The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) demands a certificate of good health from all commercial drivers. A DOT physical examination is awarded to such a credential. Drivers must take this examination before they can take it and retake the examination every two years. If problems arise before the certificate is issue the follow up may be shorter but usually every two years. The examination itself is straightforward and consists of vision checks, hearing tests, higher blood pressure tests and other medical problems, and a drug and alcoholic urinalysis. That is about it, quick and simple, as mentioned before. You’d be shocked, though, how many drivers have failed this test because of easy and avoidable errors. In view of this, some tips for preparing for the DOT physical examination are provided here.
What is included in DOT exam?
The DOT exam takes your full medical history into account. So before entering a testing bureau, it is vital that you be as ready as possible. These are the subject of the examination:
1. Test of Vision
All drivers should have peripheral vision of 70″ and 20/40 in each eye to pass the vision test. The vision is optimal, when it is 20/20. If necessary, corrective lenses may enhance vision.
2. Test of Hearing
Your hearing is very critical, along with your vision, to qualify as a business driver. You can be helped by a hearing aid if your hearing is weak. However, from a distance of 5 feet you must be able to hear the so-called “forced whisper,” whether or not you wear a hearing aid.
3. Blood Pressure and Heart Condition
It is wise to let the doctor know whether you are suffering from high blood pressure, and the medicines you use to control your condition. The test will check for any abnormalities in your blood pressure and heart rate as well
4. Test of Urine
In urine, signs of drugs in your system will not be looked for—unlike what you would think. It searches for abnormalities in sugar and protein that lead to diabetes or pre-diabetes. It also reveals whether your kidneys have problems.
5. Full Physical Test
The examination also includes the fundamental principles of a complete physical health. Your doctor will examine all essential functions of your ears, eyes, mouth, heart, lungs and spine. You will also consider the neurological alertness and vascular function.
Wherever you physically take your DOT exam, eligibility conditions are all the same. This is because long-distance drivers cross state lines every day.
Tips for exam preparations
Avoid coffee and energy drinks 24 hours prior to the test. The caffeine in those drinks will increase your blood pressure and increase the likelihood of restriction or disqualification.
The week before the test, cut back on salt. Like caffeine, salt will increase your blood pressure and put you at risk.
Ensure that you are prepared to head out for exam. I suggest, arrive with a list of all medicines, medical documents, eye lenses and ensure a full bladder is ready. Take the time to take the test, you don’t want to hurry or worry. Also, make sure that you take your prescribed medicines before the exam.
Before the test do not have a heavy meal. A big breakfast buffet may sound delicious before the DOT test, but it isn’t wise at the end. Such a breakfast will increase your urinary sugar and increase warning signs of diabetes. Before you take the test, eat a light, nutritious breakfast.
Maintain respiration to prevent “White Coat Syndrome.” For others, it is a significant cause of stress that may increase blood pressure in an examining room. This stress is also intensified when the person sees a doctor’s white lab coat. This is a real fear. But if you concentrate on breathing, anxiety can be handled. Take your breath deep and steady, and do your best to stay calm.
Other factors to consider
For doctors giving such tests, hygiene is necessary. Before your test, please ensure that you have been washed and scrubbed and smell good. Signs of severe illness may be bad odors. You don’t want a body odor and you don’t have time to swim for Trimethylaminuria, which is a rare metabolic condition with a pungent fishy smell. Nobody wants that.
Take your all new conformity letters for particular diseases or medicines that you got from your doctor. Have copies of the latest laboratory tests, too. You will really impress a doctor if you can keep a medical log.
Heading out for the clinic before the exam
Plan to go carefully to the clinic or office of the doctor. Take a lot of time to pick up a bus or be careful as you drive. When you go to this test, you don’t want to be late or nervous and hurry. Calm, have faith, collect yourself are the best way to do this.
When you are in the clinic or doctor’s office and for most of the physicians who perform the exam this is very necessary, treat the employees with courtesy. When a nurse or technician is treated poorly, the doctor will learn about the problem and will not give you the benefit of doubt if this happens.
The doctor’s decision is the most restricted medical DOT disqualifications. This gives the FMCSA to determine whether you are receiving a card or not. Hence, be kind and patient.
Get a positive attitude; don’t go to the clinic and expect the doctor to see you immediately. A long wait is just the way it is in a doctor’s office. Be ready, and don’t be angry or surprised when you have to wait for that.
All in all, as long as you’re ready, it’s pretty easy. Take all the documentation and paperwork needed, come with spare time, and above all stay calm and polite and you can ace this exam without any problems.