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Truck Driver Ergonomics: Best Practices and Tips
Whether you’re a newbie trucker who’s only been on the road a month or a seasoned veteran who’s seen — and driven it all — then you already know how hard trucking can be on your body. According to the OSHA, truck drivers are among one of the top professions most likely to be out of work due to an injury. But, this doesn’t have to be your fate.
Understanding the ergonomics of how to sit, grasp the steering wheel, and position your body as you drive is what many proactive truckers are doing to decrease their pain levels and lower their risk of injuries.
Improved Truck Driver Ergonomics
Slouching, the continuous vibrations as you drive, the quality of your seat, and the shape of your seat can all be determining factors in pain and injury. The team here at Thunder Funding has put together their list of tips for improved ergonomics for truckers:
1. Move Around A Little
Change your position in the seat and adjust your hand position on the steering wheel several times an hour. This helps prevent stiffness and promotes continuous blood flow to your extremities. Adjust your mirrors so that you can see all of them without slouching or twisting. You can also use the mirrors as a cue to sit up when you slouch, instead of readjusting them.
2. Your Feet Are Important Too
Make sure your seat is adjusted properly and that your feet can comfortably reach the brakes, gas pedal, and clutch. You should be able to depress the foot pedals all the way without twisting your back or moving away from your seat. And, remember, your knees should always be slightly lower than your hips to relieve pressure from your back and to ensure proper blood flow to your legs and feet.
3. Lean Back
Your entire back from your shoulders to your bottom should lean comfortably against the backrest. Shimmy your bottom to the very back of your seat and mind your posture. As you drive, your torso should be upright without a slouch in sight. If possible, adjust the lumbar area of the seat to provide gentle support. Try using a towel or a lumbar roll for added low back support, if needed.
4. Leg Room
Ensure your thighs are completely on the seat so that the back of your knee is approximately one inch away from your seat cushion. Yes, one inch. Trust us on this one. The front of the seat should not contact the back of the knee. The reason being that, if your knee touches the front of the seat, it can cause you to slide forward over time into a rounded posture as you drive.
5. Stretching And Exercise
You’re definitely not off the hook when it comes to taking care of yourself both inside and outside of the cab. Stretch before and after getting out of your truck. And, exercise regularly to keep your body in good shape. It’s little things like this that keep you on the road and away from injury.