Dealing with COVID-19 while on the road

Best practices for truckers to stay healthy during COVID-19 outbreak.

If nothing else, this pandemic has certainly highlighted the importance of the trucking industry to the world. As people all over North America fear shortages, more and more people are realizing what an important role trucking and the people who drive the trucks are. While it’s sad that it takes an international emergency to bring to light the importance of truckers to the greater population, lets hope that it brings a lasting appreciation for the unsung people that keep the world running.

Now that being said, it is important that truckers stay healthy (for your own sake, not just because you keep the world turning!). The best part about trucking is that you are fairly removed from the general populous just by the very nature of your job- driving in a truck solo. But you do have to interact with others when dropping off and picking up deliveries. For that we have compiled some recommendations from credible sources.

Tips for keeping healthy on the road:

  • Practice good social distancing from others during pickups and deliveries. This means maintaining a distance of 2 meters or more. Limit the amount of face to face time with others. Thank goodness we live in the time of cell phones to help make this possible.
  • Try to avoid or minimize visits to busy areas such as truck stops, driver lounges, repair shops.
  • If someone else in your household gets sick- stay home!
  • Use our world of fantastic technology to contact others. Call, text, email, video chat instead of meeting up with other staff.
  • Wash, wash, wash your hands! Wash on the regular, and make sure to wash for 15-30 seconds. No just swishing your hands under the faucet! Here’s a handy guide if you want the nitty gritty.
  • Try to sneeze or cough into the inside of your elbow instead of into your hands.
  • Avoid shaking hands- don’t worry, the other person won’t think your rude, they’ll probably thank you!
  • Use sanitizer wipes to give your cab a wipe down. Make sure to wipe cargo door handles, seat belts, steering wheels, gear shifts, knobs, buttons, dash, PPE, Satellite, clip boards and pens, cell phones, keys- basically anything that sees hands with germs!
  • If you can’t wash your hands, carry a bottle of alcohol hand sanitizer for the in between times. Make sure your hand sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol. And amazingly enough there is a guide on how to use hand-sanitizer to. Find that here. Spoiler alert- the biggest thing is to let the hand-sani dry on your hands, don’t rub it off on a towel.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

If you have office staff, here are some additional tips for mitigating chances of contraction:

  • Letting anyone who is able work from home
  • Avoid meetings if you can do it electronically
  • Try staggering breaks to avoid large groups
  • Provide sanitizing supplies so everyone can wipe down pens, keyboards, phones, desks, etc, and promote their use on a regular basis.
  • Create a visitor policy. If you normally have visitors coming to your office develop a policy of how you are going to handle this for the coming weeks.
  • Post signage for employees to encourage good hand washing techniques.

Truck stops limiting services

Truck stops every where are doing their best to stay operational yet safe during these unprecedented times. Be as prepared as you can as not all services may be available. Many locations are no longer allowing drivers to refill reusable mugs, so don’t bother bringing your own in.

Some are shutting down lounges, or severely limiting the number of people. Some stops are being shut down if they are unable to maintain the necessary level of cleanliness and disinfection that is needed. Be sure to look ahead to make sure you know where you can stop for the necessary facilities you require. Some like the Flying J are going the extra mile to keep their showers open.

Keep greater quantities of snacks on hand as many drive-thru restaurants have closed their restaurants and are only allowing drive-thru services (which is awfully difficult to drive a big rig through, we’ve all seen the YouTube videos!).

Here are the links for some of the bigger chains out there and what they are doing to stay open during COVID-19 pandemic:

Flying J
TravelCenters of America

Keep healthy out there

These is just a broad list of suggestions that we have combined from looking at reputable sites, but I’m sure this is not a comprehensive list. Be sure to keep up to date with any new health advice as it becomes available. Experts are learning more about this novel new coronavirus and how to help overcome it.

You can follow further updates in the trucking by following our page COVID-19 and Trucking Updates. You can also sign up for email updates here.

Helpful Resources

We have compiled a list of resources that may come in handy.

Government of Canada

 Know the difference: Self-monitoring, self-isolation, and isolation for COVID-19

COVID-19 Outbreak Update

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Canada’s response

Resources for Canadian Businesses

Canadian Trucking Alliance Daily Bulletin

Check with their daily bulletins as they are keeping track of facilities and what is being offered to truckers across Canada and the U.S.

U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration- Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19