The hot summer months can make truckers’ lives miserable, as parking their vehicles for long hours outside can heat up the cab to unbearable temperatures. Even with air conditioning, truckers can spend a considerable amount of time sweating in their truck seats before the temperature in the cab is under control.
Fortunately, there are several things truck drivers can do to keep their vehicles cool during the summer months. It’s not just a matter of comfort; it’s also a matter of safety, as drivers who get too hot are at greater risk of health issues, such as heart attacks or kidney stones, and because uncomfortable drivers are less safe drivers.
To keep your cab cool during the summer months, consider these helpful tips practiced by veteran drivers:
- Dress appropriately – Cotton or linen shirts will help draw sweat away from your body, while a broad-brimmed hat will keep the sun out of your eyes and help keep your face from getting sunburned when you’re outside.
- Stay hydrated – Always make sure that you drink plenty of water when you’re on the road. Getting dehydrated will make you less comfortable, and it can also affect your attentiveness to the road and ability to quickly react to road conditions.
- Keep the A/C in good repair – If your air conditioner doesn’t seem to be cooling the way it should, get a mechanic to check out the vehicle. Chances are that you need some coolant, but a more serious problem may be present. Taking action now can prevent major hassles later. The last thing you want is your air conditioning to go out on a long trip in July.
- Open your window – If you’re going to park your truck for a while, and you’re sure it’s not going to rain, roll down your windows to keep air circulating through the vehicle. It will help keep the cab of your vehicle cooler.
- Invest in ventilated seats – Truck seats can retain a lot of heat. Ventilated seats keep truckers cool by circulating air through the seats. You can buy custom or regular truck seats with this innovative feature.
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Just about everyone’s sat on a hot, sticky automobile seat. While real or imitation leather looks great, is easy to clean, and is quite comfortable when temperatures or cool, it’s an entirely different story in the summer time.
Semi and other large vehicle drivers need comfortable seats to do their jobs. Spending eight hours or more in a truck seat can be trying, even under the best of conditions. As driver comfort impacts driver efficiency and safety, having a comfortable seat is important to drivers and trucking companies alike.
Here are a few tips for keeping truck seats cool during the summer months:
- Use a windshield shade. When your seats get too hot, it’s usually because your truck has been parked outside where the sun can shine down on your seats through the windshield for hours. A windshield shade can block sunlight from entering the cab, keeping the temperature lower.
- Buy ventilated seats. Ventilated seats are a lifesaver for many long-haul truckers. Seat ventilation is a built-in feature for some seats that directs air through the seat. It keeps the seats cool and drivers comfortable on long trips. Ventilated seats have several small fans built into the cushion and backrest. These fans pull in air from inside the cabin and push it through plastic ducts and air permeable fabric in the seat.
- Ventilated seats reduce the temperature of the seat and can also reduce sweating and eliminate moisture between the driver’s body and the seat.
- Consider cloth seats. Cloth seats tend to dissipate heat better than leather and vinyl seats. For an inexpensive solution to the problem of hot seats in the summer, cloth is the answer.
- Purchase lighter colored seats. Dark colors absorb heat, while lighter colors reflect it. When purchasing seats for your truck, keep this in mind and stick to the lighter tones.
- Garage your truck. If possible, park your truck in a garage or a carport, or under shade. Keeping your truck from spending long hours outside in the hot sun will help to keep the cabin cooler.
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Fatal accidents on America’s highways jumped 6 percent in 2016, making it the deadliest year on the road in nearly a decade. The trucking industry can play a major role in reducing accidents and fatalities on the road by improving safety habits.
In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, about 12 percent of all the people who died in automobile accidents were in crashes involving large trucks, according to Trucks.com. Truckers aren’t at fault in all these crashes, but drivers can reduce the risk of accidents by adopting safer driving habits that keep them from committing errors that result in crashes and allow them to better respond to errors by other drivers to avoid wrecks.
Here are four tips for truckers to improve their safety habits:
- Avoid texting and distractions – Researchers have found that a big contributing factor to the increase in fatal accidents is distracted driving. Some studies have found distracted driving to be an even bigger risk factor for a crash than drunk driving. It’s simple—if you’re operating your truck, don’t text or fiddle with your phone. Have a convenient mount for your device if you use it for navigation purposes, and use the voice commands instead of typing addresses and directions.
- Cut your speed in work zones – Nearly one-third of all work-zone fatalities involve big trucks. When traveling through areas where road construction or roadside building construction is ongoing, reduce your speed and be mindful of pedestrians.
- Adjust your seating – Truckers who are in comfortable, well-positioned truck seats stay more alert and have better visibility than drivers in improperly adjusted or worn-out seats. Taking the time to ensure your truck seat is of good quality and properly adjusted can improve your on-the-road safety and may even improve your lower back health.
- Load your cargo correctly – Stack your cargo in a smart manner. Distribute your cargo low and throughout the space of the truck instead of just stacking it high in one corner. It will make it easier for you to brake and will also improve fuel economy.
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Driving a semi or other big truck is a huge responsibility, and drivers need to be at their physical and mental best when sitting in a truck seat on long hauls. Staying properly hydrated can help your overall health and also ensure you stay alert on the highway.
The human body has to have water. Our organs and tissues need it to function properly. When we’re properly hydrated, our energy levels are better, and we’re more awake and alert. When dehydration occurs, some common symptoms may include headache, fatigue, and dizziness—all conditions that truckers want to avoid to ensure their safety and that of other motorists.
It’s easy to forget to drink enough water when you’re traveling on the road, especially on long trips. For truckers who want to stay properly hydrated, these tips can be helpful:
- Eat fruits – Most fruits have a lot of water content and can help you stay properly hydrated. Fruits are also full of fiber and other important nutrients, and increasing your diet’s fruit content can help you stay healthy.
- Get a health tracker – Most smartphones can download health tracking apps that can help you keep up with how much sleep you’re getting, how much walking you’re doing, etc. Getting a health tracker and getting in the habit of logging your water consumption can provide a helpful behavioral reinforcement for increasing your water consumption.
- Keep water onboard – If you’ve got a cooler or a dorm fridge in your truck, keeping a jug of water onboard will give you anytime access to water when you’re on the road.
- Avoid sodas – Sodas won’t hydrate you as well as water, and excessive soda consumption can contribute to obesity and diabetes—two health problems unfortunately common to the trucking industry. Stick to the pure stuff, with occasional soda drinks as a reward or when you need a caffeine jolt.
- Get a convenient cup – Having a cup that’s convenient to take with you and use while you’re traveling can make staying hydrated a lot easier. Find a cup that’s sturdy and that can keep water cold for extended periods.
- Prevent dehydration – Keep from getting dehydrated by ensuring your truck cabin is cool and comfortable. Ventilated truck seats and other accessories can help.
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Whether you call it white line fever or highway hypnosis, falling asleep at the wheel poses a huge threat to traffic safety, especially when the dozing driver is in a big rig truck seat.
A study by the Harvard School of Medicine—Sleep Medicine Division found that nearly half of semi-truck drivers surveyed as part of a larger study on sleep deprivation admitted to having drifted off while on a long haul. The U.S. Department of Transportation found that about a third of drivers reported drowsiness or falling asleep while driving. Seven percent reported feeling drowsy almost every day they drove.
Drowsy driving is dangerous driving, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 100,000 auto accidents result from driver fatigue each year. Those accidents account for about 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
Truckers can do their part to prevent accidents by putting these practices in place to prevent drowsy driving:
- Be sure to get a good night’s rest – Getting enough sleep can help keep you from feeling drowsy on the road. If sleep apnea or other medical problems are preventing you from sleeping well, see a doctor. You can also make your truck cab a better place to sleep by purchasing the right mattress and truck accessories to make it more comfortable.
- Keep it cold – If you find that you’re starting to feel a little drowsy, turn on the A/C or roll down the window. The cooler temperature and the breeze from the air vents will help keep you awake and alert.
- Turn it up – Playing some loud music that you enjoy and singing along is a good way to keep your mind alert and stave off highway hypnosis.
- Don’t slouch – Slouching and slumping can cause you to become a little too comfortable and make dozing off more likely. Adjust your truck seat to keep yourself straight. Be sure that your headrest and lumbar area on your seat are properly adjusted to provide needed support.
seats, accessories, and other gear they need to stay safe on the road. Shop their store today to find what you need to maximize your safety and performance on the road.
The trucking industry provides lots of opportunities for motivated, business-savvy individuals to chart their own course by starting their own companies, making trucking one of the most entrepreneur-friendly career fields.
Experts say trucking is one of the fastest-growing small business industries in America. Getting your trucking business off the ground takes more than just lots of hours in a truck seat; it also demands good decision making, particularly in the area of self-improvement and investment. For new or established trucking company entrepreneurs, here are a few tips on how to invest in yourself and your business:
- Your number-one asset in the business isn’t your truck or your client list, it’s you. Invest in yourself by taking good care of your health and comfort on the road. Make sure your truck is fitted with ergonomic features like custom truck seats to prevent lower back problems from developing. Eat right and be sure to get sufficient exercise and sleep, too.
- Get good advice. Unless you’re a legal or financial prodigy, it’s a terrible idea to try to tackle these aspects of the trucking business on your own. For financial and legal matters, be sure to consult qualified professionals. That’s not to say you shouldn’t study these matters yourself—the more knowledgeable you are, the better decisions you’ll be able to make.
- Maintain your vehicle. Next to your body, your vehicle is your most important asset. Do not put off repairs or maintenance checks. The longer problems go unremedied or undiagnosed, the more likely it is that they’ll create major damage.
- Invest in education. Take a few online courses on business management and accounting from a reputable institution. You’ll find that these classes will greatly help you in making business decisions.
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While gasoline prices are currently low, fuel costs remain an important issue for truckers, as improving efficiency can help truckers cut costs and improve the profitability of their operations. Also, by developing good fuel efficiency habits now, truckers will be better able to weather price hikes that are always just one supply hiccup or geopolitical situation away from occurring.
For truckers who’d like to improve their fuel economy, these tips employed by industry veterans can help:
- Reduce weight – Your truck is carrying tons of cargo; don’t add to it with unnecessary weight in the cab. Carry the truck interior accessories that are essential for comfort, health, and entertainment, but avoid carrying too many items in your truck.
- Keep an eye on the speedometer – Traveling at speeds of 65 mph may get you to your destination faster, but it will reduce your fuel economy and run the risk of getting pulled over in some areas. Where possible, keep your speed to a reasonable maximum to ensure fuel efficiency.
- Check your tire pressure – Under-inflated tires can drastically decrease fuel efficiency. Before every trip, check the pressure on your tires and make sure that they’re inflated to proper levels. Also, be sure to immediately repair or replace tires that appear to have a leak.
- Stop the idling – When your truck is running but not moving, it’s wasting fuel. When stopped at a truck stop or in a traffic jam that appears to be lengthy, cut the engine to conserve fuel.
- Avoid rapid acceleration – When you floor it, you make your engine work harder to reach your desired speed. This requires more fuel. By giving up your lead-footed ways and accelerating slowly, you can reduce your fuel consumption.
In addition to reducing fuel consumption, better fuel efficiency habits will cut carbon emissions, thus reducing the transportation industry’s environmental footprint.
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A life on the road can get expensive. Meals, fuel, and incidental expenses can quickly eat into truckers’ budgets, leaving them with smaller profits from their long hours on the road.
The good news is that, with a little careful planning and the right equipment and truck interior accessories, truckers can greatly reduce their costs on the road. Here are a few tips from seasoned truckers that can help you run a more financially successful enterprise:
- Cut food costs – Stopping at restaurants or picking up fast food along the way can quickly add up to big costs. Many truckers spend $10,000 or more per year on restaurant food. Truckers can avoid big food costs with a little preparation and smart shopping. When preparing for a route, pack snacks and food you’ve purchased from a grocery store. Grocery store food is usually much less expensive than food purchased from a truck stop or convenience store.
- Reduce entertainment costs – Instead of purchasing a DVD player and purchasing movie after movie, reduce your costs by purchasing wireless internet service and streaming movies online. There are many free movies available online, or you can subscribe to a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime to gain access to a huge library of films that you can watch on a tablet, a laptop, or even your phone.
- Outfit your truck before a trip – Buy all the gear you need online or at stores before your trip. You’ll likely find lower prices for traveling gear there, than at truck stops where price-gougers may have you at their mercy.
- Rewards cards – If you do have regular truck stops and restaurants that you shop at, take advantage of any rewards programs that they may offer. The programs are usually free and can save frequent shoppers considerable sums of money. Some rewards programs even let you access their benefits using your smartphone.
- Invest in ergonomics – Uncomfortable truck seats will eventually result in expensive trips to the doctor’s office. Make sure you can sit comfortably by investing in ergonomically designed truck seats and accessories made to improve posture.
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It’s probably the understatement of the century to say that truck drivers spend a lot of time in their truck seats. The long shifts worked and many miles traveled by truckers can not only cause stiffness and soreness, it can also contribute to significant problems, as remaining sedentary for long periods can result in negative impacts on musculoskeletal health.
Making sure that truck seats are comfortable and following good ergonomic principles can help truck drivers avoid the severe back pain that plague many members of their profession. Here are a few tips that experienced drivers use to make their seats comfortable and conducive to good musculoskeletal health.
- Adjust the steering wheel – Your truck’s steering wheel can influence your seating position in your truck. To get into proper position, make sure that you’re able to put your wrist flat over the wheel while your shoulder blades are firmly placed against the back of your seat.
- Make sure the distance from the seat to the pedals is correct –Your seat should be positioned so that your legs are parallel to the ground and your legs bend at about 120 degrees when you press the brake pedal.
- Make use of lumbar support – Many newer trucks have power lumbar support features. When starting a route, use a low level of lumbar support and adjust to increase lumbar support as you travel. If your vehicle doesn’t have lumbar support, there are lumbar support truck accessories you can purchase.
- Replace worn seats – Old seats lose their padding, over time, creating an uncomfortable and, ultimately, unhealthy sitting environment. If your seats are worn out, replace them. You can also add extra cushioning for your seat if needed.
- Properly adjust your mirrors – Mirrors tilted at the wrong angles may cause you to have to stretch or strain to see cars behind or beside you. Over time, this can have a negative effect on your back. Position your mirrors so no stretching is needed to get a clear view.
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Truckers spend long hours in their truck seats, traveling hundreds of miles each day. While it may be tough to work a little time for getting out of their seats into their schedule, finding that time can have a big impact on truckers’ health and the longevity of their careers.
Health experts say that prolonged sitting has serious health risks and is associated with higher risks of heart disease, diabetes, muscle and joint problems, and even cancer. Some experts say that prolonged sitting is even more dangerous than smoking.
There’s a wealth of data dating back to the 1950s illustrating the health risks posed by sitting. According to the Washington Post, medical researchers have determined that workers who sit for long hours have twice the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease and a 13 percent increased risk of cancer.
Exercising vigorously before or after a shift can improve your health, but researchers say breaking up the time spent sitting is absolutely imperative to preventing the negative effects of prolonged sitting. While office workers can get up and move around during their workday, truckers don’t have this luxury. There are a few things truckers can do to mitigate the negative health effects of prolonged sitting, including:
- Make the most out of stops. Move around; if you’ve stopped to fuel up, use that time to stretch, walk around your truck, or do some pushups or other exercises.
- Take breaks. Schedule your route so you can take a few breaks during your travels to get out of your seat and get some exercise. It can be difficult, but it’s worth it.
- Improve your seating. There are some great custom truck seating products on the market that can minimize some of the musculoskeletal impacts of prolonged sitting in a truck seat. Install them in your vehicle to help avoid developing back problems and other issues that plague many truck drivers.
Truck drivers have greater reported incidences of obesity and risk factors for chronic disease than workers in many other professions. Long hours spent sitting are largely to blame. Finding ways to break up sedentary time can help you extend your working careers and improve your quality of life.
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