A Department of Transportation (DOT) physical is required in order for a commercial truck driver, or a similar vehicle operator, to effectively renew their commercial driver’s license. Without approval from a medical examiner or doctor, drivers may experience significant delays in their driving career.
However, it is fairly easy to prepare for the DOT physical by taking a few necessary precautions before the test. Effective preparedness can help ensure that you pass your physical and that you won’t have to retake the exam under other circumstances. So what should drivers do in order to prepare for their DOT physicals?
Avoid heavy meals and caffeinated beverages before the exam
Whenever you begin your DOT physical, it is important to avoid heavy meals and caffeine. This is because increased food consumption and caffeine may provide a false positive for high blood pressure and other conditions that inhibit your exam.
For example, caffeine can raise blood pressure for a short period of time and may lead to a slight increase during your exam. Try and avoid that extra cup of morning coffee before the exam. Additionally, foods high in cholesterol, sugar, and fat could provide false positives for other chronic diseases.
Before your exam, take the time to eat a light breakfast that is low-fat, low-sugar, and low in caffeine. Additionally, high-salt and sodium-filled foods could raise blood pressure in the short term.
Rest and relax before your exam
Stress can contribute to high blood pressure and other chronic disease in the same way frequent consumption of unhealthy foods can. Before your DOT physical, take some time to relax and de-stress.
Use a personal day when possible to find a time that works best for you to complete the exam. Don’t try to cram it on top of your other commitments. If you need to get you exam ASAP, try visiting a medical provide that provides walk-in clinic access.
Other techniques to help you relax include getting eight or more hours of sleep, deep breathing, mediation, and other mindfulness-based activities.
Bring in all your current medical paperwork
Medical information is key to ensure that you pass your DOT physical. If you have certain health conditions that are under control, you can get exemptions for DOT requirements if you show that you’re maintaining healthy control. These include treatable medical conditions with your current prescriptions, vision aids like contacts/glasses, health activities, and similar information.
Any medical information allows your medical examiner to provide the most up-to-date picture of your health and ensure that you aren’t flagged for a false reading of an emerging chronic health condition. Take all of these tips and put them into action before your next physical to ensure your trucking career doesn’t skip a beat!