Working as a cab driver can be a really fulfilling job offering a high level of independence. But being your own boss comes with a lot of added responsibility, especially for your health. Long hours sitting down in cramped conditions can lead to a whole host of problems that can end up reducing your earning power significantly. After all, if you’re too sick to work then you’re not going to be earning. If you’re looking to boost your potential then take a look at this Taxi Insurer ultimate guide to staying healthy as a cab driver.

Overcoming the obstacles to good health is certainly a challenge for any professional cabbie. The best way to start improving your health is to form new habits one at a time rather than trying to do everything all at once. Read on for our easy-to-follow tips which will help you feel better when on the road. Why not pick one tip now and work it into your schedule for a few weeks. Or at least until you feel ready to tackle another one.

One habit you should already have adopted is staying on top of important business decisions such as what taxi insurance to choose. After all, a healthy approach to business is important if you want to stay ahead of the competition in the long run.

Cab driver


Chapter 1: Consider what you’re eating
Chapter 2: Stay hydrated
Chapter 3: Avoid stimulants
Chapter 4: Stay ‘regular’
Chapter 5: Get your heart pumping
Chapter 6: Work on your back health
Chapter 7: Cut down on air pollution
Chapter 8: Don’t skip your breaks
Chapter 9: Stick to a regular sleep routine
Chapter 10: Know your symptoms
Chapter 11: Look after your mental health

Whether unfairly or not, taxi drivers are not known for their healthy eating habits. Spending your working life on the road usually means eating a lot of the wrong things, missing out on regular meal times and not getting enough exercise.

While a daily full English breakfast, takeaway food, and endless cups of sugary tea are many drivers’ diet staples, sustaining this diet full-time will soon see the weight pile on. Leading to the potential for diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

Not only that, but we all know ‘you are what you eat’. So, if you take the easy option by eating nothing but junk then eventually your brain will turn to junk, too! Taxi drivers who lose the ability to concentrate and retain information are going to be useless when trying to get fares from A to B and everywhere in between.

Start by cutting down on the junk food such as crisps, chocolate bars and burgers. And find other healthier alternatives that aren’t so hard on the body. For example, wholegrain crackers, nuts and fruit.

We’re not saying that you should never treat yourself to a cheeky burger…  After a busy week driving, giving yourself a treat is perfectly acceptable. Instead, it’s all about finding the right balance. By choosing healthy options most of the time, a few ‘cheat days’ here and there won’t affect your health so much.

Or you could try healthier swaps - a vegan or vegetarian burger instead of the real thing would be a healthier option if you didn’t want to wave goodbye to burgers completely.

Apart from cutting back on fast food, here are some more healthy eating tips worth trying:

  • Start each day with a healthy breakfast. Commonly regarded as the most important meal of the day, no matter how busy you are it’s never a good idea to miss brekkie. Items such as porridge and fruit or eggs on toast will not only provide you with a welcome energy boost but will also reduce your desire to snack.
  • Prepare healthy snacks and meals in advance. By thinking ahead you’ll reduce the temptation of unhealthy options. Healthy carbs, protein and fruit and veg are the order of the day. All great alternatives to chocolate bars and café fry-ups.
  • Eat light. Eating large, heavy meals will leave you feeling sluggish behind the wheel. Stay more alert by eating lightly or just eating smaller portions of the foods you like. That said, be sure to take into account any specific dietary needs you may have such as blood sugar or blood pressure issues.
  • Cut back on some foods. Added sugars, salt, refined grains, and processed foods are all worth keeping a careful eye on. It can be all too easy to eat too much of these, particularly as they are often hidden in other foods.
  • Eat more of some foods. No surprises here. More fruit and vegetables, whole grains and so-called healthy fats.

We know that as a taxi driver, you’ll be balancing a lot of costs in your daily life. From fuel and maintenance costs to taxi insurance and road tax, there’s plenty for you to budget for. A common myth is that eating healthily is always going to cost you more. However, eggs, bananas, frozen veg, wholegrain pasta and rice are all budget friendly and if you shop smart you can pick up some great deals.

Speaking of delicious healthy food, take a look at the BBC Good Food website for lots of healthy lunchbox recipes. From super salad wraps and sesame chicken noodles to healthy tomato soup and creamy lentil and vegetable curry, there’s something for even the most finicky of eaters.

Chapter 2: Stay hydrated

Okay, we know that you’ll have heard this plenty of times before but keeping hydrated by drinking water throughout the day is vital for everyone, not just taxi drivers. In fact, studies have shown that driving dehydrated could be just as risky as driving drunk!

Dehydration can negatively affect reaction time, focus, concentration, give you headaches and make you drowsy. Leading to errors that could easily cause an accident.

To keep your water intake topped up, we recommend buying a refillable water bottle and making sure you sip on it regularly throughout your working day. Not everyone is a fan of plain old water, particularly if you’ve been more used to fizzy drinks. So, add some of your favourite fruit to give it a bit more flavour.

As a professional driver who needs to drive in the morning, it’s unlikely you’ll be getting drunk on a regular basis. However, even if you don’t get ‘drunk’ each week, you could still be drinking more than is really healthy. It’s recommended by the NHS to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across 3 days or more. That comes to about six pints of 4% beer, or six medium (175ml) glasses of wine.

While we don’t want to be seen as spoiling your fun, cutting back on the booze can be a really effective way to improve your health, boost your energy, lose weight and save money. For more help on this go to the NHS’s Better Health web page.

Chapter 3: Avoid stimulants

When you work long and unsociable hours, the use of coffee and energy drinks to give a much-needed boost to your energy levels is a common trick among taxi drivers. However, this will soon take a toll on your health, particularly if you do this regularly.

Such drinks are only ever intended to give your mind and body a short-term artificial boost of energy and alertness. When the drinks wear off, you’ll be in a worse position than when you started. Listen to your body when it tells you a rest is needed. These drinks are no substitute for proper rest and relaxation.

Chapter 4: Stay ‘regular’

If you’re eating healthily and staying on top of your water intake then you’ll probably need to make regular trips to the toilet through the working day. Staying ‘regular’ is an important part of healthy living. If you don’t then you could be at risk of a number of different health problems.

Constipation can affect people of all ages and in all occupations. According to the NHS website the most common causes include:

  • Not eating enough fibre.
  • Not drinking enough fluids.
  • Spending too long sitting down and not moving.
  • Being less active and not exercising.
  • Ignoring the ‘urge’.
  • Stress, anxiety or depression.

But for someone whose workplace is a taxi then staying regular can be difficult. Cabbies have recently been criticised for leaving urine-filled bottles abandoned at train stations in east London. But when there’s a big lack of public toilets in such areas this problem is certainly foreseeable.

If you’re finding it difficult to find a public toilet when you need to go, then you can soon get distracted from the road. To help, we recommend downloading the Flush Toilet Finder app (iOS and Android). Simply open the free app and the nearest toilets will be shown. A big relief indeed!

Chapter 5: Get your heart pumping

As tempting as it may sound, catching up on the latest must-watch Netflix series in your spare time is not a great idea if you want to stay healthy.

Sitting for hours behind the wheel will lower your body’s ability to control your blood pressure, blood sugar and break down body fat. Scientists also say that if you drive for a living then you’re more at risk of heart disease than other occupations.

Instead, when the meter isn’t running, get out of your cab and spend some time getting your heart rate going. It will help you stay feeling chipper when everyone else is getting tired. If you’re looking for some inspiration then read the story of Scottish taxi driver Kenny Hill who lost more than half his body weight after suffering a stroke. He’s now a personal trainer and wellbeing coach who wants to help other men tackle obesity.

Even if you’re not keen on the gym, there are loads of ways to keep fit that don’t involve the monotony of the treadmill. Try some of these.

  • Add some of these great in-car exercises to your regular routine. From neck and shoulder stretches to seated torso twists, it doesn’t have to be much. A bit of light in-car exercise and a short walk at lunchtime can really help both physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Join a local sports club. Being a taxi driver can be a somewhat lonely existence. So, not only will this boost your fitness, but it’ll also boost your social life, too, and help you meet new people.
  • Take up walking, jogging, cycling or weight training with other drivers. You could even set yourself a challenge – the London Marathon, anyone?

No matter what level of fitness you’re currently at, you’ve really got to start somewhere. Why not try some of these NHS tips to get more active?

Cab driver

Chapter 6: Work on your back health

Working for so many hours in the cramped space of a taxi can play havoc with your back. Specialists at the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) have said that back pain is the most common condition that patients come to them with. While globally it’s believed to be the number one cause of disability.

If you’re wondering how to avoid back pain when driving a cab then read this invaluable guide from Taxi Insurer. We aren’t just interested in finding you the best taxi insurance – we also want to help you look after your health, too!

From getting your seating position just right to vehicle maintenance tips for a more comfortable ride, we’ve got plenty of advice just right for you. While you’re on the site take the time to read this article on health tips for professional drivers, just in case there’s something we’ve missed here.

Chapter 7: Cut down on air pollution

Spending so much time picking up and dropping off passengers on congested roads means taxi drivers are exposed to high levels of harmful air pollution. Researchers recently measured the pollution levels experienced by drivers from different sectors, including taxi drivers, couriers, truck drivers, waste removal and emergency services workers. The study found that taxi drivers were exposed to the highest levels.

However, the study also found that closing the windows and setting the ventilation system to recirculate air when driving halved the levels of exposure. Other suggestions to reduce exposure included changing routes to avoid tunnels and using pollution filters in the cab.

Chapter 8: Don’t skip your breaks

Tiredness and fatigue can have a big impact on your health in the long term. So it’s always important you make the most of any rest periods during the day. Road safety charity Brake claims that between 10 to 20% of all crashes are caused by driver fatigue. And if you’re driving long hours that require you to concentrate a lot, you really can’t afford to feel drowsy.

The App Drivers and Courier Union (ADCU) recently called for 4,000 dedicated stopping and rest areas for minicab drivers in London’s central Zone 1 area, arguing that rest breaks are essential for workplace safety. And that Transport for London should be doing more to consider what infrastructure is required for safe operations for the city’s 90,000 strong licensed cab fleet.

It’s important to identify safe and decent rest spots on your regular routes so you can easily pull over to recharge your body’s batteries and keep you alert.

Chapter 9: Stick to a regular sleep routine

Cab drivers will enjoy countless benefits from getting a good night’s sleep. Experts suggest most people need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. Being sleep deprived will not only lead to fatigue during the day but will also weaken your immune system and may even affect your mental health, too, contributing to low mood and depression.

Now, don’t get us wrong… we’re not suggesting you need to be tucked up in bed by 10pm every night. But having a regular wind down routine before bed, and trying to get an early-ish night at least one or twice a week will really help you stay fresh and able to cope with the pressures of driving life.

Chapter 10: Know your symptoms

Staying healthy has to be one of a taxi driver’s top priorities when it comes to staying in business. But with a constantly revolving set of customers entering the confines of your cab, taxi drivers can be particularly susceptible to the spread of nasty bugs. Keeping on top of regular cleaning and being aware of your health are important ways to stop yourself from being put out of action by an illness.

It’s also a good idea to make up your own emergency first aid kit for any little health problems that may happen along the way. It should include the basics like plasters, painkillers, indigestion tablets, tweezers, a thermometer, antibacterial wipes and any other medication you need.

Chapter 11: Look after your mental health

From rush hour driving and difficult customers to worries over business expenses, it can be easy for cab drivers to become overwhelmed by it all. And if you aren’t coping with the pressures of life, or are suffering with anxiety or depression then you can be left feeling like you are alone. But that’s far from the truth, there is help out there. Transport for London has a very useful Health and Wellbeing page dealing with a whole host of matters including mental health.

If you’re looking for some useful ways to beat stress then read our guide to how to make taxi driving less stressful.

As well as worries about the job sometimes cabbies can have business worries, too. Don’t let taxi insurance be one of those. Give Taxi Insurer a call and let one of our helpful team guide you through the straightforward process of arranging the right taxi insurance for you and your business.

Take small steps towards success

Staying healthy has to be a long-term goal for any cab driver, and can’t just happen overnight. Try to set some realistic goals for yourself and don’t try to do everything all at once – you’ll only set yourself up for failure.

Try mastering one thing at a time. And if you fall down, don’t be disheartened, there's always tomorrow. Remember staying healthy as a cab driver is possible.

From getting advice from your doctor about aches and pains to what taxi insurance to opt for, it’s always important to get expert advice for everything that affects your business.

So that’s our ultimate guide to staying healthy as a cab driver. From making the right food choices and keeping fit to staying on top of the stresses of business through specialist taxi insurance, there’s lots to keep you busy here.

If there’s something we’ve missed, drop us a line to let us know.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.