Truck drivers must pass a physical exam every two years to maintain their commercial driver’s license (CDL), according to the Department of Transportation (DOT). It’s a comprehensive check-up, covering the trucker’s bodily and mental health, along with their hearing and visual acuity. By preparing ahead of time, you’ll pass the test with ease, ensuring your safety on the road.
What Should Truckers Do Before a DOT Exam?
1. Maintain an Exercise Regimen
While it may not seem demanding, trucking can place strain on the body if drivers aren’t careful. The sedentary position can lead to aches, pains, and weight gain, which can negatively impact a driver’s health and decrease the likelihood of passing the DOT exam.
Over the years, however, the industry has shifted for the better. While drivers have schedules to maintain, they’re given ample breaks for eating, sleeping, and exercising. Many franchise gyms provide access to any of their branches regardless of the individual’s home state. Some trucking companies will even pay for the membership as an incentive for their drivers.
There are also options for truck drivers who have crowded schedules or multiple deliveries. Many truck stops have added gyms to their property for convenience. Walking and jogging are also beneficial. Some truck drivers keep foldable bikes, which are affordable and take up little space. Sporting goods stores have hand weights, which are also compact enough to fit in your rig.
2. Avoid High-Sodium Meals
There are many convenient snacks and restaurants up and down the road, but they often have high salt levels. Sodium increases your blood pressure (BP), which can cause you to fail the exam. However, there are options for truck drivers with hypertension to keep their CDL. Depending on the stage of the condition, you can receive a 90-day or a one-year clearance. The delay provides time to decrease your BP or show improved maintenance, according to DOT Physical Doctors.
While you should maintain a healthy diet all year long, heavily cut back on salt in the week before the exam to ensure more accurate systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers.
3. Avoid Caffeine & Sugar
Caffeine and sugar help nearly every worker in America stay resilient and alert. However, they can also raise blood pressure levels, leading to exam restrictions or disqualification. Make sure to avoid coffee and energy drinks for at least 24 hours before the DOT physical.
4. Have a Small Breakfast
Be sure to prepare documents and sleep well on the day before the exam, which will decrease stress. On the morning of, have a small and healthy breakfast. Try a helping of raw vegetables, oats, or toast. Avoid heavier meals since they can increase sugar levels and get misinterpreted as a diabetes warning sign on the exam.
Our CDL program has helped truck drivers prepare for all aspects of life on the road, including health maintenance. For more information on our day and night courses, call us at (330) 239-2229.
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