Regardless of whether or not you love what you do, every job has its stressful moments. In the short-term, you may experience increased pressure to meet certain deadlines, deal with difficult team members, or juggle multiple responsibilities from different areas of your life. It’s when work-related stress becomes chronic that we see the real problems unfold. You know what we’re referring to here. Ongoing, unrelenting feelings of stress can lead to serious issues in one’s physical and emotional health.
Stress can impact our sleep, mental focus, immune system, blood pressure, digestion, and even our ability to regulate blood sugars. And, let’s not forget about the influence stress has on depression and anxiety. According to the APA’s annual Stress in America survey, work is consistently cited as a significant source of stress by a majority of Americans.
Stress and Truck Drivers
Being away from home, family, and friends for long periods of time is most certainly challenging. Add on top of that having to deal with inclement weather, distracted and aggressive drivers, rush hour, vehicle breakdowns, less than ideal sleep situations, and unfriendly shipping and receiving personnel...You can see that this can easily become a recipe for ongoing driver stress.
The FMCSA’s 2019 Large Truck Crash Causation Study found drivers reported “feeling pressured” as the leading cause in 16% of those crashes. Fatigue, often caused by chronic stress, was reported as the main cause in 18% of the accidents. As you can see, the more proactive we can be in implementing strategies to help reduce stress for drivers, in addition to teaching them how to better manage their own stress, will improve not only their health, but also their safety and productivity.
How Organizations Can Reduce Driver StressRespectfully, we think poor communication is one of the biggest sources of driver stress. Poorly communicated information regarding pay, home time, training, and performance expectations is something organizations can clear up quickly. Also, when was the last time you spoke with your drivers face-to-face as opposed to relying on email or phone communication? Connecting with your drivers and showing them you care will do a world of good when it comes to overall morale.
Teaching Drivers How To Manage StressDeep breathing, exercise, picking up a hobby, journaling, reading, and the list goes on. Exercise is one of our personal favorites when it comes to tools for de-stressing. Basic physical activity such as a brisk 30-minute walk, a bike ride around the neighborhood, or even a quick swim in the pool is sometimes all it takes to remove oneself from the demands of life and work. There are plenty of free meditation and deep breathing apps for your smartphone as well as YouTube fitness videos that help you exercise on-the-go.
There are so many benefits to helping our drivers reduce the stress they feel in their lives and at work. The positive impact it can have on their health and safety, not to mention what it means for an organization’s retention and productivity levels is huge.
How are you making the health and safety of your drivers a priority?