Driver Wellbeing | How To Keep Fit and Healthy On The Road
February 15, 2017
As a private hire driver, it’s very important to make sure you keep yourself in good condition. From eating well, to driving with the correct posture, these can have a significant impact on your long-term health. That’s why the team here at Otto Car has come up with some quick helpful tips for some long terms gains!
Driver fatigue is one of the biggest health and safety concerns within the road transport sector. The Highway Code recommends taking a break (of at least 15 minutes) every two hours. Two hours needs to be the maximum period of time without a break from driving. Following these guidelines will help reduce fatigue and driver mistakes.
Whilst you’re on the road, you may be working long shifts and eating well might be not readily available. It’s very important to eat well, as not only does diet affect your health, it can also affect your performance whilst driving. The easier option may be to snack at a fast food outlet for something quick and filling, but long term this isn’t a healthy solution.
Consider bringing a home-prepared meal or drinks along with you while you work. Bring a cool bag with a couple of ice packs. This method can not only save you money, but it also means you have more control over what you are eating, and can ensure that you’re getting lots of nutrients instead of consuming an excess of salt and saturated fats that are found in fast food.
For snacking, almonds and bananas will tick you over, giving you energy and various long term health benefits. It’s also worthwhile to stick a few bottles of water in the cool bag. Remember to stay hydrated, as being being dehydrated can negatively affect brain function and lead to mistakes being made on the road.
Driver Comfort – with thanks to ErgonimicSimplified.com
Driving (especially for long hours) creates significant stress to the neck and the upper and lower back. Please follow these simple steps to improve your posture whilst driving.
- Start by pushing your seat all the way back, place it as low to the floor as possible, and recline it back 30-40 degrees.
- Next, bring the seat height up until you can comfortably see the road and instruments and your hips are as high as your knees. If you are too low try adding a cushion or wedge to the seat. This can also decrease vibration from the road which has been shown to contribute to injury. Be sure it does not make you too high so that you have to bend your head down or to the side.
- Move the seat forward so you can reach and completely depress all the foot pedals without coming away from the seat back.
- Bring the back forward until you are reclined at a 100-110 degree angle. This decreases the pressure on the discs in your low back. Adjust your headrest so it rests in the middle of your head. Adjust the lumbar support so you have even back support. This should be supportive and comfortable. A lumbar cushion can be added if your car lacks sufficient lumbar support.
- Tilt seat cushion until it evenly supports your entire thigh without pressure in particular areas and does not hit the back of your knees. If it presses unevenly you can restrict circulation and cause discomfort in the legs.
- Adjust the seat belt to fit you instead of adjusting the seat to accommodate the seat belt position.
- Bring the steering wheel down and toward you to minimise reach and stress on your body. The less your elbows reach forward and up the less the strain on your neck and upper back.
- Now adjust the mirrors. If you start to slouch down or get in a bad position the mirrors will feel as they need to be adjusted and remind you to sit back up.
- Adjust as necessary to make sure your in the perfect seating position.
Instead of holding close to the top of the wheel at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions lower them to 9 and 3 o’clock or lower. You should feel the shoulders muscles relax some when you do this.
If you have any other helpful tips, we would love to hear from you! Simply write your comment below.