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Health Hazards for Truck Drivers in Winter

Driving in the winter can present a challenge to even the most seasoned truck drivers. Snowfall causes low visibility, the roads are often covered in ice, and you have to constantly contend with other drivers who are not well-equipped for winter road conditions. All these factors can cause truckers to be at higher risk when hauling during winter, but there are even more concerns than just hydroplaning on the road or getting into vehicular crashes— the wintertime poses numerous health hazards that truck drivers should be mindful of as well.

Here are 5 health hazards that truck drivers should watch out for this winter:

1. Frostbite

If you’re not bundled up properly, frostbite can occur to exposed body parts in a relatively short amount of time. In fact, frostbite can start occurring in under 30 minutes when it’s 5 degrees and the wind’s blowing at 30mph. That’s a surprisingly short time, but you can prevent it from happening by wearing mittens, donning earmuffs, and limiting your time spent outdoors.

2. Slipping

Slipping in warmer weather isn’t fun, but slipping in icy weather can be downright deadly. During this chilly season, the pavement – and even your truck’s running board – can be slick with ice, and that leads to the potential for real danger. When you slip on ice, it’s hard to control how hard and how gracefully you land, so the impact can be much worse, with bruises and cuts being minor complications and broken bones and concussions being the major issues to watch out for. If you fall and hit your head, remember to get it checked out immediately to rule out a concussion. Even if you don’t lose consciousness, you may still have a concussion! While sometimes slipping can be inevitable, watching closely where you place your feet when you get in and out of your cab and wearing slip-proof shoes or boots can help you keep upright and out of harm’s way!

3. Trench Foot

Trench foot occurs when your feet are exposed to freezing water for long periods of time. After some time, blisters can form on the feet, and you can even experience numbness, tingling, itching, wrinkly or blotchy skin, or pain when exposed to warmth. This can be avoided by immediately changing into clean, dry socks and switching boots if they get too drenched. Trench foot is a serious condition, so if you discover any of the signs or symptoms listed, make sure to check in with your primary care provider as soon as possible.

4. Illnesses

Since truck drivers spend so much of their time traveling all over the country, they are some of the first people to be exposed to viruses that are prevalent during the cold-weather months. But truckers can avoid getting ill by utilizing preventative measures like washing and sanitizing their hands properly, avoiding people who are obviously sick, disinfecting their trucks, and getting their recommended vaccinations. The flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccination are the most important vaccines to receive during winter when people are apt to be cooped up together and thus at a higher risk of spreading it amongst themselves. Keep yourself healthy and in good working order by making sure to take the time to get your flu shot and updated COVID-19 booster!

5. Depression

Yes, the winter blues are a real thing for all people, but it may be a little more serious than that—especially when combined with the isolation of the open road. If you’re experiencing prolonged, unshakeable sadness; lethargy; disinterest in things you normally love to do; or loss of concentration; you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is estimated to affect nearly 10 million Americans each year and is a type of depression that is brought on by the fall and winter seasons. Believed to occur due to the changes in serotonin and melatonin levels that disrupt your daily rhythms as the seasons change, SAD is serious. Getting adequate sleep, taking in more vitamin D, and exercising regularly can help ease symptoms of SAD, but you might need more intensive treatment such as light therapy, psychotherapy, or even medication to get it under control. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of depression, don’t delay: See a doctor ASAP. Your physician can help you get your depression in check—regardless of its origin. If you are experiencing an active crisis or have suicidal thoughts, call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline to be immediately connected to a trained mental health counselor that can help you right away.

 


Truck drivers keep our nation going, and we want to make sure you’re taking as good care of yourself as you do for those you serve! Learn more about ways to keep yourself healthy and safe by clicking here today.


 

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