Despite the advantages of driving a truck for a living, you cannot deny that your job is one of the most dangerous to have, especially if you are a long-haul trucker. While you probably do not start your day worrying whether you are going to get hurt, it is prudent to be aware of some of the most common ways in which truckers are injured every day and what you can do if you are hurt on the job.
Your job requires more than driving. You may load and unload your trailer, perform maintenance, and make repairs on your vehicle. Any of these can result in injury to your back, your knees, your arms or hands. Using the right tools for the job and remaining aware of your surroundings may reduce the risk, but your greatest risks occur when you are operating your vehicle.
Avoiding common dangers
Some of the most common non-fatal injuries truck drivers suffer on the road include the following:
- Permanent back injuries from prolonged sitting
- Joint injuries from the heavy vibrations of the truck
- Vision damage from driving for hours in bright sunlight
- Illnesses related to poor nutrition and lack of exercise, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity
- Mental health issues like depression from long hours of isolation
However, the most obvious and deadly risk a truck driver takes each day is involvement in a traffic accident. You likely drive at any time of day or night and in any type of weather. Alaska weather can be unpredictable and brutal at any time of year, making driving conditions treacherous. Add this to the negligence of another driver or faulty maintenance on your rig, and you may be facing serious or life-threatening injuries.
What you can do
You can take some matters into your own hands to protect yourself from injury on the road. Always follow federal rules for rest breaks. Fatigue is a common contributor to traffic accidents, especially those involving trucks. You can also check weather conditions for your route and prepare to slow down if conditions deteriorate. Finally, it is wise to expect that drivers of smaller vehicles will not respect you on the road. Remaining calm and leaving room for impatient drivers may save your life.
However, if you do suffer injuries on the job, you have the right to claim compensation through your employer's insurance. This can be complex and confusing, but you should not fear seeking quality advice from an attorney. Alaska is the only state in which your opponent, not you, pays your workers' comp legal fees.