As a long-distance truck driver, you spend more time seated in your cab than anywhere else. An uncomfortable, insufficiently supportive seat can turn a long haul into a long nightmare. Moreover, your truck seat doesn’t just impact your comfort; it affects your overall health and how safely you drive. That’s why it’s so important to consider these tips on how to choose a semi-truck seat for long-distance trucking before you make your next run.
Health Implications of Truck Seats
Unfortunately, research over the past few decades has shown that sitting down for long periods of time can be bad for your health. But truckers don’t have a choice. The next best option is to get a seat that minimizes the impact of long-duration sitting.
A poorly constructed truck seat can cause a cascade of health issues, from back and neck pain to joint issues to problems with circulation. Uncomfortable seating can cause drivers to slouch. Poor posture in the seat can lead to spinal problems. Excess vibration can affect your back and legs.
When your back and neck hurt, you’ll be more susceptible to strains and sprains when performing the non-driving tasks associated with trucking, like securing loads and performing maintenance.
Safety Impact of Truck Seats
Uncomfortable seating with insufficient support can cause drivers to try to adjust their seat while driving, which is dangerous. It can also encourage reclining too far, impacting a driver’s ability to see the road over the dash.
Poor seating contributes to fatigue, which is always a danger for long-haul jobs. A quality seat can help drivers stay alert, making them safer on the road.
Factors To Consider When Buying a Semi-Truck Seat
Perhaps the most important factor in choosing a semi-truck seat for long-distance trucking is cushioning. A resilient cushion won’t compress and sag over time, providing the driver with comfort from the internal structure of the seat. Quality semi-truck seats include a cushion extender to support longer legs.
Remember that firmer cushions provide more support, and the cushioning will last longer compared to softer, more compressible cushions.
Beneath the seat lies the suspension. Your seat needs good air suspension that permits several inches of vertical adjustment, and that provides shock absorption. It also needs suspension that supports the seat through maximum fore-and-aft positioning. This “over center” suspension reduces fatigue.
Excess vibration affects your back and legs. Choose a seat built with technology designed to minimize vibration. Drivers unbothered by excess vibration over rough roads suffer less fatigue and the associated stops to recover.
Semi-truck seats should offer lumbar support that fits your spine. Adjustable lumbar support that fits your back improves posture and enhances comfort. Be sure to test out the lumbar support features of seats you are considering.
Not all drivers are “average” height. For those in the shorter or taller range, the length of the track that the seat travels on when moving fore or aft is important.
Isolators control the rocking motion that seats can have when accelerating or braking. Isolators reduce that rocking and the vibrations and jolting that can accompany it. A seat with an isolator allows the driver to secure the seat in its current position to inhibit the rocking motion.
Compare the seat’s suspension at its maximum height with the headroom in your cab, and calculate whether you’ll have enough headroom based on your height if you like to sit high. Headroom can be a critical factor in choosing a semi-truck seat for long-distance trucking. Your comfortable seat can become uncomfortable if you’re unable to adjust it to your liking.
Most semi-truck seats come with armrest, but are they fully adjustable? Consider how you like to rest your arms, how long your forearms are, and your typical hand position on the steering wheel. All these measurements may affect whether the armrest of the seat you’re thinking of buying will turn out to be as comfortable as you had hoped.
Heating and Cooling
Many seats feature built-in heating and cooling options. These can be a godsend when starting out on a cold morning, or when you fire up the engine after parking in the sun.
We’re not going to opine on the great cloth versus leather debate here. You have your own preferences, and that’s fine. Just be sure that the fabric you choose is made of quality materials and resists tears as much as possible. The same goes for leather; make sure it’s genuine, not a vinyl pretender.
When you find the perfect adjustments for your seat, a memory feature will retain them for you. Nothing is more frustrating than having to readjust all your settings every time you get in and out of your truck.
Your seat may boast all kinds of adjustable features, but if you can’t easily and safely find the controls, those bells and whistles won’t do you any good. The buttons and levers that control fore-and-aft motion, vertical positioning, recline, cushion extension, isolators, and climate control features must be easy to locate without taking your eyes off the road.
“Haptic technology” is the science of making things recognizable by touch. You may have noticed it as an option on your smartphone to let you know when you tap a key, but haptic technology on semi-truck seats is more sophisticated. It involves ergonomic placement of button and lever controls for seat adjustments, combined with the shape and feel of the control, so drivers can identify the buttons without taking their eyes off the road.
Buying a replacement semi-truck seat is a big decision. Your truck seat affects everything about your driving, from your comfort and safety to the safety of others on the road.
When it comes to aftermarket semi-truck seats, GRA-MAG has the right seat for you with all the best features to keep you comfortable and safe on the road.
If you love your current seat but need service parts, GRA-MAG also offers a broad selection of aftermarket replacement parts to keep your seat anchored and functioning as it should. Browse our collection and contact us with any questions you may have!