Life As A Trucker:
The Hidden Dangers

The life as a trucker is tough, challenging and even dangerous. We drive down busy highways. We carry everything from cars to heavy machinery to perishable products. We drive in the daytime and at night. We are on the road in any and every kind of weather. Unfortunately, we also pull these loads in spite of some serious health issues.

Truckers, male and female, are at a high-risk from several work-related health issues. Statistics from research dating back to 2007 clearly indicate the hidden yet inherent dangers of this job. In fact, according to statistics from the United States Bureau of Labor, OTR trucking is classified as being one of the highest risk occupations in the country. Research currently being conducted in both Canada and the United States continues to clarify the connection between the workplace environment and the potential health issues confronting truck drivers.

Companies are encouraging the studies. They are also considering the overall effect of the environment on the industry in general and drivers in particular. They are looking at how truck drivers may reduce the risk for health issues. Although part of the basis is economic – poor health increases such things as insurance rates; any attempt to address the problem is helpful. If improving driver health issues is linked to insurance reductions, so be it.

Life as a trucker
Life as a trucker

Life On The Road

The life style of anyone in trucking can testify to various unhealthy factors. As truckers, we are on the road for long hours and at all times of the day and night. The size of our rig and our route, as well as the time, dictates where we can and cannot stop. The result - we end up eating in truck stop restaurants where the major ingredient of food is grease. Everything is fried. Candy bars are available for snacks. Pop is consumed by the caseload.

We sit down all day. We do not even help load or unload. Our only form of exercise is stepping on the gas and the brake. Is it any wonder we are faced with health issues reflective of a sedentary life style? Is it any surprise we are potential victims of obesity, high blood pressure, Type Two Diabetes and cardio-vascular problems? According to a recent (2010) study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, there are direct connections between "the transportation environment and truckers' risks for obesity-associated comorbidities …"

Making Healthy Choices

Yet, not all the blame lies with the companies and our environment. We, as truckers, need to accept some responsibility. It is possible for us to avoid the health issues. It all comes down to us making healthy choices.

  • Don’t stand around or sit down while they unload – work out. Take a walk, hike to town or even ride a bike
  • Bring along an electric grill and cook a healthy, lean meal. Consider eating cereal, and chicken breasts instead of truck stop food
  • Eat healthy snacks such as apples, granola, trail mix, oranges, etc.
  • Avoid sodas and colas. Drink water and pure fruit or vegetable juice instead
  • Exercise before or after a trip
  • Join a 24-hour, nationwide gym
  • Build a gym in your trailer cab
  • Stop smoking
  • Visit your doctor regularly

There are organizations to draw upon. They offer programs such as "Truckercise" and SHIFT. Some companies provide truckers with weight loss and smoker cessation programs. This can help us escape health problems so use it.

Keeping On Trucking

The life as a trucker is not an easy one. Yet, as truckers, we owe it to ourselves, our families and our country to perform at our best. If we cannot buckle up over our fat bellies or are in danger of a heart attack, we are a menace to society. We need to be healthy so we can continue doing what we do best - keeping on trucking.

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As a truck driver, I see what the business of driving a truck can do to your health. I recognized early in my career the need to get an stay health.

We welcome your comments and suggestions for healthy snack ideas and ways to stay fit. Staying healthy is important for all of us.

Feel free to share your experiences of your life as a trucker and how you combat health issues. You can do this via our contact form.