Ergonomics for Truck Drivers

Even though you sit while you drive, driving and sitting are not equal tasks. If you spend most of your waking hours driving a truck, your body is subject to the accelerations and decelerations of the vehicle, as well as any swaying and vibrations. You must tense your leg to hold down the pedal, and you hold your arms up while gripping the steering wheel.

Because of the strain your body experiences while driving, you must take extra care to ensure your muscles and joints do not undergo too much stress during your long hours behind the wheel. Here are a few tips to help you with that goal.

While Driving

Your body needs to move. When it's forced to stay still for long periods of time, your joints can grow stiff and achy. Even if you don't have the option to get out of the truck and move around, change how you're sitting every 30 to 60 minutes.

Change where your hands are positioned on the steering wheel as well, and don't let tension build by gripping it too hard.

Out of the Truck

Even when you're no longer driving, continue to protect your body from back and joint pain. Never go directly from driving to lifting and carrying your cargo. Give your body a few moments to adjust by taking a restroom break or completing paperwork.

Additionally, avoid turning with your spine. When entering and exiting the truck, turn your whole body. When carrying cargo, lead with your feet and legs rather than your torso. Protect yourself from extreme temperature changes when exiting your truck as well. Going from your warm cab to chilly weather can stiffen muscles, so keep a jacket with you.

The Perfect Seat

Possibly the best way to ensure you don't have major back problems later is to find the perfect seat for driving. There are numerous truck seats available with excellent lumbar support and various types of suspension and adjustment options. Air suspension and mechanical suspension each have their own benefits. Choose the option that is most comfortable to you.

If you aren't able to completely replace your seat, you still have options to make driving easier on your body. If your truck vibrates too much, use a gel cushion. Use a lumbar roll or a rolled up towel to make up for any lack in the seat's lumbar support. Add a head cushion if the seat sits too low for your height.

How to Sit

Whether or not you replace your seat, your knees should not sit higher than your hips. Make sure the back of your knees do not hit the front of your seat; if they do touch, your posture slips into a rounded position.

Your feet should reach the pedals easily and be able to press each one all the way down without any trouble. The angle between your back and your legs should be around 100 degrees, even after your periodic shifting.

Your elbows should stay close to your sides when your hands are on the wheel. You should not have to reach to grip the steering wheel. Every piece of instrumentation needs to be easy to see without excess movement, and you should be able to see all your mirrors clearly as well. If you cannot see the mirrors, adjust their positions, not your own posture.

General Tips

Throughout driving and time out of the truck, continue to exercise. Keep your body loose and in shape so that any potential problems will not be as devastating as they otherwise could be. Find an exercise routine that works best for your schedule and lifestyle.

Staying hydrated can also fix a number of health problems throughout your life. Keep a water bottle with you in the cab, and refill it at every stop. Water will help your muscles release tension and your body repair any strains.

Research truck seat models to get started on your journey to better back and joint health.