Being an owner-driver with haulage contracts has many benefits. You’re free to set your own schedule and can pursue other interests; you’re not tied to a cubicle instead spending your days outdoors in the sun and fresh air; and you get to see a great many places and meet new people every day. Still, despite its many advantages, one main drawback is that, on the road, staying healthy can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.
Getting Enough Sleep
Because owner-drivers with haulage contracts generally absorb all the costs involved in the transport, minimising expenses is crucial. For many owner-drivers, one of the most obvious costs they can cut is accommodation and they prefer to sleep in the cab of their trucks. However, a poor sleeping area can not only result in health problems, but can be downright dangerous for drivers. An uncomfortable bed can mean a sleepless night, and lack of sleep can result in dulled senses and poor reaction times – which can in turn result in an accident. In addition, poor back support, exacerbated by the fact that drivers spend most of their days just sitting, can result in back problems. If you must sleep in your cab, invest in the best mattress you can afford and prepare a comfortable sleeping space. A noise machine to block out outside outside interference may prove invaluable, as well as a portable heater and a portable fan.
Another reason drivers lose sleep is they sometimes prefer to push themselves, driving through the night rushing to meet a deadline. To avoid this situation, drivers need to set a reasonable schedule for themselves and manage their time wisely.
Truck-stop diners are popular because they offer hot food, fast and cheap. Many diners offer great tasting food but there may not be many healthy options available. A heavy meal can make a driver feel sluggish, which can be dangerous, and a steady diet of greasy and fatty food can result in long-term major health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. This can be exacerbated, as many owner-drivers trying to fulfill lucrative haulage contracts do not exercise as much as they should.
Having a small portable refrigerator filled with healthy snacks such as fruits and fruit juices, salad greens, and vegetable sticks can provide a nice break from all the fatty foods truck-stop fare. You can also store lower-fat and lower-sodium cold cuts and mayo/dressing either to create a quick salad with the salad greens or into sandwiches. Another good idea is to carry a portable grill-a quick stop at a local grocery for a turkey or chicken breast or a great cut of meat and some spices and you can eat like a king.
A common issue for those spending long hours on haulage contracts is back problems, due to sitting for long periods. Regular breaks for stretches and some light exercise such as walking or jogging a few laps around your truck can help prevent this and keep your muscles from seizing up at inconvenient times. Exercise will also help keep you awake and alert. Keeping a foldable bike can also be doubly useful-both as an exercise machine and in case your truck breaks down and you need to find a gas station!