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How truckers can stay safe on roads teeming with risks

How does your driving career stack up in terms of safety?

Trucking is a truly noble profession, but it's also a hazardous one. Although truck drivers have unique, interesting jobs, they're also some of the most at-risk workers in the United States.

The facts about trucking risks

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, work-related incidents killed more truckers than professionals from any other field. From accidents caused by improperly maintained equipment to collisions with other vehicles, the danger is hard to deny.

Most people understand the risks associated with jobs that involve driving large vehicles. What you may not know is that accidents aren't the only problems that truckers have to overcome.

One 2014 CDC survey revealed that commercial drivers commonly suffer from chronic diseases such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep disorders. Truckers are also twice as likely to suffer from obesity or smoking habits. Lifestyle circumstances related to making long-haul trips may worsen such problems.

Driving is just one risk factor among many. Countless truckers also perform loading and unloading tasks. For some, these are daily activities. Repetitive lifting may contribute to back, limb, shoulder and other musculoskeletal injuries, which are known risks for truckers.

Reducing your risk of illness and injury

Truck drivers may be able to reduce the likelihood of certain accidents by maintaining healthier habits. For instance, sticking to shift length limitations can help combat fatigue. Some truckers even use breathing devices to improve the quality of their sleep so they're more capable of driving.

Truckers should also take active roles in inspecting their vehicle systems. By performing routine maintenance on brakes and other components, responsible drivers may lower the chances of fatal failures.

Lifestyle changes

When it comes to chronic diseases and work-related injuries, truckers need to be proactive about their health. Regular exercise (in consultation with your doctor) and a healthy diet can drastically reduce your risk of major health problems. For those at risk of lifting injuries, it's critical to use proper form. Investing in low-cost medical equipment, such as a back brace, could also help counter some of the stresses associated with loading and lifting.

Truckers who put their health and safety first can enjoy rewarding careers while reducing their risk of injury and illness.

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