All commercial drivers are required to have a DOT medical exam every few years in order to obtain and maintain their commercial driver’s license (CDL). In this case, “physical exam” is not the correct term because this DOT medical exam includes mental health, hearing and vision tests. And the most important thing is to meet the dot blood pressure requirements, because it evaluates as the main indicator of health.
How do I pass a DOT physical exam?
A DOT physical is an examination for commercial motor vehicle drivers that is conducted in accordance with FMCSA requirements. In order to pass it, you must demonstrate that you can safely meet the requirements of the CMV.
The best way to make sure you have a successful physical exam is to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy at all times. HMD Trucking gives you some tips on how to do it:
Eat healthy foods
It’s not that easy to do. You won’t have many options for healthy meals at the truck stops and they are likely to be more expensive. A better option would be to stop at a grocery store. If your truck has a refrigerator, keep a supply of fruits and vegetables in it. Otherwise, try to choose healthy meals when you stop for meals, and take healthy snacks that don’t require refrigerator storage, such as granola and apples.
Because you won’t always have access to healthy foods, vitamins can help fill in the gaps in your diet. Consult your doctor about what supplements you need. But in most cases, people need vitamins and nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin D. Taking multivitamins daily can help you get all these things.
Long-haul truckers often have trouble maintaining normal fluid levels while on the road, as it can contribute to too many bathroom breaks. But driving while dehydrated can potentially be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Also, dehydration can cause serious damage to your body. Carry several reusable water bottles with you and fill them up every chance you get.
Try to exercise regularly
Take more time to stretch, this will ease the pain of long rides and help avoid blood clots. Look for places to walk, jog, or bike during your stops. Some truck stops have gyms; try to use them.
If you don’t have time to shower, use sinks to wash your hands well at every stop. Also wash your face and brush your teeth. If this is not possible, use hand sanitizer.
See your doctor and dentist regularly
Go for checkups and try to get medical care every time you feel sick. Regular visits to your doctor can help detect problems early so you can fix them before your next routine checkup. Visiting the dentist is just as important as going to the doctor, because poor oral health can be linked to endocarditis and cardiovascular disease, which negatively affect your ability to keep driving.
Take your medicines on a schedule
If you are taking any medicine, don’t skip your appointments. If you must take them at a certain time of day, stick to the schedule, even if you are driving. Use the reminders on your phone to remind yourself.
Truck drivers may spend a lot of time alone, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to disease. An annual flu shot can help you stay on the road, as can vaccines for shingles and pneumonia. Some vaccines require revaccination every few years, so make sure they are up to date as well.
Seek mental health support
Everyone needs help sometimes, and since trucking can be a lonely business, this fully applies to truck drivers as well. If seeing a psychiatrist in person may not be possible in your schedule, there are now many options online. Online resources such as Talkspace or BetterHelp may be your best bet, as you can email a licensed therapist or counselor at any time of the day or night, and they will respond to you within the business day. You can also schedule appointments by video call if your schedule allows.
Avoid drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes
Certainly, alcohol and drugs will prevent you from driving safely – and if your drug test comes back positive on a physical exam or random drug test, or you show signs of alcoholism, you risk losing your license. While some drugs, such as amphetamine or cocaine, may be appealing because they temporarily increase alertness, they often lead to heart and other problems. Smoking can also lead to lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, vision problems and other problems, which will also negatively affect your ability to stay healthy and awake. Occasional drinks outside of work hours when you have time to let alcohol out of your system are not harmful to most people, but excessive drinking can seriously lower immunity, cause heart disease, affect memory, stroke and mental health problems.
We don’t claim that keeping yourself in great shape will be easy. But following basic precautions and even the smallest positives can help you get a physical exam and not miss work due to illness.