The transportation industry can be a difficult industry to navigate because of all the odds that are already stacked against it—weather changes, distance, poor roads (in some cases), and hard to remember traffic rules. Staying safe on the road can be hard, but here are a few tips that can help you have a better experience on the road.
1. Wear a protective earpiece.
One risk of being on the road too long is that you may develop hearing problems, such as tinnitus. Tinnitus is a persistent or occasional buzzing, roaring, ringing, or hissing sound felt in the ear. There are two types of tinnitus, subjective tinnitus, and objective tinnitus. With subjective tinnitus, the tinnitus patient is the only one who can hear the perception of tinnitus, while with objective tinnitus, other people can also hear the tinnitus sounds.
While the cause of tinnitus is not yet known, certain risk factors can predispose an individual to develop this condition. Some common causes of tinnitus include exposure to loud noise, old age, earwax buildup, whiplash, and reactions to medication—to mention a few. Being on the road can lead to increased exposure to loud noise, which is why truckers have an elevated risk of developing tinnitus.
Continued exposure to loud sounds can damage the auditory nerve cells whose work it is to carry sound to the brain. Due to to the nature of their work, truckers are at a higher risk for noise-induced hearing loss, and those effects are permanent. Loud noise also puts them at risk for developing tinnitus symptoms, and in most cases, tinnitus is a symptom of impending hearing loss.
While there is still no cure for tinnitus, the American Tinnitus Association recommends the following remedies for tinnitus symptoms.
- Hearing aids are special electronic hearing devices that amplify ambient noise to the tinnitus sufferer by using their in-built amplifier, microphone, and speaker. In most cases, tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss. As a result of this, hearing aids help reduce the perception of tinnitus by helping the auditory nerve process sound frequencies.
- Sound therapy
- Tinnitus retraining therapy
- Holistic approaches like acupuncture and hypnosis work as a complement to traditional medication to provide tinnitus relief, although these methods are speculative and need further research. In addition, natural remedies such as ginkgo Biloba to be have been found to be effective in providing tinnitus relief.
- Sound masking devices work to drown out the tinnitus sound by playing ambient noise. Masking the perception of tinnitus means that they create an external sound that feels louder than the tinnitus sound in the ear.
Tinnitus symptoms can affect the quality of life of tinnitus sufferers. Some of the things truckers can do to avoid this include limiting their exposure to intense noise by keeping their windows closed and reducing the volume on their stereos. Where possible, make the area around your motor engine, brakes, and gearbox soundproof by padding it with sound absorbent material. Additionally, you can wear earplugs to shield your ears from noise exposure alarms and other machinery, especially at truck stops.
2. Ensure your fleet meets the ELD requirements.
An electronic logging device (ELD) is a device that records a driver’s worked hours. ELDs are often attached to commercial vehicles to ensure that drivers adhere to the Hours of Service (HOS) which are stipulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which oversees the transportation industry in the United States.
A master ELD takes care of truckers on the road by ensuring that truckers are not overworked by putting in more hours than they are allowed to, legally. This protects drivers as it eliminates fatigue, which is a common cause of fatal road accidents that result from collisions. Additionally, HOS allows drivers to take wholesome breaks, sleep longer, all while eliminating the tedious process of having to log their worked hours and distance traveled manually.
3. Avoid abrupt lane-splitting.
Lane-splitting is a common cause of road accidents in the United States. This is because when most motorists do this, they typically fail to signal other drivers. Trucks are bigger vehicles and, as a result, are more likely to have blindspots. No matter how vigilant the next motorist may seem, always signal if you really need to switch lanes.