Physical and Chemical Hazards of Driving

Is Driving Really Bad for you?

It wouldn’t seem that sitting in a moving vehicle would be hazardous to your health, however
  • After a long drive to the cottage, are you stiff as soon as you get out of the car?
  • Does your whole body feel exhausted after driving the truck all day?
  • Is lifting suitcases from the trunk of your taxi harder on your back after driving your fare across town?
  • Do you feel like you need a couple of minutes to stretch out your back after driving the forklift for the whole afternoon?
  • Are your neck and shoulders sore after long drives?
These are symptoms you would feel from exposure to the ergonomic risk factors of driving. If you work in a job where driving a vehicle is a major activity, you are encountering these risk factors every day. If you do not protect yourself, the health of your spine could deteriorate, possibly leading to chronic back pain in later months or years. This pamphlet informs you of the ergonomic risks from driving, and provides you with a few simple but important safety tips to help keep you healthy.

Physical Hazards

Common Problems associated with Frequent Driving
  • Neck, back and shoulder pain
  • Cramps, pressure points and poor circulation in the legs and buttocks
  • Immediately after driving, there is an increased chance of low back injury from lifting
  • Long-term potential for degeneration of spinal discs and disc herniation

Who is at Risk?

  • Truck Drivers
  • Paramedics
  • Heavy Equipment Operators
  • Taxi and Limousine Drivers
  • Bus Drivers
  • Forklift Operators
  • Farmers (driving tractors and combines)
  • Delivery people and Courier Service people
  • Travelling Sales people
  • Anyone who drives for long periods of time on a regular basis
Chronic back and neck injuries from driving are caused by two main risk factors:
  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Whole-body vibration
These risk factors often act together, creating an increased risk of chronic back injury.