As a mobility provider we’ve been working with companies, fleet managers and drivers for more than 20 years now. We know that the cars we provide are more than just means of transport. They are a vital part of many people’s work and accompany them through their everyday life. If you spend a certain number of hours a day driving, there are a couple of habits to take on that keep health problems one car length away. And, as chance would have it, this is precisely the topic of part one of our new driver's health series. Enjoy the read and stay tuned for more.
Habit #1: COVID-19 edition
Room to move can become an issue in a car, especially in times of COVID-19. Your car counts as a closed room just like any other. In case you take a colleague with you in the car, please remember to apply the safety rules as defined by your government and/or employer here as well. It’s best to wear the masks and keep a distance, which in a car is ideally the back seat diagonally behind the driver. This might feel awkward at first but what doesn’t this year? See it as communication exercise. Also: to keep hand sanitiser in the car will also come in handy.
Habit #2: Check yourself, don’t neglect yourself
Are you fit to drive? Ask yourself that question. Not every day is the same and sometimes mental or physical health might not be at an optimum. Lack of sleep, headaches or a very high stress level are problems we all face every now and then. Make a habit of checking yourself before getting behind the wheel, to ensure they or anything else do not influence your ability to drive. Sometimes rest, a walk and extra water might improve things already, but don’t take any risks. Additional tip: A great way to boost driving safety and overall confidence is also through our Safety / Eco Driver Training. The training provides drivers with better vehicle handling skills and teaches new competences such as defensive driving and hazard anticipation.
Habit #3: Stay hydrated
Speaking of water: Would you say you drink enough? Be honest, no points for good will here. Proper hydration is crucial for many bodily functions. Too little can cause headaches, tiredness and lack of concentration. Should your answer to this is not an enthusiastic “Sure do!” consider some of the following tips: a) Place a big water bottle somewhere in your car that’s easy to reach because if you have to stop in order to drink – let’s face it – you are more likely not to. Consider a bottle with a sport cap that you can easily open with one hand to make it hassle-free. b) Keep an eye on the clock: try to take a couple of sips every hour. An alarm on your phone can be a good reminder – but only if you can turn it off without having to pick it up! c) Try to eat food that contains a lot of water like fruits and vegetables. Most of these also double well as in-car-snacks (maybe don’t start with watermelon, extra juicy fruits are for the advanced students only).
Habit #4: Know the limits
On the road again? If you’re a professional driver or maybe a sales person and basically call the road your home, you probably know the rules on driving hours by heart. As with practice makes perfect and repetition permanent. So, no harm in refreshing what you have learned, though. In the EU, nine hours per day are the maximum driving time. This might be extended to 10 but only twice in one week. For the whole week 56 hours are the limit.
Two consecutive weeks should consist of 90 driving hours at most. Directly linked to the driving hours are the rules on breaks and rest. The EU defines them as follows: every 24 hours should contain at least 11 hours of rest without driving. A week should have a period of 45 hours of uninterrupted rest you may call a “weekend”. And breaks during driving are defined as at least 45 minutes after four and a half hours.
Habit #5: Move it
At least part of said breaks should be spent moving. “Sitting is the new smoking”, as you’ve probably heard and that does hold some truth. Sitting is the cause of many physical problems above all neck and back pain and sitting in the driver’s seat for long hours is no magical exception to that. So, use part of your break to stretch and move all body parts for a bit. Feeling silly doing that? A short walk will also do the trick. For more on this also see our next blog on driver’s health about seats and posture.
With this set of habits, the basis of a pleasant drive should be covered for you. But of course, there’s always more to learn. Check out our next blog posts from the driver’s health series for more tips – especially if you are one to easily get back pains. You’ll be surprised what modern car seats can do for you.