Truck driving is a more stressful occupation than many would imagine. Truckers work long hours and are responsible for safely transporting expensive cargo on tight deadlines. The job is physically and mentally demanding, as hours in a truck seat can have a detrimental effect on musculoskeletal health, and safely negotiating the highways takes a high level of concentration and situational awareness.
Over time, the stress of the job can take a toll on truckers’ mental and physical health. Transportation professionals can reduce stress by following these tips:
- Practice breathing exercises on the road – The great thing about deep breathing is that it’s something you can do while you drive without diverting your attention on the road. During your route, periodically take a few minutes to take some deep breaths. You’ll find that it helps you relax and takes some of the stress out of your day.
- Get some exercise – Engage in some exercise while you’re at truck stops or hotels. A good 15-minute walk can help you relieve stress and stay fit. Light weights and other small exercise tools you can keep in your truck can also help you stay fit.
- Use your vacation time – If your company offers vacation time, or if there’s a slow period in your own business, make the most of it to tend to your physical and mental health. Taking a few days off can help you avoid getting burned out. If you travel somewhere for a brief location, let someone else do the driving.
- Stay connected – Life on the road can get lonely. Modern technology can help. Use social media and applications like Skype to stay connected to family and friends.
- Stay comfortable – Nothing can make your life as a trucker more stressful than an uncomfortable or worn-out truck seat. Invest in new custom truck seats that fit your body and which come equipped with features such as ventilation and heating that’ll make those long hours on the road go by faster.
Suburban Seating & Safety provides truck seats and truck accessories to make transportation industry professionals’ lives easier. Shop today to find the best deals on new seats and other gear.
It pays to have options in times of economic uncertainty and change. As globalization and automation continue to fundamentally disrupt and change the economy, many people are finding themselves searching for new jobs as their current positions are downsized or outsourced. For a lot of these folks, the trucking industry has provided the income and stability they need.
Driving semi-trucks is a good career move for people in need of a career they can quickly enter and advance in earnings. Here are a few reasons why trucking is a good opportunity for a second career:
- Ease of entry – Unlike other careers in which you’d have to train for two years or more to enter the field, you can become a truck driver in just a matter of months. Big truck drivers can take classes at trucking schools or community colleges that last between three and six months and earn a commercial driver’s license which qualifies them to operate semis and other large trucks. Most companies also offer on-the-job training.
- Pay – Once you get your feet wet in the industry, you can quickly begin earning more money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck drivers’ median pay in 2016 was $41,340, but many drivers earn more than this.
- Strong job outlook – Trucking is a stable industry with solid prospects. About 108,000 more truckers will be needed between now and 2026, making your prospects of finding and keeping a job good. Autonomous trucks may one day cut into these jobs, but the technology and legal framework that would allow this to happen is still at least 10-20 years away, by most estimates.
- Flexibility – One of the great things about trucking is the flexibility it offers once you get established in the profession. Truckers can live just about anywhere, and well-established professionals can often choose how much or how little they work.
Suburban Seating & Safety is ready to help new members of the transportation industry with great deals on truck seats and truck accessories. Shop today to find the ergonomic seats that will make your new working environment comfortable.
Long hours in a truck seat every day can wear on a driver’s mind and body. Staying mentally and physically healthy is important, not just to your career but also to your quality of life.
Spending a big chunk of your day seated in isolation can be taxing, but it is an unavoidable part of working in the transportation industry. Luckily, there are ways truckers can endure a career of long hauls without ruining their health and going “road crazy.”
- Meditation. You don’t have to put on a bathrobe and break out the incense to take a break and engage in some breathing exercises. Meditation is helpful for relieving stress and improving focus. A brief session before a trip or at rest stops can help.
- Practice good posture. Many truckers develop low back pain over the course of their careers. Maintaining good posture while you drive can help you dodge this bullet. Make sure your semi truck seat has good lumbar support and that your seat is optimally positioned.
- Invest in some audio books. Audio books can help take some of the monotony out of long trips without diverting your attention from the road. Audio books are inexpensive, and you can even download them to your smartphone.
- Take the time to stretch and exercise. Obesity is widespread among truck drivers, as a diet of fast food and hours seated each day takes its toll. Develop healthy exercise habits to keep the fat off. When at truck stops, take the time to do some exercises, even if it’s just going for a walk. Also, try to put in some time at the gym on your days off.
- Keep in touch. Use social networking and apps like Skype to stay in touch with your friends and family when you’ve stopped for the evening. Staying connected will preserve your relationships—and your sanity.
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Maintaining good back health is critical for truck drivers, as low back pain developed over years of driving can be a career-killer. Good posture can head off many of the problems associated with spending hours each day in a truck seat, but many truckers have bad posture habits they need to break.
- Sitting with the seat too low – Sitting with the truck seat too low will cause your pelvis to tuck backward, your spine to curve, and your head to tilt forward. Adjust your seat so that your body is at a 90-degree angle thighs-to-spine. This will reduce pressure on your lower back.
- Sitting too close or far away from the pedals – When your seat is positioned too close or too far away from the truck pedals, you’re unable to reach them without moving into an unhealthy seating position. Your seat should be positioned so that you can reach the pedals with your knees slightly bent.
- Slouching – Slouching in your semi truck seat will put a lot of pressure on your lower back over time. To avoid low back pain, don’t slouch. You don’t have to sit up ramrod straight at all times, but, instead of slouching, recline your seat to adjust your seating position for greater comfort.
- Holding the steering wheel improperly – Holding the very top or bottom of the steering wheel will put increased strain on your shoulder muscles and contribute to back pain. Holding the wheel at the 9 o’ clock and 3 o’clock positions is better for your musculoskeletal health.
- Tilting your neck too far forward – Tilting your neck too far forward when you drive will contribute to back problems over time. Sit upright so you don’t have to tilt your neck forward to see and be sure to make use of your seat’s neck support.
Suburban Seating & Safety sells the latest ergonomic truck seats and truck accessories to make driving safer and more comfortable for transportation industry professionals. Shop today or call us now at 844 SAS.SEAT to find the best deals on gear and equipment you need for your truck.
When you find just the right setting on your truck seat, you know it. There’s a sense of comfort and support that’s unmistakable. Finding that perfect setting is elusive for many transportation industry pros.
Here are a few tips for you to find that “just right” setting for your semi seat:
- Keeping your knees slightly bent when you’re driving will help prevent knee pain, especially on long hauls. A 20- to 30-degree bend in your knees is optimal. You also need to position your seat so that there’s a gap that’s about two fingers wide between the back of your seat and your knees.
- Lumbar support is especially important for long-haul truck drivers, as the pressure exerted against the lower back from hours in the driver’s seat can cause significant back problems. The lumbar support helps with this.
- Your truck has an adjustable headrest for a reason. Use it! The height of the headrest should be placed so that it supports the middle of your head.
- The height of your steering wheel is also important. You need to position the wheel so you have a clear view of the dashboard. You also need to be able to comfortably grip the steering wheel in your preferred position. Some drivers opt for the traditional ten o’clock and two o’clock position, while some with neck and back pain prefer a seven o’clock and four o’clock position.
- Make sure your seat height is comfortable. Seat height can have an impact on the wear and tear that long periods of driving have on your body. Adjust your seat so that you can see the dashboard instruments and the road without having to look down. The top of the steering wheel should be about two-to-four inches below your shoulder.
- When adjusting the seat back angle, your head should be level and vertically in line with your shoulders and hips.
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Re-upholstering an old truck seat is an attractive alternative to getting a new one, in some cases, as it may be less costly than replacement. However, when it comes to providing the comfort and back support truck drivers need, replacement is often the better option.
A re-upholstering job will rejuvenate your truck seat’s appearance, but it may not improve its function. If your truck seat is several years old, it doesn’t have the advanced design that modern truck seats have. New designs are providing greater back support and comfort to drivers, making long hauls a lot easier on their bodies.
Here are a few signs that re-upholstering may be needed:
- Stains and holes – Stains and holes in the fabric of your seat can make your truck cabin look dingy and shabby. Over time, tears in the fabric can also affect the cushioning inside your seat. If your seats are fairly new and have stains and holes, consider re-upholstery.
- Faded color – Over time, the color of your seat fabric may fade. If the seat is sound, but just has faded fabric, an upholstery job may remedy the matter.
Here are a few signs replacement is necessary:
- Your seat is old – Old seats aren’t as well-designed as newer seats, as advances in medicine and technology have enabled truck seat designers to create seats that better support drivers’ backs and reduce the strain that long-haul drives have on the body.
- Your seat doesn’t provide the same support as it once did – Seat cushioning can deteriorate over time, and, after a while, a seat may not provide the same support it did when it was brand new. If this is the case, truck seat replacement is your best option.
- Seat cushioning appears to be damaged – If your seat has holes and tears, and it appears that the cushioning is damaged or missing, it’s definitely time for a replacement truck seat.
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Every profession has its occupational hazards, and trucking has more than a few, including road and traffic hazards, as well as possible injury from loading and unloading trucks. One of the more insidious threats truckers face is long-term back pain, which can develop slowly over time until it becomes debilitating.
Back pain can be a career-ender for many truckers, who will then have to spend their retirement years dealing with chronic pain. Fortunately, there are steps that truck drivers can take to avoid developing long-term back pain, including upgrading their truck seats to more modern, ergonomic models.
- Keep the weight off – Keeping fit will help you to avoid developing back pain. Excessive weight puts extra strain on your body’s musculoskeletal system, so it’s important to stay at a healthy weight. Avoid fast food when possible and be sure to get enough exercise to keep the pounds off.
- Strengthen your back – Exercise won’t just help you keep excess weight off; it can also help strengthen the muscles in your back. Stronger back muscles will better cope with the strain of hours sitting in semi truck seats and exertion related to loading and unloading your truck.
- Use flexion stretches – Flexion stretches can be done while you drive and will help prevent neck and upper back pain. Gently bend your head forward while bringing your chin toward your chest to do a flexion stretch.
- Make the most of rest stops – When you stop for gas or to get something to eat, make the most of that time to stretch and do a few exercises to strengthen your back. Prolonged periods of sitting are bad for your health, but truckers can mitigate its effect by stretching and engaging in some light exercise at regular intervals.
- Upgrade your seats – Older truck seats don’t have the lower back support and other ergonomic benefits of modern designs. If your seat is more than a few years old, replace it with a new truck seat model that fits your body and provides necessary support. A bad truck seat can aggravate problems that cause long-term back pain. Upgrading to a better seat is the smart investment.
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Like any other industry, the trucking industry experiences trends in labor, technology, demand, and other factors that drivers and other trucking professionals must cope with in order to thrive. Staying on top of current trends in the industry, such as new developments and technology and even moves to more comfortable truck seats, helps trucking professionals safely navigate changes that can impact their livelihoods.
Some key trends truckers will need to stay abreast of in 2018 include:
- Increased demand – A growing economy requires more freight to be hauled—a good sign for truckers, as this means their services will be needed. Industry experts estimate that freight volume will increase by 3.4 percent annually through 2023.
- Retirements – The average trucker is above the age of 50, and many men and women in the industry are expected to retire in the next few years. Tightness in the labor market could lead to higher wages for current drivers. It’ll also open up new opportunities for young drivers to get in the game and start earning solid wages now.
- ELD mandate – Enforcement of rules requiring truckers to implement an electronic logging device will be ratcheting up in 2018, as new penalties are enacted for non-compliance with the rules. Drivers who don’t have an ELD installed on their truck will face fines between $1,000 and $10,000 for each offense. Electronic logging devices are intended to track data concerning driver work hours and other conditions and will provide a powerful tool to help make the trucking life easier and safer.
- Ergonomics – The movement for ergonomic seating solutions for trucks will continue to gain steam as older truckers who want to add a few more years to their careers and younger drivers who want to safeguard their health demand more comfortable and supportive truck seats. Expect to see rising sales of newer, better-designed truck seats in the coming year.
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For trucks and heavy equipment that may be operating in off-road conditions, such as construction sites, having the right seating is important. Going off-road in a vehicle with seats designed for the highway isn’t going to be a comfortable driving experience.
When purchasing off-highway seats for your truck or another piece of heavy equipment, keep these tips in mind to make sure you get the right seat:
- Make sure it’s an actual off-highway seat – Some seats that are better suited for the highway are marketed as off-highway. Make sure the seat that you’re considering spending your hard-earned money on can deliver on its promises.
- Find out what kind of suspension system it has – Off-highway seats typically have air or mechanical suspension. Each variety has its advantages and disadvantages. Ask other drivers and operators about what they prefer and come to your own conclusions before choosing an off-highway seat that fits your needs.
- Make sure it has plenty of lower back support – Lumbar support is important in any truck seat, but it’s especially important in off-highway seats. Talk to a sales rep and make sure that the seat you’re considering will help you mitigate the impacts of off-road bumps and jolts.
- Read product reviews – Before purchasing any seat, be sure to Google it and read any relevant product reviews. Learning what other people have to say about a product will help you determine whether it’s right for your needs.
- Talk to other truckers and vehicle operators – There’s no experience for real-world, on-the-job experience. Find out what other folks doing jobs similar to yours are doing to ensure they are comfortable and safe when operating off-road.
By exercising due diligence, you can find the seat that’s best for your needs. Good seats can go a long way toward heading off health problems related to low back pain that many truckers and vehicle operators develop over their careers.
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Cold temperatures can make roads dangerous, causing wet and icy conditions that can contribute to traffic accidents. Because of their size and the tremendous momentum they can build on the highways, big trucks like 18-wheelers are particularly at risk of accident in cold conditions. Truck drivers must exercise great caution every minute they’re in the truck seat to avoid crashes.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2015, more than 4,300 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal auto crashes, up 8 percent from the previous year. Wet and icy roads increase the likelihood of crashes, but there are some ways truckers can reduce their risks, including:
- Regularly inspect your vehicle – Make sure that all lights are in good working order and that all your truck’s systems, including the brakes, are in good shape. Mechanical failure accounts for just a small percentage of accidents, but who wants to be a statistic?
- Reduce your speed – The treacherous nature of snow and ice-covered roads makes it imperative for truckers to slow down. Slowing down will help you compensate for poor traction and will also give you more time to react to sudden changes, such as drivers in front of you slamming on brakes or erratic behavior by drivers in oncoming lanes of traffic.
- Know when to pull over – If you feel like driving conditions are too dangerous, pull over. It’s not worth risking an accident.
- Make sure all windows and mirrors are clear – Don’t drive when your view is obstructed. Ice and frost can make it tough to see out of your windshield, windows, and mirrors. Before hitting the road, make sure all windows and mirrors are unobstructed.
- Check your tires – Winter time is no time to be driving on bald tires. Before hitting the highways, be sure to inspect your tires to ensure that they have adequate tread and are undamaged. If your tires appear questionable, replace them.
Suburban Seating & Safety carries truck seats and truck accessories that can make your vehicle safer and more comfortable. Shop today to find great deals on gear that can help you be a better driver.