Truckers are probably one of the most overlooked and underappreciated heroes during these strange times of lockdowns and pandemics. Many people don’t realize that the reason their home deliveries are happening is that the logistics chain is being driven forward by brave people who have kept on truckin’ despite a health crisis of untold proportions.
The American trucker embodies many of our country’s greatest values: bravery in the face of danger, hard-work, perseverance, and a love for their fellow Americans that keeps them going. But even these fantastic people are just human. While most truckers are aware of their legal Truck Driver rights, in the age of COVID-19, it’s also important to remember certain things about their safety:
Keep Yourself and Your Rig Sanitized at All Times
While a vaccine for the coronavirus is still ways away, the best way to prevent getting sick (and, in turn, getting other people sick) is prevention. Constant sanitation of both your rig and yourself will go a very long way to preventing the spread of the disease.
For a trucker, personal protective equipment, or PPE, are essential, especially since you’ll be crossing state lines for pick-ups and deliveries. Face masks are a must, but the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, or CDC, have authorized the use of bandannas, scarves, and other makeshift cloth masks if surgical masks and face shields aren’t available.
Make sure your rig is washed regularly. Yes, it’s a pain, but it goes a very long way to minimizing the risk of the virus clinging onto surfaces. Spray the inside of your trailer with disinfectant before and after deliveries. Wash your hands regularly, too, especially after touching things. When washing your hands, make sure you soap and scrub for at least 20 seconds to maximize the chances of you killing the virus.
Minimize the Truck Stops
Truck stops are small businesses, and we should be supporting them. Still, during a pandemic, these can become potential hot spots for infection, especially if people aren’t following minimum health standards like face masks and social distancing.
As much as possible, minimize your contact with truck stops. If you need to stop, purchase whatever you need from the truck stop as quickly as possible. Avoid mingling indoors for long periods, but if you have to go in, make sure you practice social distancing (keep six feet away from other people). Get food and coffee to go rather than having it in a diner as eating inside restaurants can increase the risk of infection. When you can, try to pack food and drinks in your cooler to minimize having to go into truck stops.
If you’re gassing up, try to avoid touching the pumps and the keypads directly. Either use disposable gloves or a rag sprayed with disinfectant before handling items like these. After you leave a truck stop, make sure to wash your hands immediately, following the 20-second soap-and-scrub rule.
Don’t Ignore Symptoms
If you experience any of the symptoms listed by the CDC, inform your employer ASAP and drive yourself to the nearest hospital. Remember: prevention is the best cure at the moment, and telling our healthcare workers that you’re possibly infected is a great way to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.