Lather Up the Sunblock – Yes, Truckers Need It Too
Every day, 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States. It is, by far, the most common cancer in our nation, with more than 5 million cases diagnosed across 3 million people in 2012. The rate of melanomas, for example, has more than doubled since 1982. This is largely due to tanning salons, but excess time in the sun without protection always puts you at risk.
When truckers hit the road, they’re shielded by the cab of their trucks, so sun protection isn’t always prime consideration, but it should be.
Why You Need Protection
Even though truck cabs can reduce exposure to UV rays, they won’t protect drivers completely. The powerful light from the sun can beam through the windows and wreak serious havoc on a driver’s skin. This is especially true for drivers who spend a lot of time in particularly flat and sunny areas where there are no shadows over the road.
Fortunately, it’s easy to protect yourself against sun exposure and skin cancer. Planning ahead and paying attention will help truckers keep their skin safe for years to come. If you are a trucker concerned about skin safety, you should:
- Keep sunscreen in your truck and use it. It might be weird at first to apply sunscreen every day, but, if you are consistent, it will become a part of your routine. Don’t fall for this myth: The higher the SPF, the more protection. Research has shown that SPF 15, 30, and 45 block 94%, 97%, and 98% of harmful UV rays, respectively. Sunscreens that boast 80% to 100% protection are a waste of money.
- Wear sunglasses when it’s bright. While skin cancer is the most pressing threat, your eyes can take damage from too many UV rays as well. Even if your windows are slightly tinted, it might be a good idea to invest in some nice polarized sunglasses – they will protect your corneas and the delicate skin around your eyes.
- Plan around the sun when possible If you have a flexible schedule, try taking your loads at night or after the sun has set. You’ll have a lot less exposure and likely see less crowded roadways. The Trucker Tan aside from the health risks associated with sun exposure, you could end up with something else unpleasant – a trucker’s tan. Long hours with your mid and lower arms exposed by your T-shirt could leave a pale silhouette behind. Trucker’s tans aren’t that serious, but they can be a bit embarrassing when your shirt’s off. To prevent the trucker tan, slather on the sunscreen. It’s an effective way to avoid a tan while getting important protection. If you do prefer a little color, wear tank tops instead of t-shirts – just plan on increasing the area of your sunscreen. This will give you some more flexibility with clothing and you may find them more comfortable to drive in. Whether you’re avoiding cancer or just a ghostly shirt tan, be proactive about your UV protection while on the road.