If you are a truck driver or are considering joining the 850,000 truckers currently working across the US, you should know how to prevent possible injuries you might be facing as a driver.
Due to long work hours, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet, truckers sustain many workers’ compensation injuries. Moreover, the profession may require lifting heavy objects at drop-off points, which can be hazardous.
Did you know that taking preventative measures now can strengthen your personal injury or workers’ compensation claim in the event you are injured on the job in the future?
Here’s what you need to know about common injuries truck drivers suffer, how to prevent them, and how workers’ compensation attorneys can help after an accident.
Avoid Injury Due to a Truck Accident
The best way to avoid getting injured in a truck accident is to avoid the accident altogether. Here are some tips to help you stay safe out on the road. Only 25% of accidents involving a commercial truck are the fault of the trucker.
By following these tips, you can greatly reduce your chance of being in an accident.
Always Drive Safely
Of course this one is a no-brainer, but it’s always worth a reminder. Truckers should ensure they are driving safely throughout their entire trip – and especially at night, during bad weather, or in heavy traffic.
- Take it easy and drive at a safe speed.
- Be aware of steep grades and sharp curves and adjust your speed appropriately.
- Drive in the right lane and stay aware of your surroundings.
- Let other drivers get ahead of you so that you can focus on the road.
- Leave ample space between you and the vehicles in front of you as you may have a longer stopping time.
Avoid Distracted Driving
Distractions can be a handful for any driver on the road. As a trucker who lives a significant chunk of their life behind the wheel, it’s even more important to stay vigilant in order to avoid accidents. Here are some tips to try!
- Program your playlist and GPS settings before you hit the road.
- Get a Bluetooth hands-free kit or headset to make and take phone calls without needing to look away from the road. But remember – hands-free doesn’t mean risk-free!
- Save your texts, emails, and social media posts for when your vehicle is safely stopped. Even voice-to-text technology is dangerous to use while driving.
- When you’re using the CB radio, try and call as few people as possible.
- Keep important items within arm’s reach while driving.
- Eat and drink during breaks, not while your vehicle is in motion.
- Keep your eyes on the road. Don’t get distracted by roadside events, beautiful scenery, or people gesturing for you to honk your horn for them.
Fight Driver Fatigue
Driving a truck is a grueling job, and it takes real effort to fight off driver fatigue. Here are some steps to help you stay not just awake, but keep alert and focused on the road.
- Set reminders to take breaks or stop driving if you feel tired. The law states that you can only drive so many hours in a particular period of time, so if you need to stop, take a break and get some rest.
- Taking breaks at regular intervals will help you stay focused. Try to take one in the afternoon and one in the morning.
- Stop driving if your vision becomes fuzzy or you’re having trouble reading signs and other things around you. When you can’t see clearly, it’s time to pull over.
- Get a boost of energy from a cup of coffee or a healthy energy drink. Caffeine or even just a nice cold drink of water can put a little wind in your sails when you’re feeling fatigued.
- Stretch your legs and calm your nerves. There’s more to many rest stops and welcome centers than just restrooms and overpriced vending machines. Many are designed for travelers who need to take a break, complete with picnic areas, walking paths, and scenic views. So take a short walk and get some air. Maybe even enjoy your lunch outside. After being cooped up in your cab all day, a rest stop can do you some good.
- If you’re starting to feel more drowsy than usual on a recurring basis, seek a doctor and get yourself checked out. Underlying medical issues can cause increased drowsiness and mental fog.
Avoid Other Types of Injuries
Highway accidents are just one of many possible sources of injury for commercial truck drivers. While you may be driving your rig safely and have great techniques for preventing accidents on the road, there are still many ways you can injure yourself while working. Here are some tips for avoiding other kinds of injuries on the job.
Strains and Sprains
Strains and sprains are some of the most common injuries amongst truck drivers. They stem from being sedentary over long periods, lifting heavy loads, and poor diet choices. Not getting enough calcium, vitamin D, protein, and fiber in your diet is a sure way to make your bones and muscles weak, placing you at risk for an injury. In addition, you may get a strain or sprain in your arms, neck, or back when lifting heavy loads, and if you do not warm up and stretch, you are more exposed to injury. Pulling and lifting movements help you build muscle and help you avoid injuries.
Carpal Tunnel, Tendinitis, Tennis Elbow
Truck drivers often suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and tennis elbow injuries due to a lack of movement. Such injuries can weaken the body and sometimes require surgery. Exercise is one of the most effective treatments. Additionally, you may consider buying higher-quality ergonomic seats and steering wheels, as well as improving your driving technique.
Slip and Fall
Truck drivers need to be careful when getting in or out of the cab, or when moving cargo. It only takes a small mishap or small lapse in judgment for a driver to lose footing and fall. Drivers need to know how to move cargo safely and how to be alert for the hazards around them.
Make sure that you follow these tips to avoid slipping and falling:
1. Be sure your shoes are not slippery.
Check the soles for dirt and if there is any, rinse it off.
2. Walk slowly.
You may be rushing, but rushing increases your chance of losing your footing.
3. Look around you.
Be aware of your surroundings so you do not trip over something.
Truck accidents attorneys help truck drivers and their families to get access to medical care, legal advice, and compensation for their injuries. They can also work with insurance companies or employers of the driver in order to make sure that they are compensated for their losses. Download our guide “7 Reasons You Need a Trucker Attorney.“
If you were injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish or other damages. Compensation is available through the truck accident victim’s own insurance policy or through an underinsured motorist coverage with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Trucker injuries are preventable, but they can still happen
The truth is that most injuries are preventable. However, statistics are not on our side. Due to our human condition, long hours and the nature of the job, injuries may happen at some point. When you get injured on the job, we’ll be there to help you. Contact Hurt Trucker Attorney for a Free Case Review.