What Is Truck Driver Sun Damage and 7 Tips To Prevent It

What Is Truck Driver Sun Damage and 7 Tips To Prevent It

It's no secret that lots of sun damage the skin. Too much ultraviolet radiation from the sun has been tied to premature aging, more wrinkles, and a raised risk for potentially deadly skin cancer. Chronic UVA exposure can result in thickening of the skin's top layers, the epidermis and stratum corneum, and destruction of the skin's elastic fibers. 

Remember the viral truck driver picture from 2012 shared by the New England Journal of Medicine, where a 69-year-old man who drove a delivery truck for 28 years showed skin damage on the left side of his face? The truck driver took the brunt of the damage on the left side of his face because of his many hours behind the wheel. Here’s his picture below.

How does truck driver sun damage develop? 

As you drive a truck day after day, the right side of your face will be mostly shielded from the sun as the left begins to see frequent, if not constant, sun exposure. This leads to your left side aging more quickly, with signs of thickening skin, thick wrinkles, and premature aging.

The constant exposure to the sun that your face sees through the driver’s side window, along with some from the front windshield, is allowing the harsh rays to penetrate right into your skin’s top two layers. The sun is known to be harmful, and it emits two rays that can harm your health.

  • UVA: The UVA rays are often associated with tanning as they’re the ones that will change your skin’s color. However, don’t think that means they’re good for you. A sun tan is actually a direct result of skin damage. It’s your skin’s way of trying to protect itself by building up more melatonin in the skin.
  • UVB: The UVB rays are also dangerous, they’re the rays that actually cause sunburn, which is also a result of sun damage, and ultimately lead to the most harmful effects in your skin, like causing wrinkles and all the other signs that we generally associate with aging.

With all of this considered, the real question becomes: How can you prevent truck driver sun damager short of taking on a new career? Fortunately, modern tools and methods can help you stay young.

Preventing truck driver sun damage

Feeling the sun's warmth on your face might feel nice, but both UVA and UVB rays from the sun can cause skin problems and different kinds of skin cancer. This means it's important to avoid both types of rays. While you can't completely avoid them while you're working, you can do things to help reduce their effects and stop them from getting into your skin. Here are a few strategies to help you prevent truck driver sun damage.

1. Wear protective clothing

Protective clothing is an essential part of sun protection. It acts as a barrier against harmful UV radiation from the sun, shielding your skin from direct sunlight. 

Opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics that cover as much skin as possible when choosing clothing. Long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed trucker hats are excellent choices to provide maximum coverage. 

You can also look for clothing with a built-in ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) to further enhance your sun protection. UPF clothing is specially designed to block UV rays, providing an extra layer of defense against sun damage. So, when you're out in the sun, wear protective clothing to keep your skin safe and healthy.

2. Apply sunscreen

Using sunscreen is one of the best ways to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays. Look for broad-spectrum sunscreens with Anthelios SPF 60, as they can block UVA and UVB rays. This can help prevent skin damage and skin cancer. While no sunscreen can block all the rays, using one with SPF 45 can block 98% of them, and higher SPFs can block even more.

Even using sunscreen with SPF 30 can make a big difference. It would take you 30 times longer to get a sunburn or tan if you're wearing SPF 30 sunscreen than if you weren't wearing any protection. But it's best to use SPF 60 sunscreen, especially since truck drivers spend a lot of time in the sun, which increases the risk of skin damage over time.

UV damage can happen in just 15 minutes of sun exposure, so it's important to use sunscreen in the morning and reapply it at lunchtime. If you'll be outside a lot, sweating, or if your skin gets wet, you'll need to reapply it more often.

3. Use window tinting

Window tinting is a beneficial strategy for truck drivers to reduce sun exposure while on the road. In addition to direct exposure, sunlight can enter the truck through the windows, exposing drivers to harmful UV radiation. By installing window tinting or UV-protective film on truck windows, drivers can significantly reduce the penetration of UV rays. This measure acts as a barrier, minimizing sun exposure during long hours of driving. It is an effective way for drivers to safeguard their health while on the job, promoting sun safety and overall well-being.

However, in some countries using tinted windows is unlawful so make sure to study your laws before you opt for this strategy.

4. Seek shade

Seeking shade at a truck stop is a crucial sun protection measure for truck drivers to minimize direct sun exposure during breaks or rest periods. Whenever possible, drivers should park their trucks in shaded areas, such as under trees or in covered parking lots, to reduce UV exposure while taking breaks from driving. Natural shade provides effective protection against harmful UV rays, helping to lower the risk of sun damage to the skin. When natural shade is unavailable, drivers can use sunshades or umbrellas to create shade near the truck when parking in open areas. These portable shade options offer additional protection from the sun's rays, allowing drivers to rest comfortably without overexposure to sunlight. 

5. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is really important for truck drivers when they're out on the road for a long time, especially when it's hot outside. When you sweat a lot, you lose water from your body, so drinking plenty of water helps keep you hydrated and prevents you from getting dehydrated. This is important because being dehydrated can worsen the sun's effects and increase your risk of getting sick from the heat. Plus, drinking enough water is good for your skin and helps keep it healthy, which is important when you're exposed to the sun a lot. So, make sure to drink water regularly throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty, to stay healthy and comfortable while driving.

6. Take breaks

Taking breaks during long drives is crucial for truck drivers to stay safe and healthy on the road. These breaks allow drivers to rest, hydrate, and protect themselves from the sun. When drivers take breaks, they can find shade from the sun's rays, reapply sunscreen to prevent sunburn, and adjust their clothing to cover up more skin. By taking breaks, drivers can also reduce fatigue and feel more alert and focused while driving. This helps prevent accidents and ensures a smoother and safer journey for everyone on the road. 

7. Educate others

Educating others about sun safety is essential for promoting a culture of sun protection among truck drivers. By raising awareness about the risks of truck driver sun damage and sharing preventive strategies, drivers can help their peers understand the importance of protecting themselves from harmful UV rays. Encouraging regular skin checks for early detection of skin cancer is also crucial for ensuring early treatment and better outcomes. By working together to prioritize sun safety, drivers can create a safer and healthier environment for everyone on the road. 

Sun-smart takeaway

In conclusion, prioritizing sun safety is important for truck drivers, given their prolonged exposure to the sun's rays while on the road. Implementing proactive measures mentioned in this article can help save truck driver sun damage and promote overall well-being and longevity. As drivers prioritize sun safety, they pave the way for safer and healthier journeys on the open road, ensuring they can continue delivering goods and services while safeguarding their health against the sun's relentless rays.

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Road Legends Team

Post created: March 19 ,2024

Post updated: March 19 ,2024