Truckers have kept much of the economy afloat as large portions of the nation shelter in place to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
But those truckers have delivered badly needed food, household goods and medical supplies at risk to themselves. They have to fuel their vehicles. They need rest and food stops. They take loads and drop cargo off at docks. Every point of contact is a point of risk.
Commercial Truck Trader has compiled advice for ways truckers can stay safe on the road until the pandemic subsides.
Some of it obvious actions that health officials are urging all to adopt. Stay 6 feet from others. Wear a mask when interacting with people or entering an establishment. Wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer. Don’t touch your face. Stay home if you feel sick.
But truckers, the vehicle seller says, should take extra precautions before hitting the road.
They should begin by planning their routes in detail, taking notes of the states they will travel through. Drivers need to be aware of any relevant travel advisories and/or temporary changes to policies like toll collection and food sales.
“Food services is one area to look for in particular, as many states have suspended dine-in services and have limited restaurants to drive-though, delivery, and take-out options only. You’ll need a plan for meals, whether it’s taking along all of your own food or looking up which spots along your route are still open and serving to-go food,” Commercial Truck Trader advises.
Drivers also need to have a Plan B ready for if they get sick on the road.
How will they judge if their symptoms are mild enough to safely operate the truck? What is the maximum distance they can drive without interacting with and endangering others? Will drivers identify places to quarantine themselves? And if the symptoms are severe, do they have contact information for hospitals or health providers?
“For truckers, you’ll need to work with your fleet manager to settle these issues, as well as come up with a potential plan for your stranded load if you get sick,” Commercial Truck Trader says.
Drivers also need to make sure their trucks are fully stocked with food and other essentials. That will help them by if restaurants and stores along their routes are closed. Even those that are open have cut operating hours and might not be available for a trucker rolling in late in the day.
They also need to have cleaning supplies in the cab so that touchscreens, shifters, buttons and the steering wheel don’t become a source for the virus via touch.
Finally, Commercial Truck Trader advises that this isn’t the time for drivers to push themselves. That’s a hard lesson. Getting a load and delivering it quickly increase profits. But getting sick or spreading the disease to loved ones has tremendous human and monetary costs. Drivers need to get plenty of sleep, eat well stay hydrated and exercise so that they can deliver the goods and keep the economy afloat until the pandemic subsides.