Why Truck Driver Health Equals Success On The Road

November 07, 2016
by Tony Barber
Why Truck Driver Health Equals Success On The Road

Good health and success as a truck driver go hand-in-hand. This is a message that Bob Perry, president and founder of Rolling Strong, has dedicated his life to spreading.

Rolling Strong provides health and wellness programs to professional drivers. And for Bob, this mission is personal.

“I come from a family of professional truck drivers. I’ve worked in this space for 25 years now, bringing healthy solutions to professional truck drivers, bus drivers, and fleets,” he explains.

In Bob’s own words, here’s why good truck driver health can equal success on the road.

Q: Why is good physical and mental health important for success as a truck driver?

Bob Perry: There are very few occupations that equate the person’s success to meeting certain health standards. But when you’re a professional driver, you have to have a good medical card. So, good health is the key to maintaining your livelihood.

Q: What does good physical health look like for a successful truck driver?

Bob: It’s about meeting Department of Transportation guidelines.

Source: DOT EXAM Locations

Q: What is one of those steps drivers can take toward better health?

Bob: When you become a professional driver, you master a lot of information. One of the most fundamental steps you learn is this: Every time you stop, before you pull your truck back onto the road, you do a pre-trip walkaround.

That means you walk around your outfit. You look to see if anything is hanging down, if your tires are okay, if any of the lights are busted—things that could be a potential hazard on the road.

So, I tell drivers you can apply the same idea to your diet. Before you get on the road, do a pre-trip refrigerator or cooler check. Look to see if you have some good nutritional snacks or food options.

This is important. When you’re a professional driver, you’re going to get stuck—whether it’s bad weather, construction delays, or accidents on the highway. And when you’re sitting there, if you don’t have good choices to reach for, you’re going to make bad choices.

When that traffic jam breaks loose and you’re ready to roll again, you want to make sure you have the proper energy in your system to perform your job. That is key. Doing a pre-trip food check can help.

Q: Why does good mental health matter, too?

Bob: Stress is a big issue in trucking. I try to help drivers manage that the best way they can. If you think about it, drivers are away from their family—maybe they’re 3,000 miles from home. And maybe the basement’s flooded or Johnny got kicked out of school, or there are economic issues they’re worried about.

We try to help drivers manage these issues the best they can. So, we have CDL wellness coaches located at various terminals for our clients to speak with. They do a lot of one-on-one talking with drivers to help them. We also have a CDL coaching line that drivers can call.

In extreme situations, many companies have health benefit programs. These can offer resources as well. That’s something worth checking into.

Q: What advice do you have for truck drivers who are struggling with their health?

Bob: You don’t drive your rig down the road at night with the lights out. You want to manage your health with that same thought in mind.

Get yourself screened regularly. See where you’re at with things like blood pressure and blood sugar. And if you’re having problems with stress, don’t be afraid to reach out and take advantage of the services out there that are offered through your medical plan.

Don’t ignore these issues. There are a lot of different avenues to get help through.

To make sure you’re on the right track toward being a successful, healthy truck driver, find a DOT exam location near you.