Preventing Sun Damage as a Trucker

Truck driving is a difficult job – hauling a huge trailer while dealing with potentially hazardous weather, other drivers on the road, and long hours is tricky enough. However, there are some risks that come with the job that you might not consider. This summer, you’ll likely be feeling the sun through your windows – but all that sun exposure can be dangerous for your skin. This phenomenon is known as “truck driver face.” Sitting with your left side facing a window for hours a day for long periods of time can cause sun damage to your skin such as premature wrinkles, spots, and toughness. The risk increases for flatbed drivers, who spend time in the direct sunlight as they’re working. Even if you don’t mind the external effects, exposure to too much sun can also cause serious health issues like skin cancer. In this blog, we’re covering what you need to know about sun exposure and how you can protect yourself.

There are two types of UV rays that make up sunlight: UVA and UVB. UVA rays have a longer wavelength and are the cause of skin aging and skin cancers that originate deeper in the skin. UVB rays have a shorter wavelength, and cause more immediate damage such as sunburns. They both have their own dangers, and combined, can create serious health issues. You can learn more on skincancer.org. Here are some easy ways to protect your skin so you can prevent damage caused by UVA and UVB rays.
Sun damaged skin of a truck driver.

You can see this truck driver’s sun damage from sitting next to a window for 28 years. What a difference!

Sunscreen – This one is obvious, but sunscreen is the best way to protect yourself from the sun. Anything above SPF 30 should do the trick! Ideally, you should apply sunscreen to your face daily, even when the weather looks overcast. For flatbed drivers, it’s crucial to apply sunscreen when you’re spending time outside tarping and securing loads.

TimingAccording to the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), the sun is at its strongest from around 10 AM – 4 PM.  If you’re comfortable with it and your schedule allows, you could try avoiding these peak hours by driving in the late afternoon or during the night.  A bonus to driving at night – you’re likely to run into less traffic and will typically have an easier time finding parking once you’re ready to rest.

Keep Windows Up – It’s tempting to keep the windows down as you’re driving when the weather is nice. Go ahead and enjoy the weather but try not to have them down 100% of the time. Your side windows help block UVB rays from affecting your skin. So, while you’ll still need to watch out for UVA rays, preventing some damage is better than nothing!

Clothing – Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather, even when you’re in the truck. A hat and sunglasses will help keep your face and eyes protected. If you want to take it a step further, look for light weight long sleeve shirts and pants. This will keep your skin from being directly exposed to the sun, while still keeping you cool.

Be Observant – Make sure to keep an eye on your face and other parts of your body that are regularly exposed to the sun. If you notice anything peculiar, such as a spot that wasn’t there before, err on the side of caution and ask for a doctor’s opinion. Catching these early warning signs of skin conditions before they get too serious can be key to staying safe and could even save your life.

Staying aware of the causes and risks associated with sun damage and taking preventative measures can help lower your risk of harm from the sun, as you continue your journey on the road.  Preventing a disease is much easier than curing it, so make sure to follow these tips and ensure your safe travels. Make sun safety a priority and stay safe while you’re on the road this summer!

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