Truck drivers are required to stay up to date on their Department of Transportation issued (DOT) physicals. Even if it’s your first DOT physical, or you’re a seasoned veteran driver, the physical is still a stressful process. If you fail your DOT physical, you won’t be allowed to get back behind the wheel unless you prove that you are medically qualified to drive from a separate examiner.
Here are some ways to avoid a false positive for chronic disease risks and other failing categories on your DOT physical. Make sure to eat a light and healthy breakfast, prepare your medical information, and
Avoid Caffeinated Beverages like Coffee
For 24 to 48 hours before your DOT physical, you should cut out caffeine and sugar from your diet. Caffeine is known to increase heart rate as well as blood pressure. A high heart rate or blood pressure will lead to driving restrictions or no driving privileges at all, so it’s worth giving up the coffee and soda for a day!
High blood pressure is one of the main indicators of a potential chronic disease, which could cause a medical examiner to negatively affect your score.
Reduce Salt and Sodium Intake, Avoid Unhealthy Meals
Like caffeine, any salt will increase your blood pressure. It will also lead to water retention. Cut back on salt for about a week before the DOT physical to ensure it isn’t raising your blood pressure.
Additionally, eating a large meal before the DOT physical will increase the sugar in your urine. High sugar levels in urine are a warning sign for diabetes, and you may be sent for additional testing or put on restrictions. Stick to a light meal before the exam, so you aren’t too hungry but aren’t showing any warning signs for other chronic diseases.
Provide the examiner all of your updated medical information
Once you go in for your exam, make sure you bring a list of all current medications, allergies, and a full medical history.
Make sure your bladder is full, so you can provide a urine sample too. Some of your current medications could lead to a false positive on a drug screen, so it’s vital that you remember everything you’re currently taking. Set aside a good chunk of time for the DOT physical, so you aren’t trying to rush through the process. Some people get so nervous the day of their physical that their blood pressure and heart rate are raised. If you’re feeling nervous, tell the doctor, so they’re able to take that into account.
If you feel like your DOT physical wasn’t done fairly, find a second opinion. It’s better to go through the process a second time and pass then be unable to return to work! Be honest with the physician performing your physical, ask questions, and take the time to efficiently prepare for your physical.
Making sure that you pass your physical is key to ensure that you can continue your commercial trucking career without any major interruption!