Surviving COVID-19 and the Road’s Unhealthy Reality

As over the road drivers we often have no choice but to use public facilities in our travels. Whether it’s public restrooms, restaurants, grocery stores or anywhere else where human foot traffic and interaction is heavy there are ways to minimize our chances of contracting an illness.

Let’s face it—any experienced driver knows that becoming ill on the road is never a pleasant experience. I’m sure many of us have numerous real-world examples of our own experiences.

Growing concern over the growing number of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) cases highlights the importance of protecting our own health. But there are things we collectively should do regularly to reduce our risk of contracting any type of illness.

As we get older and/or deal with certain medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure our immune systems become compromised. It becomes even more important to protect ourselves in those circumstances.

In addition to proper hand washing we need to do whatever we can to isolate ourselves from the possibility of contracting an illness wherever we go.

Personal Hygiene

Ask yourself this question and give yourself an honest answer: How good are you about washing your hands? Using hand sanitizer is NOT the same as washing your hands with soap and hot water for at least 30 seconds every time it is needed.

We should always wash our hands right after we visit the restroom, before we eat a meal or handle food or after we fuel our trucks.

After using the restroom, we need to think about the many people, whether they are children who may not know any better or adults who should, do not wash their hands before opening the door to leave. That door handle would show some nasty results after a swab test for sure. Many people use a disposable paper towel or napkin in their hand to avoid touching the door handle directly while exiting the restroom or just about any public place.

Buffet Dining

The buffet and salad bar has been a favorite among drivers for as long as many of us can remember. Unfortunately, the utensils used to place food on our plates may be contaminated by others. Knowing that, it’s wise to choose other dining options.

Interaction with Others

Knowing that COVID-19 can be transmitted between people in the air we breathe it is best for us to keep our distance from other people and avoid shaking hands or other personal contact. Especially if a person is showing symptoms of a common cold or influenza.

Driving Different Vehicles

When driving a vehicle other than your own,  spray the interior down with a disinfectant and wipe down all controls before touching anything. I also know that some of us wear rubber gloves while driving a vehicle other than the ones we own or are permanently assigned to.

Public Computers

A keyboard or touch screen on a public computer and the desktop it’s on can be a cesspool of germs if those using it don’t wash their hands before using. Many of us use prepackaged antibacterial wipes on those surfaces and then use an eraser head on a pencil to type on the keyboard or touch screens.

Fueling

If you are fueling your truck at a Pilot, Flying J, or Love’s it’s advisable to use the smartphone app to activate the pump from inside your cab. The six-digit code at Pilot/Flying J can be entered while wearing the same gloves used to handle the fuel nozzles- which should never be handled with bare hands.

Feeling ill on the road?

As per DOT Regulations a commercial vehicle should never be operated by a driver who is ill and/or fatigued.

If you as a driver are feeling ill contact your asset manager and the safety department, then focus on getting well. That may entail getting a day or two of bed rest while the illness runs its course or additional care if the symptoms are severe or persist for a longer period of time.