Truckers across the U.S. and beyond shifted many of their behaviors when they first got news of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but in the months since, have mostly moved back to "business as usual." But these days, with the number of new cases rising on a daily basis and now generally sitting well above the levels seen at what was considered "the height of the pandemic," truckers once again can't be too careful about their behaviors.
With that in mind, the following tips should help keep you safe as you navigate the nation's highways and byways in the weeks ahead:
1) Give everyone as wide a berth as you can
You know the drill by now: The best way to avoid COVID is by socially distancing in all situations outside your home, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means keeping a few extra feet between yourself and workers at loading docks, cashiers at gas stations, other motorists at rest areas and so on.
2) Keep plenty of PPE and sanitizer on hand
Of course, you can't plan for every eventuality, and you should go through your work with the proper protection as a result, the CDC said. That means having gloves, face masks and even eye protection close by at all times. Furthermore, you should be stocked up on hand sanitizer and soap so you can always wash your hands when you touch anything in the world outside your cab.
3) Try to stay in your cab more often
More often than not, your cab will be the one area you can reasonably control on an ongoing basis, so that's usually going to be the best place to hang out, according to Trucker.com. Whether you're waiting for the trailer to be loaded or unloaded, or just killing time until you're on duty again, it's safer than going into a rest area or waiting room.
4) Avoid paper transactions
Even in a highly digital age, truckers do a surprisingly large amount of business using paper receipts, forms and other documents; but that's not a great idea during COVID times, Trucker.com added. Instead, you should do all you can to avoid passing paper back and forth, just because you don't know what everyone else's situation is, and it's better not to risk it.
5) Ask your dispatcher or company for guidance
Whenever you're unsure of proper protocols or best practices for a given situation, the safest thing to do is ask before proceeding, according to Alchemy Systems. Others may be able to inform you of the right things to do to keep yourself — and those around you — as safe as possible. That may be especially important if you are driving to, from or through a so-called COVID hotspot.
6) Don't drive distracted
Finally, you may feel COVID is just another thing that has been added to your long list of things you have to keep track of, Alchemy Systems cautioned. In some ways, you're right, but you can't let preparations for a stop or other efforts distract you from the task at hand: Getting from Point A to Points B, C and D as safely as you can.
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