They say the Tokyo Auto Salon is the SEMA Show of Japan. I am not one to disagree, especially after experiencing it firsthand. The enthusiasm surrounding Japan’s largest aftermarket automotive event is unmistakably genuine, the scale of the event itself is staggering, and the number of custom-built vehicles on display and trade booths is impressive.
Ask any Japanese aftermarket tuning shop or custom car crafter about what goes into attending Japan’s largest car show, and you will likely hear tales of sleepless nights turning wrenches. Working around the clock, right up until it is time to leave for the show is pretty much a prerequisite, which for those in the know, sure sounds a whole lot like SEMA prep.
But the two shows differ dramatically when you observe the vehicles on display – especially in various 4×4, pickup truck, SUV and overlanding segments. Save for Jeep, “The Detroit 3” are virtually non-existent in Japan, at least from a new vehicle procurement standpoint.
Fortunately, those in search of capable and clever work truck practicality, slick SUV styling or focused 4×4 prowess have a wide array of Japanese offerings to choose from, both in stock trim and modified form.
So, let’s take a quick stroll through some of the standouts from Tokyo Auto Salon 2022, and get the skinny on what this SEMA of Japan is all about, for it did not disappoint.
This Kei Truck camper van conversion from Car Factory Tarbow features hardwood flooring, a quaint kitchen, and a microscopic wood-burning stove. The perfect 4×4 weekend adventure vehicle for those who are slight of stature, and favor the tones of home wherever they roam.
We kick things off with the obvious, and perhaps most misunderstood automobile in the Japanese automotive portfolio: The Kei Truck. Go ahead and giggle. Their diminutive size, blocky design and unimpressive engine output figures for the average Japanese pickup truck border on laughable when compared to the average American pickup, as even the Ford Maverick dwarfs these micro machines.
But where it lacks in power, towing capacity and size, the Japanese pickup more than makes up for in practicality and packaging. Sporting a cab-over configuration for increased visibility and shorter overhangs, these tiny trucks are all about obtaining tight turning radiuses and retaining the ability to traverse trails typically reserved for ATVs.
With their full fold-out bed walls (yes, all three sides flip down 180-degrees and utilize simple locking latches), reliable and extremely efficient engines, surprisingly capable 4×4 chops and brilliant compartmentalization to utilize dead space, the Japanese pickup is more akin to an ATV with AC than a work vehicle.
TAS 2022 was packed with both practical and playful pickups. From camper conversions and work vehicles to prototypes and historic Kei Trucks all making their presence known. Speaking of classic vehicles, it was Daihatsu that stole the show this year in the Kei Truck category, with each generation of the wildly popular HiJet work and transit vehicle standing on display at its booth.
Striking the perfect balance between retro and rugged, this Jimny from Outclass Cars/Suzuki Complete stood out as a clear 4×4 favorite at Tokyo Auto Salon. Note the brake conversion, rear spare tire delete kit, and custom snorkel, all of which are new to the chassis.
Suzuki Jimny fever burns hotter than ever
On the hardcore, 4×4 focused side of the show, there was plenty to choose from at TAS this year, especially for Suzuki Jimny enthusiasts. Due to its retro external styling, impressive off-road capabilities, and brilliantly packaged interior, the latest version of the defunct “Samurai” remains a crowd favorite for fans of custom 4×4 rigs.
Standout examples of this Suzuki SUV at TAS 2022 begin with a baby blue Jimny from Outclass Cars/Suzuki Complete, a vehicle that I have personally taken off-road on Japan’s longest public 4×4 trail. While I did not need to utilize every upgrade within Outclass’ catalog during that trip, how the brand’s aftermarket suspension, steel bumpers, skid plates, and sidestep sliders functioned proved to be top-notch in both function and form.
For TAS this year, the brakes on the SUV were upgraded with a larger AP Racing setup out front, as well as a rear disc conversion in the back. These brake mods, along with a one-off snorkel, MG alloy wheels wrapped in 245/75/R16 Toyo Open Country M/T tires, and a slick rear spare tire carrier delete kit rounded out Outclass Cars’ Jimny build beautifully.
Another standout was an older-gen Jimny that had been converted into a short bed rock crawler, complete with a four-wheel-steering setup, exoskeleton and an insane amount of metal fabrication. All of the imperfections and heavily worn interior clearly illustrate that this rig is still being routinely used off-road, too, earning this build even more cool points in my book. Further enforcing this favoritism was the fact that the builders had opted to adorn the entire transmission tunnel with a sparkly vinyl wrap that appeared to be infused with unicorn cocaine.
Moving from one hall to another, I encountered everything from turbocharged versions of the Jimny, clad almost entirely in carbon fiber, to miniature Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen look-alikes. There was also a hefty sprinkling of mildly built, but tastefully done builds, many of which relied upon retro aesthetic upgrades over off-road agility.
But the last Jimny I encountered was anything but vintage looking. This tank of a creation was crafted by none other than N’s Limited, a vehicle that looked all the world like a villain’s ride in a 007 flick. Standing head and shoulders above everything else at the brand’s booth, this heavily armored, turbocharged and tastefully adorned dark gray overlander was easily the most hardcore Jimny I have ever encountered in person. Fuel efficiency and rollover safety concerns be damned. A Jimny of this caliber does not come along every day, even over here in Japan.
This duo of heavily modified Toyota RAV4 crossovers from NEXUS Japan were hands down two of the most impressive and practical overlanding rigs at the entire show. Pity that they were located in such a remote booth, or they would have surely seen a lot more love.
Up close with the brilliant and bizarre
Steering away from the Jimny lovefest, I began my search for all things 4×4 SUV and truck-related, along with anything having to do with the adorable and downright unorthodox. Being that this is Japan, I did not have to look very far, with one of the most practical and pleasant surprises of the entire show arriving courtesy of a chassis that we can actually get back in America.
Kyushu-based 4×4 shop, NEXUS Japan, brought out not one, but two of its heavily modified Toyota RAV4 Adventure grade crossovers. Tucked way back in the furthest corner of Hall 10, these vehicles did not receive nearly as much attention as they deserved that weekend, which is a pity considering how well-executed both builds were from both an aesthetic and performance standpoint.
While the steel bull guard bumper on the lighter colored RAV4 “had me at hello,” the flush bug diffuser, tasteful rocker panel and rear quarter protectors, multi-tiered over-fenders and rooftop marker lights on the darker CUV made it the real head-turner.
Overlanding roof racks with rear ladders, cantilever rear tire and trailer hitches, side-mounted jerry cans, Delta Force wheels, custom sequential LED tail lights, hidden flush-mount winches and recovery gear. NEXUS Japan made sure that it was all there and then some. The only issue is, would Americans modify a RAV4 into an off-road overlanding vehicle?
Overlanding camper vans were also in abundant supply at Tokyo Auto Salon this year, with a vehicle from Car Factory Tarbow being one of the more memorable. Instead of doing the whole rooftop tent conversion thing like everyone else, the Kei truck conversion shop decided to create a cozy cabin glamping experience for overlanders in the bed of the truck. Adorable doesn’t even come close to describing this strange little 4×4 machine.
Back in the main building, I found myself strolling around the exterior of a Land Rover Defender at the Black Rhino booth, which had clearly drawn its inspiration from Stormtrooper armor. As I admired all of the practical accouterments spread across its armored exterior, with the company’s multi-piece, throwback white wheels earning a thumbs-up, something else caught my eye.
It was an old CJ Mitsubishi Willys Jeep that had been converted into a beach cruiser, and from the looks of it, this little machine’s builders had taken things to the extreme.
Mitsubishi and Willy’s may have collaborated to make the Japanese Jeep a reality for numerous decades, but they probably never expected to see the platform turn into a bona fide beach cruiser.
Lifted to the max, with double strut suspension, fully adjustable shackles, a rebuilt and upgraded turbocharged motor, LED headlamps, poly bushings, and one slick resto-mod interior, this convertible remained a crowd favorite throughout the duration of the show. Unfortunately, the vehicle’s owner confesses that the build turned out entirely too beautiful, so his “Jeep-ubishi’s” life consists of little more than car shows – and the occasional cruise down to the beach for a dash of dune crawling.
Sitting directly beside that monster of an underutilized Mitsubishi build, was one of the most unusual and enjoyable trucks I have ever seen in person. It was a Daihatsu Midget Kei car that had been converted into a hauler, and holy crap was this one kick-ass purple project.
Although the hood flames, vertical stacks and chromed-out truck mirrors may not be for everyone, you’ve got to give the team of guys who built this miniature machine kudos for creativity and for making everything functional. With its fully operational air brake system, double-dually rear roller configuration reinforced and extended frame, and meticulously crafted gooseneck trailer, this purple pipsqueak of a semi was an absolute hoot to discover.
And then there was the all-electric “T-Box” 4×4 mini CUV from KG Motors, which at first glance looked like it had been crafted from an old Honda Acty van or something, but in actuality, was 100% built from scratch from the ground up. This team of talented engineers may specialize in automotive battery production (that’s right, they design and build all of their own PEV batteries in-house), but their true passion is outdoor adventure, which is what led to the development of the T-Box Proto.
Outfitted with independent electric motors on all four wheels, angled coilover suspension with adjustable panhard bars front and rear, undercarriage shielding, and one of the most adorable roof racks you’ll ever encounter, this primer gray build received a ton of press coverage at TAS 2022.
According to KG Motors, consumer interest in Japan has grown so great that there is talk of the brand taking the T-Box Proto to production levels in the near future. But first, a dash of 4×4 fun must continue to be implemented, as the team takes the tiny prototype wheelin’ every chance they get for both testing and enjoyment purposes.
The Japanese don’t care about towing capacity, as they prefer to load everything into the bed or atop a roof carrier rack. Long wheelbases and wide stances are undesirable as well, as navigating twisting mountain passes and narrow trails between rice paddies require a tiny footprint.
The bottom line on the Tokyo Auto Salon
Event complete, I loaded up my gear and hopped back on the interstate, a long 8-hour drive ahead of me, and a skull full of thoughts to keep me company.
After three days of wandering the expanses of all 11 halls at the Makuhari Messe arena in Chiba City outside of Tokyo, I finally felt like I had begun to develop an understanding of what the Tokyo Auto Salon was all about.
Yes, it is safe to say that TAS is indeed the SEMA of Japan, both in overall scale and aftermarket originality. However, unlike SEMA, which is both outdoors and indoors, the size constraints of TAS keep it from feeling overwhelming or too frenzied. It’s a borderline over-the-top weekend event that holds back just enough to keep the average automotive enthusiast in their comfort zone.
But perhaps the most important aspect of this entire adventure for me was the wide array of conversations I had with the individuals behind many of these machines. It is their stories, setbacks, passions, and automotive aspirations that keep the lifeblood flowing within the Tokyo Auto Salon year after year, and for a brief moment there, I finally felt like I was beginning to understand Japanese car culture.
It was a feeling that would soon dissolve, as a slammed dually dump truck with purple LED lights and an engraved chrome bed blasted past us on the interstate, the fumes from its heart-shaped side-port exhaust anointing our vehicle with diesel excrement. Sigh. There is still so much I have yet to learn about this wacky and wonderful land I now call home.
Engineered from the ground up with adventure in mind, Micah Wright is a high-octane, outdoor-oriented slab of restomod American muscle. Built for performance, with reliability as an afterthought, Micah's automotive writing and photography systems have seen infinite amounts of testing and fine-tuning for your "infotainment" over the past dozen years. Outside of Pickup Truck Talk, you can find Micah's ramblings in publications like MotorTrend, Autoweek, Super Street, LSX Magazine, 95Octane.com, and a slew of other web-based platforms. When he's not out exploring a mountain trail behind his home in rural southern Japan, you can find Micah smoking wild game on his offset BBQ smoker, as he sips on crude and puffs Honduran tobacco, forever contemplating his next automotive upgrade.
May it be a truck, SUV, crossover, or subcompact, shipping cars overseas can be an overwhelming task. But with the proper preparation and guidance, the process can be hassle-free and secure. Whether you’re relocating, selling a vehicle, or want to bring your vehicle along for an extended vacation, this guide is tailored for you. So dive in and discover all of the invaluable insights and tips to ensure a smooth and worry-free journey for you and your automobile. Key takeaways: ● Researching and selecting the right car shipping company is crucial for a hassle-free experience. ● There are different shipping methods available, such as consolidated vehicle shipping, sole container shipping, and RORO shipping, each with its pros and cons. ● Understanding the cost factors and researching prices will help you find the best shipping option for your budget. ● Considering insurance coverage is essential to protect your vehicle during transit. Differences between car shipping companies and agents When shipping your car internationally, selecting the right shipping agent and a shipping company with expertise in overseas vehicle transport is essential. Here, we’ve got some friendly pointers to help you choose. Shipping companies own and operate ships, providing maritime transportation services for goods. They are responsible for the vessels and their crew, ensuring the ships are maintained, stocked, and operated safely. These companies not only offer transportation services but also determine the optimal routes and schedules. On the other hand, shipping agents act as intermediaries or representatives for the ship owner or operator within a specific port. Their role is multifaceted: they manage essential services a ship requires upon arriving at a port, such as arranging pilotage, coordinating tug services, liaising with port authorities, and handling cargo documentation. Shipping agents also ensure all port duties and fees are settled and might coordinate bunkering or provisions for the ship. Additionally, shipping agents assist with customs clearances and can arrange for repairs or maintenance when necessary. How to choose the right shipping company and agent ● Research Potential Companies and Agents: Start by researching and comparing different shipping agents. Look for reviews and ratings online, and ask for recommendations from friends and family members who have shipped their cars overseas. Make a list of potential shipping agents and compare their services, pricing, and reputation. ● Check for Credentials and Licensing: Ensure that the shipping company and agent are licensed by relevant authorities. For maritime agents in the US, for example, check with the Federal Maritime Commission. ● Obtain Multiple Quotes: Price is a factor, but it shouldn’t be the only one. However, getting multiple quotes helps you understand the market rate and ensures you get value for money. Ensure the quotes cover all costs so there are no hidden fees later. ● Insurance and Liability: Ensure the company has appropriate insurance coverage to protect your goods. Understand the terms of their liability and the process for claims should any damage or loss occur. In addition, you should pay attention to their customer service. Because effective communication is vital. The company or agent should be responsive to your queries. Consider their problem-solving approach. Issues can arise in shipping, but how they’re handled that counts. Furthermore, companies and agents with a long-standing presence in the industry are often more reliable. They’ve encountered and overcome a variety of challenges over time. Forms and documentations Before shipping your car overseas, it’s crucial to determine the required documents to avoid unnecessary tasks. Essential documents typically include a bill of lading, which details your shipment specifics, a certificate of origin, and a commercial invoice. Different countries have different regulations on importing and exporting cars. It is crucial to research the regulations for the country you are shipping to and from, making sure your car meets the requirements. Shipping methods for transporting cars overseas Shipping a car overseas requires careful consideration of how it’ll be transported. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice depends on factors like your budget, urgency, and concern for your vehicle’s protection. The best method for you hinges on what you prioritize more. If you’re seeking a balance, consolidated shipping might be the answer. If you want the quickest and most secure option, a sole container could be the way. For those on a tighter budget, RORO could work wonders. ● Consolidated Vehicle Shipping This is the most commonly used method. 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Cost of shipping vehicles overseas Before shipping your car overseas, it’s essential to understand the cost involved and conduct thorough cost research to ensure you get the best deal. Shipping a car internationally can be a significant investment, and by understanding the factors that influence the cost, you can make informed decisions and avoid any unexpected expenses. Factors that affect cost The cost of shipping a car overseas can vary depending on several crucial factors: ● Distance from your home to a major seaport: If you live far from a sea terminal, you may need to hire a local auto shipper to transport your car to the nearest shipping dock. The cost of this transportation will depend on your location and the size of your vehicle. ● Distance to the destination country: The distance to […]
In the dynamic world of automotive excellence, few brands capture the essence of reliability, versatility, and durability quite like Toyota. As one of the leading global automobile manufacturers, Toyota consistently produces a lineup of vehicles catering to a wide range of needs and preferences. Take used Toyota SUVs for example. For decades, these vehicles have embodied all manner of automotive engineering creativity. By offering a blend of comfort, performance and utility, Toyota has earned legions of devout drivers. In this article we will explore the world of used Toyota SUVs, examine their features, benefits and the reasons behind their enduring popularity. Toyota: A legacy of excellence Toyota’s reputation for producing high-quality vehicles has been cultivated since the first FJ Land Cruiser rolled off the assembly line in Japan. Renowned for its commitment to precision engineering and rigorous quality control, the Toyota of today consistently ranks high in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys. This legacy of excellence extends to the brand’s SUV lineup, thus making used Toyota SUVs a compelling choice for individuals seeking reliable and versatile vehicles. Reliability: A pillar of Toyota SUV design One of the primary reasons why used Toyota SUVs are in such high demand is their legendary reliability. Toyota has long been associated with producing vehicles that can withstand the test of time and it is this reliability that often causes people to only buy Toyota vehicles. Not only does reliability offer peace of mind to drivers and contributes to a lower cost of ownership over the vehicle’s lifespan, but the prospect of a Toyota SUV that can deliver years of trouble-free driving is quite enticing when considering a used SUV. 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With seating for up to eight people, the Highlander is an ideal choice for families and those who frequently carpool. The available three-row seating configuration ensures that everyone has ample legroom and headspace, contributing to a comfortable and enjoyable ride. Toyota RAV4 As a compact crossover SUV brimming with practicality, efficiency and dependability, the Toyota RAV4 earned its place as a staple in the automotive market years ago. For those seeking a used SUV for various needs, the Toyota RAV4 is an exceptional choice. Just look up any used Toyota Philadelphia posting online, and you will find the following features and advantages. The Toyota RAV4’s design strikes a harmonious balance between sleek aesthetics and practical functionality. Its compact dimensions make it well-suited for urban environments, allowing you to effortlessly navigate city streets and tight parking spaces. 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Its high ground clearance, available four-wheel-drive systems and advanced traction control make it well-equipped for off-road adventures, regardless as to whether you’re […]
If you are injured in a collision, one of the first things you will want to do is file a case against the driver who is at fault. This allows you to recover compensation for your injuries and any damages done. Unfortunately, getting the compensation you deserve post-collision is not always as simple as filing paperwork with the court and asking for money. You will need to prove any damages you have sustained as a result of the crash to get maximum compensation. The question is, how do you prove your damages to the court so that you may get compensation? In this post, we discuss the types of compensation you may be eligible for as well as the types of evidence that are needed to prove those damages in court. What types of damages can be claimed? There are two types of damages that a victim can claim in their case and a third type of damages that may be sometimes awarded by the court. Financial damages The most basic type of damages that you may sue a person for after a car crash are financial losses associated with the collision. Also called economic damages, these damages can cover a great many things. It’s important to think long and hard and consider all possibilities when determining your financial losses. The most common financial damages that are claimed include medical bills and expenses related to injuries. This may include medical equipment, transportation to the doctor or rehab, prescriptions, home healthcare, and other specialized treatments or services. Other considerations include loss of property, such as vehicle damage or loss of belongings due to the collision. Lost wages and time off work may also be considered as recoverable financial damage. Legal fees and travel expenses are included in the list as well. Emotional damages Emotional damages are different from financial damages in that they do not correlate to lost property or wages as a result of the crash. Instead, they focus on the pain and suffering endured as a result of the incident. This includes the struggles that a person undergoes during recovery as well as the strain it puts on their relationships, potential loss of intimacy between family and friends, and other types of emotional distress. Some victims require counseling and suffer from issues like fear and anxiety or even PTSD after a car crash. If the person documents these issues and seeks help for them, it is possible to claim these types of damages as well. “It can be even more difficult – though not impossible – to prove a claim that is being brought for emotional distress alone, without an accompanying physical injury,” note accident lawyers at Vanguard Attorneys. Punitive damages The final type of damage is awarded by the court in cases where the collision is found to be excessively negligent or malicious on behalf of the at-fault party. In other words, the person who caused the crash either did so on purpose or was so negligent in their actions that they caused undue harm to those around them. These damages are above and beyond the award given to the victim and are decided upon by the judge upon hearing the case. While the victim cannot request these damages, they can potentially prove the at-fault party was malicious or negligent if that was the case. How to prove your case, post-impact Proving damages can vary greatly, depending on whether they are financial or emotional. Financial damages are fairly straightforward. Providing bills, receipts, check stubs, travel tickets, bank statements or other forms of evidence that document the costs incurred will be sufficient to prove to the court the costs and losses suffered. If you have a large number of expenses your lawyer may be able to assist with gathering evidence or may suggest you involve a financial professional to keep all of your records together until your case goes to court. Emotional damages are a bit more difficult to prove because these losses are not tangible and difficult to assign a monetary value to. One thing to do is keep a diary of experiences, emotions, and things that happen following the collision, such as if you experience panic attacks or other issues. You may want to see a therapist or even have a professional witness testify on your behalf to the emotional and psychological trauma suffered from the crash. Punitive damages are up to the court, but one way to help your case and possibly be awarded for these damages is to prove extreme negligence or disregard for the safety of others on the part of the at-fault party. Photos of the incident, video leading up to the accident, testimonies from witnesses, and a police statement can all help show the court the nature of the crash. Conclusion A lot of work goes into preparing a car crash case, and it can be difficult to go through everything that needs to be done immediately after the incident. If you work hard to gather evidence and rely on your personal injury attorney, you will have a chance to recover the money you deserve post-collision and possibly be made whole again.
Whether you’re looking to get a little more power out of your truck or just want it to look a bit better, there are a number of interesting body and performance upgrades out there that can help achieve these goals. Here are some of the top ways to improve the performance and appearance of your truck. 1) Coilover kits A coilover kit is one of the most popular ways to improve your truck’s performance and handling. The spring coils are adjustable, so you can fine-tune them to your specific vehicle. This makes it easy to get the perfect ride height and alignment, which helps improve cornering ability and acceleration. While many people use these kits simply because they want their trucks to look better, there are actually serious benefits when it comes to driving performance as well, even when lifted! 2) Forged wheels Forged wheels are stronger and lighter than cast wheels, which means they can take more abuse and last longer. They’re also more expensive to make, so forged wheels are typically reserved for higher-end vehicles. But if you want to go even further with your truck’s performance upgrades, or if you plan on using it as an off-road vehicle, forged is always a better choice. 3) Exhaust systems Aftermarket exhaust systems are an important part of a truck’s performance perks, as they can improve fuel economy and power figures. Exhaust systems can be expensive though, and can make a lot of noise. 4) HID headlights HID headlights are a great upgrade if you want to improve your visibility at night and during inclement weather conditions. They’re also more energy efficient than traditional halogen bulbs, which means they’ll save you money over time and use less power. HID headlights have several advantages over regular headlights: ● They’re brighter than standard halogen lights, so they can be seen from further away, especially in foggy or rainy conditions where visibility drops drastically. This makes them ideal for truck drivers who travel long distances on highways with low visibility. ● HID bulbs last longer than standard headlights, often upwards of 100K miles. That’s about three times longer on average! 5) LED lighting kits LED lights are brighter, last longer, and use less energy than traditional halogen headlights and most HID bulbs. They can be installed in a variety of places on your truck including the grille, bumper and mirrors. LED’s also come in a myriad of colors, and last up to 50% longer than incandescent lamps according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 6) Air intake kits An air intake kit can help your engine run more efficiently and improve horsepower and torque. A cooler engine typically lasts longer than one that runs hot, so an air intake kit can potentially help keep your truck running for longer, especially in the summer heat. 7) Suspension lift kits A suspension lift kit is an easy and affordable way to improve the ride of your truck. It does so by raising the vehicle’s center of gravity, improving ground clearance, and allowing for larger wheels and tires. For those who plan on doing some serious off-roading, a suspension lift kit is essential. A typical suspension lift kit will consist of new springs and shocks that are designed specifically for that particular vehicle model. By installing these components, you’ll be able to raise your truck to any desired height, with 4-6 inches being the norm. This increased height allows you to clear obstacles when off-road, and greatly aids in breakover clearance levels. 8) Differential cover and skid plate combo kits If you’re looking for a way to protect your drivetrain’s differential, then a differential cover is an excellent choice. Differential covers often come with skid plates that can help protect your truck from rocks and debris when off-roading. Many differentials have built-in skid plates so that all components are covered! 9) Body armor and slider kits This is a great way to protect the body of your truck from damage when off-roading, while keeping you safe in case a collision occurs. These upgrades can help make your truck safer, more efficient and look great. Conclusion We hope this article has helped you decide which direction you wish to take your truck build. For no matter what kind of truck you choose, these nine aftermarket upgrades will always be useful!
It’s a well-known fact that truck driving is a fairly dangerous job. Whether you closely follow news for truck drivers, or you’re only vaguely aware of the inherent risks of this career, the following is vital knowledge for those rigging down the road. What many people don’t realize is that some of the risks come from lifestyle factors, and not just from the possibility of getting into a collision while on the road. Between the sedentary lifestyle, the lack of optimal sleep, and the tendency to live on fast food, truck drivers have a far higher risk of developing chronic diseases that can lead to shorter lifespans. The industry’s high turnover rate may keep some drivers from succumbing to these outcomes, but other drivers could be headed down a dangerous road without even realizing it. Here are some of the main health hazards for truck drivers: High-stress levels Imbalanced sleep routine Reliance on fast food (partly due to lack of access to healthier options) Exposure to chemicals such as diesel fumes Cramped work space that requires hours of sitting every shift The good news is that truckers don’t have to resign themselves to feeling tired and sluggish all the time, let alone developing health conditions down the line. While some of these hazards can’t be avoided, others can be mitigated to some degree, with the following tips serving as the easiest way of improving a truck driver’s overall health and well-being. Incorporate light exercise every day After a long day behind the wheel, the last thing on a driver’s mind is going for a walk. However, that’s exactly what they should do at some point during the day. Even just 15 minutes of brisk walking can be very helpful for maintaining healthy circulation, which is especially important for anyone with a sedentary job. It doesn’t have to be walking. It could be pushups other bodyweight exercises, or anything enjoyable enough to keep up with. Pro tip: Exercise should be avoided at least two hours before going to sleep since it slows down the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). Improve sleep quality This is something that most people could work on, but it’s especially important for truck drivers. Without proper sleep, it’s much harder to stay alert while on the road, and everyone knows how disastrous it can be when someone falls asleep at the wheel. Unfortunately, it’s rare for a driver to sleep in a restful environment. They often catch their Z’s in a small bunk in the back of the truck’s cab, which is technically adequate, but far from optimal. There’s usually a lot of extra light, noise, and general activity all around, which can make it hard to fall asleep, let alone stay that way. How can this be addressed? Excess light can be blocked out by curtains or an eye mask, and ear plugs can help with the noise. Perhaps more importantly, though, truckers must give themselves time to unwind after a long day of staying alert. Some apps help with relaxation, and they could even consider some basic meditation techniques to calm both their bodies and their minds. Reduce fast food consumption Truck drivers rarely have access to their fridges, let alone a space to prepare meals. This makes fast food the default option for most of their meals. Unfortunately, the result is that they almost exclusively eat foods that are full of unhealthy fats, sugar, preservatives, and all kinds of other problematic ingredients. For many, this diet results in excessive weight gain, which is a risk factor for all kinds of other diseases (such as heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, etc.). Solving this issue isn’t that easy, but it can be done. Some fast food chains offer healthier alternatives, and supermarkets also sell prepared meals (like sandwiches and salads) that are better than fried chicken or bacon cheeseburgers. Eat lighter meals Everyone has experienced the energy slump that comes after a large meal, especially if that meal came from a drive-through window. For truck drivers, though, this isn’t just an inconvenience; it’s a hazard, both for themselves and for other drivers. Fortunately, the solution to this is simple: Just eat smaller meals. Even if a meal isn’t the healthiest, it can be divided into two portions instead of eaten in one sitting. Or, each meal could be smaller than before, with snacks in between. Avoid stimulants Speaking of energy slumps, many truck drivers rely on energy drinks, coffee, and other stimulants to keep them alert. This may get the job done at the moment, but it can also have adverse health effects. For example, energy drinks have been shown to erode tooth enamel after just five servings. Coffee isn’t necessarily as bad, but it can cause dehydration since it’s a diuretic. When stimulants are being consumed all day long, this can leave a driver feeling “wired and tired” at the end of the day, unable to sleep because of all the caffeine in their system. The next day they’ll wake up feeling exhausted, get a cup of coffee to wake themselves up, and the cycle will begin again. The solution is to focus less on stimulants, and more on quality sleep. It isn’t necessary to go cold turkey on caffeine; it’s just important to know how much is too much and stay below that amount. Stay hydrated Water is essential for countless physical functions, and when someone is chronically dehydrated, they’ll probably suffer the consequences. For truck drivers, the worst effects will probably be brain fog and slowed reactions, which are things that should be avoided. When the brain doesn’t get enough water, it just doesn’t work as well. Keeping plenty of water on hand will go a long way to ensure that the driver drinks enough throughout the day. The takeaway Truck drivers may have a harder time than most when it comes to staying healthy, but they can still take practical steps to feel better over the short and long term. The takeaway Truck drivers […]