What life on the roads is like for a North Staffordshire trucker during lockdown

A truck driver has highlighted the plight of delivery drivers during the country’s lockdown due to coronavirus. Tom Nicholson, from Newcastle, has spoken out about the difficulties drivers are facing when trying to find somewhere to eat or use the facilities after restaurants were forced to close. The 43-year-old says he went four days without a hot meal and three days without a shower while delivering NHS supplies and groceries around the country.

He said: “I went four days without hot food and three days without a shower. “The service stations had shut all their showers so there was nowhere to get a shower. All of the motorway services have been taken over by franchises like McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC and they all shut so there was no where to get hot food.

“WHSmith only had four packs of sandwiches to choose from and that was it, no pasties or sausage rolls. I was living off sandwiches, crisps and chocolate and it affects your concentration. I was in disbelief this was what it had come to.

“I was doing 15 hour days travelling the length of the country delivering medical supplies and food and I couldn’t get proper food in me. At one point I even thought I had contracted the virus because I felt so ill from not eating properly. “The government are telling us to wash our hands regularly but I couldn’t wash my body for three days.

“After two weeks on the road I had a break and I was able to get a decent meal. I managed to pick up some camping equipment and go to a supermarket. After some hot food and a decent nights sleep I felt fine again.”

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Join for sensible, accurate and informed updates –  click here. Tom says he was relieved to have a break after not being able to find any hot food for four days. And he believes the Government shut down the facilities at service stations without realising what the consequences would be for drivers who need to continue delivering essential items.

He said: “We’re out delivering essential items and it left me with mixed emotions. “Something like this has never happened before and I think they shut the services without realising the consequences for truck drivers. “I emailed Boris Johnson twice about it, because truck driving is hard at the best of times and this made it a whole lot harder.

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“I’m ex-military so I’m used to not being able to shower for a few days and I know how to keep myself clean but other drivers were struggling.

I found it hard but a lot of other drivers were out there finding it harder than me. “I’m lucky because I have a fridge in my truck and I keep food in there as well but other drivers don’t have that. “I just wanted to make people aware of the situation.”

After the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) raised awareness of the issues truck drivers were facing during lockdown, Tom says the showers have re-opened at the service stations and it is getting a lot better. But if you would like to help, the Facebook group Stuck In A Truck -TDF allows people to post on the page if they have some food or a meal that a trucker can have. Tom added: “The RHA and FTA have been fighting for us.

“It’s still not perfect, but the message seems to have gotten out there now as the showers reopened about a week ago and some of the restaurants are back open again and it’s getting a lot better. “The Facebook page Stuck In A Truck – TDF has been brilliant. It allows people to put their location on the page and if a driver needs food they know that person is willing to leave food out for them.

“If people would like to see how they can help that is a good way of doing it.”

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