The Fuelcard Company is urging fleet managers to be vigilant for signs of depression among their long-haul drivers ahead of Blue Monday (January 23) - the most miserable day of the year, triggered by bad weather, money worries and failed resolutions.
The company claims that long hours spent alone, poor diet and sleep deprivation mean commercial drivers are one of the most at-risk groups for developing depression, with an estimated 30–40% of drivers suspected to be experiencing the condition to some degree.
Jakes de Kock, sales and marketing director at The Fuelcard Company, said: “The lifestyle of long-distance drivers involves being away from family for prolonged periods and spending many hours alone in their cab, making them more prone to suffering from depression.
“Although the number of hours spent on the road is closely regulated, the number of hours spent actually sleeping when off the road is not. During break times, drivers have to locate shops, eat and complete any necessary paperwork, which reduces their available number of sleeping hours.”
Blue Monday is the name given to the date which has been calculated to be the most depressing day of the year, usually the last working Monday in January, which in 2012 is January 23.
The choice of date takes into account weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.
“For the fleet industry, Blue Monday is a reminder of the stresses and strains put on our drivers, particularly in the current economic climate. Fleet managers need to be aware that commercial drivers carry a higher than average risk of developing the condition and keep an eye out for the warning signs,” said de Kock.
“However there are steps drivers can take to help themselves too such as improving their diet and replacing high-sugar snacks with fruit and vegetables, making time to speak to friends and family when away from home and ensuring they get the maximum amount of shut-eye during their breaks.”