to a more relaxed schedule and a healthier diet, exercise, and sleep routine.
While you don’t need rigorous exercise to get through the day, it is wise to stop, get out, and stretch. Your back can get stiff after hours in the same position. Stretching your back and shoulders can loosen your muscles and prevent pain. Leg stretches also help alleviate and avoid cramps.
Here are some exercises to try that can improve your day:
- Stretch your back by standing straight. Then circle your shoulders backward about five times, extend your arms overhead, and arch them back a little. Lower your arms after a few seconds and repeat one or two more times.
- To relieve leg cramps, stand in a lunge position with your left knee in front and right leg behind with the heel touching the ground. Put your hands on your hips and hold the position to stretch your legs and gluteal muscles.
- Relieve shoulder tension with your chin parallel to the ground and your head drawn back; repeat a few times. This stretches your upper spine and shoulders.
- Clots can form in your legs when sitting for more than four hours whether you’re a truck driver or car passenger. To avoid this situation, flex your feet using ankle rolls or alternative flexing and pointing of feet.
Improve Your Posture
Poor posture can lead to pain and discomfort, disrupt blood flow, and leave you feeling tired. Sit up straight and adjust your seat properly. If you start to feel tension coming on, stretch a little or shift your position. When a break is in order, be sure to listen to your body so you’re ready for the next run.
Get Enough Sleep
An irregular, unpredictable schedule can make it difficult to sleep well, but you should always try to get eight solid hours of sleep every day. Whether you need earplugs, a white noise machine, or a night mask, do what it takes. Don’t indulge in your smartphone before bed; the light can fool your brain about the time of day and disrupt your sleep pattern.
Get Plenty of Rest
Your quality of rest is critical. Suburban Seating & Safety carries InnerSpace and Bostrom and Serta truck mattresses in different sizes. Each item is easy to install, is insulating, and helps regulate temperature. Our product line also provides the support to help your body rest and recover.
Upgrade Safety Equipment
Make sure you have the latest safety equipment and that it’s in working condition. When necessary, you can find lap belts, tether straps, full seat belts, brackets, backup cameras and monitors, digital mirrors, and heated side mirrors. Digital wireless transmitters, noiseless back-up alarms, pedestrian spotlights, and road temperature monitors maximize safety as well.
Accessorize Your Cab
While they may sound optional, truck accessories can make your life easier and safer. These include universal bungee cords to secure items, mobile device holders, slide rails, and USB chargers. Other options include seat swivels, dash mounts, repair tape, document holders, and laptop mounts.
Update Your Seat
A quality seat has a major impact on your wellness. The wrong seat, a worn-out seat, or the wrong-positioned seat can leave you with strains and sprains that impact your quality of life. Look for features such as suspension and isolation, firm cushions, fore/aft adjustment, high lumbar support, arm rests, air compression, and other ergonomic elements.
Shop at Suburban Seating & Safety
We hope our long distance driving tips help you. The leader in truck seating, we’re the largest authorized distributor for several aftermarket truck seating manufacturers, including National Seating, Bostrom Seating, and ISRI Seating.
Serving owner-operators, nationwide fleets, and government agencies, we also supply products that can improve the quality of life for truckers on the road. We have truck mattresses, accessories, and safety equipment in stock, and we can assist you at our Lodi, NJ showroom or when you call us at 844-727-7328. Reach out today for help or information.