Service stations play a vital role in fleet driver health. Make sure you’re getting the most out of what they have to offer.
In the life of a fleet driver, the petrol station is about so much more than just fuel. It’s no coincidence that we call them service stations. Fuel is only a small part of the vital role these stops play in driver wellbeing.
For many fleet drivers, the service station is the only stopping point between depot and destination. When you’re spending many hours on the road, somewhere good to rest, eat, socialise and stock up is vital. Shell has over a thousand service stations across the UK providing not just fuel but on-site restaurants, Wi-Fi, seating areas, shopping and groceries.
There is a wealth of research to suggest that proper nutrition and hydration are key to staying fit and alert on the road. Several studies have shown that being just a bit dehydrated – as little as 2% – creates problems with attention, coordination and memory.
One experiment has shown that drinking three cups of water before performing some tasks gave participants a 14% better reaction time than those who had drunk nothing.
Water is naturally best, but food and other drinks will still boost hydration. It’s wise to drink coffee and fizzy drinks in moderation to avoid caffeine or blood sugar spikes that create a big slump soon after.
The type of food fleet drivers eat is also really important. The greasy spoon truck stop is still very much in evidence and there’s a lot to be said for some of the healthier elements of a traditional English breakfast (tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs) – as long as it’s not swimming in fat and heavy on salty bacon.
Fleet drivers have a number of challenges to their metabolism – a long time spent sitting down, disrupted sleep from shift working and poor food options. Making the best food choices go a long way to keeping the body in good shape.
Keeping sweet treats to a minimum, stocking up on good proteins such as lean meat salads and snacks like nuts are all options thanks to the improved catering choices from service stations in the UK.
Driving professionally means limited opportunities to stimulate mind and body outside the car or cab. This is why it’s important that the only other place drivers spend a lot of time – the service station – is a pleasant experience.
Frequent toilet breaks are important and a clean, bright environment with extra facilities like showers and changing rooms contribute to driver wellbeing long after they’re back on the road.
Long hours on the road necessitate – by law and for health – a decent rest stop. If the place you have to relax in isn’t welcoming, the temptation to log longer hours behind the wheel and just get the trip done becomes dangerously strong.
Free Wi-Fi, cafe spaces with comfy seating and a calm atmosphere in new style service stations make it much easier to kick back for an hour or so. With a decent internet connection, drivers can catch up with family and check in with work, which should go some way to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness fleet drivers can experience.
With the temptation to get the job done quickly and efficiently, it’s easy to see the rest stop as a luxury but it’s one no fleet can do without. Shell’s service station network has everything drivers need to refuel mind, body – and vehicle.