When asked what one thinks is the most common injury a trucker may experience on the job, one might assume that the answer lies in collision-related injuries. The truth, as obtained by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), is a lot less interesting. Truckers’ most common injuries involve muscle sprains.
This problem is compounded by the working condition of truckers: truckers often sit still for up to eleven hours a day behind the wheel, and this does not even factor in other sedentary activities such as eating at a diner or sleeping. Because of this, a quality driving seat in your car is an imperative investment to your health on the road.
If your truck has an additional chair intended for a copilot and you drive solo, it might be worth looking into to switch their two locations using the proper tools and some elbow grease. Sitting in the same seat for years can cause cushion and support in the seat to wear down and become less effective.
If you have never driven in your truck with another person, your “shotgun” seat is almost as good as new. Switching the two is an easy way to make driving feel like new without spending a dime.
Buying a New Seat
Eventually, all of the seats in your cabin will be worn down and borderline painful to sit in even for eleven minutes, let alone eleven hours. When this happens, purchasing a new seat is an investment in your truck no different than replacing the tires. Like with tires, no truck seats are created equal. Here are some factors to consider when buying a replacement truck seat:
- Width and height. The best spanking brand new cab chair means absolutely nothing if it cannot fit within your cab! Make sure to know your truck’s measurements and that it can fit properly.
- Firmness. Softer seats might feel better for the first one hundred miles of the day, but as the day drags on, your body will be aching for additional support. Because of the naturally long days of driving as a trucker, emphasize getting a firmer seat and the end-of-the-day version of you will be much more grateful.
- Suspension. Shock absorbers will allow you to feel more comfortable when braking, accelerating, and going over bumpy roads.
- Color. Something you may have not even considered is the color of your cabin interior attracting heat in the summer. Getting a brighter shade like tan or cream-colored for your seat will make your summers behind the wheel much more comfortable.
- Lumbar support. For some, this makes a world of difference. Others feel as though they can do without. Give adjustable lumbar support a chance and you might find a feature you never knew you needed.
- Seat warmers. Frankly, seat warmers are not that big of a deal. When driving, the heater heats the entire cab and will eventually warm up your seat. Some people would rather not wait that long for their seat to heat, but it is hardly a dealbreaker compared to your seat being scalding in the summer.
- Stretching. Not a factor in the seat itself, but just as important as any above. Sitting still for hours at a time tightens muscles and makes them more susceptible to injury during times of rapid movement. Stretch often: some stretches, such as tilting your neck, can be done at a red light, while others will require you to be in a standing position and should happen when you are not driving.
Strain injuries are not as big of a deal as getting into a full-on wreck with your truck, but strains are much more likely to occur and can just as well take you off the job for days at a time. Because truck drivers have an especially sedentary job with long hours of consecutive sitting, it is imperative that the driver has the best seat possible to avoid pain and injury.
Swap the driver’s chair with the shotgun chair, or barring that, purchase a new seat entirely to make the last one hundred miles of the trip as painless as possible.
It might seem like a stretch to consider the seat as important to the truck as the engine or wheels, but long term comfort is what changes a job into a career.
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