How to minimise the problem of driver stress
Driver stress is something that affects everyone, regardless of whether they drive a car or a van. However, commercial vans account for a fifth of all traffic on the roads and, the longer you’re on the road, the more likely you are to witness road rage and driver stress. As stress, strain and fatigue are the three top problems commercial drivers face, it’s important that the take the reduction or minimisation of these things seriously.
Driving for a living isn’t always a smooth ride
Whether you’re a multi-drop delivery driver or a tradesman who spends a lot of time on the road, driving isn’t always a smooth ride. Sitting in one place for too long can lead to problems such as repetitive strain, lower back pain and a stiff neck, not to mention aching legs and feet! However, not all symptoms are that obvious. Raised blood pressure and anxiety are also common driver-related ailments.
The problems arise, when you don’t take regular breaks
Stress can lead us to act totally out of character. With 81% of UK drivers being on the receiving end of road rage, it’s easy to see why driver stress needs to be addressed. Not only do you need a decent night sleep before you drive anywhere, you also need to take regular breaks whilst driving – a 30-minute break every five hours is recommended. Ideally, you need 15-minute breaks every two hours. This gives you a chance to move around, get some fresh air and to have a drink, to avoid getting dehydrated. No matter where your destination, driving for more than ten hours a day is a rule you need to stick with.
How to ease driver stress
As mentioned above, you need to take regular breaks, but what else can you do to ease stress?
Plan your route and allow extra time
Use a route planner and traffic alerts, to help you avoid heavy traffic and roadworks. Pressure to get to the next customer or delivery drop, was one of the main reasons cited for commercial van drivers breaking the speed limits. However, this can be remedied, by ensuring you plan in extra time to get from A to B.
Ensure you’re hydrated and fuelled
When you’re sat behind the wheel it can be easy to forget you also need fuelling too! Yes, your stomach is going to let you know when you’re hungry – but you may then realise there’s nowhere for you to stop and have something to eat! When it comes to staying hydrated, you’re not always going to register those symptoms. Tiredness and headaches can be signals, but so can feeling hungry, lack of focus and an inability to concentrate.
Know when to stop
This isn’t about knowing your limits, as far too many of us tend to push ourselves past them – it’s about knowing when to get out from behind the wheel and switch off from your day. It’s about getting adequate sleep and ensuring you’re not driving over the recommended guidelines. If you want to drive for a living, you need to learn how to manage your stress levels effectively, so you can make your driving day a more enjoyable and safe one.