How to Prepare for Your DOT Physical

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How to Prepare for Your DOT Physical

You may think a DOT physical exam is a regular physical – but it's not. The DOT exam ensures you're safe enough to drive commercial vehicles.

If you have a CDL or drive a vehicle that carries more than a few people, you must pass the DOT exam to drive safely and maintain physical and mental health.

At Calvary Urgent Care, our team offers DOT physicals, annual physicals, and other check-ups to ensure your health. Dr. Joseph Goin is our in-house primary care physician, offering urgent care services and routine exams for all your medical needs.

Who needs a DOT physical?

The Department of Transportation, or DOT physical is an exam the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires for individuals driving commercial vehicles.

The DOT exam aims to ensure you're physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy enough to drive safely. It's also intended to guarantee the safety of other drivers by weeding out those who need to be fit for long hours of driving or carrying passengers.

A medical examiner on the FMCSA national registry must perform the DOT exam. The results are good for two years, then you repeat the physical to continue driving a commercial vehicle.

Preparation for the DOT physical

The DOT exam is very similar to an annual physical exam. Still, it is detailed and sometimes goes into more specifics to ensure whole-body safety. In preparation for your appointment, you should do the following:

  • Fill out the medical history form prior to the exam
  • Bring your list of current and past medications
  • Know what you're allergic to
  • Obtain your family medical history
  • Write down all your current or past health problems
  • Make a list of the surgeries you've had
  • Obtain any medical records from specialists you've seen
  • Bring your glasses or contacts with you
  • If you need hearing aids, bring them 
  • Obtain a copy of current lab results

It would also help if you are prepared to give a urine sample at the exam to test for medical conditions and substance abuse. Avoid smoking, drinking, or using drugs before the DOT physical.

It's also a good idea to avoid very salty or sweet foods, as they could skew the results of your blood pressure or blood glucose reading.

Preparing for the DOT physical is essential to ensure it goes smoothly and you have all the information Dr. Goin requires for speedy results.

What does the DOT exam entail?

The DOT exam consists of a physical and an overview of your medical history. When you first come in for the appointment, a staff member obtains your height and weight and takes you to the exam room.

Our team asks you to change into a gown and takes your blood pressure, temperature, and pulse. Dr. Goin then asks you questions about your past and current health. He also talks to you about your family history and any health issues you currently have.

After the medical review of your health, Dr. Goin performs a physical exam. The exam often includes the following:

  • Vision and hearing tests
  • Reflex testing
  • Examination of your abdomen
  • Examination of your skin
  • Heart and lung sounds
  • Watching how you walk
  • Eyes, ears, nose, and throat check
  • Spine and neurological evaluation
  • Evaluation of your genitourinary system
  • Looking at your joints and extremities

A mental health assessment is another aspect of the physical exam. Dr. Goin asks you about any feelings of depression, anxiety, or harm to yourself or others. He also asks what medications you're on if you have a mental health disorder and how you're managing it.

Once the exam ends, Dr. Goin discusses his results and files the necessary paperwork if you pass. He may suggest further testing if something is out of range or if he suspects an issue with your chronic medical problem.

To learn more about our DOT physicals, call our Humble, Texas practice at 832-680-2273 or request an appointment on our website today.