How Does Driving Affect a Trucker’s Mental Health?
With a greater emphasis being placed on physical fitness for truck drivers in recent years, almost everyone has read up on the dangers of long days in the cab and multi-day routes fueled by caffeine and fast food. But while many carriers have their own trucker health centers and health-centered panels have been popping up at trucking events lately, these resources all focus on physical health. But how does truck driving affect an individual’s mental health?
Those who make their career on the road are at risk for several conditions which can affect their mental health. The first is fatigue. Though this is technically the result of physical exhaustion, it can make a driver less responsive and less attentive. Long hours and limited home time can lead to drivers becoming exhausted. This can pose a danger to the driver and anyone they share the road with. However, hours of service rules have come a long way in preventing this type of problem from becoming too severe.
Another issue that can affect drivers is stress. Driving through unfamiliar areas and trying to make tight deadlines can cause anyone to become anxious. This is especially true when other factors like tough traffic, harsh weather conditions, and personal issues complicate a trip.
Finally, truck drivers may also deal with depression in their line of work. While fatigue and stress can be serious issues, depression is one mental problem that is often overlooked. Spending long hours away from loved ones and being uncertain about the consistency of one’s work arrangement can lead to a lower quality of life.
Even the most seasoned trucking veteran may be at risk for some of these issues. The first step in dealing with them is to be aware that they exist, and that resources are available to help drivers manage them.