It is comfortable riding down the road in an 18 wheeler. On a nice day, with the window down, it’s relaxing to sit back and bask in the warmth of the sun. It kind of just makes you feel good. A little bit of sunlight can do that…bring out the best in us. As much as we love beautiful, warm days, we must also take a little bit of precaution while driving around the countryside. A study conducted by the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology a few years ago revealed that areas like the left upper arm are vulnerable to a couple of deadly types of skin cancer, especially while driving with an open window.
According to the American Cancer Society, “The amount of UV exposure a person gets depends on the strength of the rays, the length of time the skin is exposed, and whether the skin is protected… People who live in areas with year-round, bright sunlight have a higher risk of skin cancer. Spending a lot of time outdoors for work or recreation without protective clothing and sunscreen increases your risk.”
To help keep you safe, be aware when driving and keep these thoughts from the Cancer Society in mind:
Season: UV rays are stronger during SPRING and SUMMER months.
Location: UV exposure goes down as you get further from the equator and more UV rays reach the ground at higher elevations.
UV Rays Reflect off of Surfaces: UV rays can bounce off surfaces like water, sand, snow, pavement, or grass, increasing exposure.
UV Rays are present, even on a cloudy day.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when you consider that long-term exposure can cause aging, wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, dark patches and pre-cancerous skin changes (such as dry, scaly, rough patches called actinic keratosis). The sun also causes an increased risk of cataracts and certain other eye problems.
Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from the sun all day while you’re in your cab:
Install a UV shield.
Wear Big Sunglasses. UV rays can also damage your eyes, even causing cancer. As a driver, your eyes are one of your most important assets.
Wear a Hat with a Wide Brim.
Get the new App!!
The National Weather Service and the EPA developed the UV Index to help people understand the strength of UV light in their area on a given day. It lets people know, on a scale from 1 to 11+, about their risk of exposure. The higher the number, the greater the risk of sunburn and skin damage. The UV Index is reported across the country. For additional information, visit the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html.
Smartphone apps are available from the EPA at www.epa.gov/enviro/mobile