Fred Lawson looks twenty years younger than he is. He still fits in the western style jeans he bought a decade ago and he has enough energy that he can run circles around men much younger than he is. He’s in excellent shape.
But as a truck driver who frequently spends eight hours or more per day behind the wheel of his 18-wheeler, Lawson knows pain and soreness.
“It gets you all through here,” Lawson says as he points to his shoulders, neck, and upper arms. “Even though I take my breaks and stretch, the tightness is [inevitable].”
Soreness and tightness may be inevitable after handling a large truck on the highway for many hours and many miles, but the soreness and pain don’t have to linger. With the two strongest topical analgesics allowed without a prescription, miraFlex provides a more complete pain relief, reducing inflammation and easing pain. Easy to apply, miraFlex deserves a spot in a truck driver’s arsenal, along with a strong radio and emergency brakes.
The veteran truck driver has never had to miss time off for injury or chronic pain, but he’s known some who have. Truck drivers in the U.S. can log more than 120,000 miles in a year, or more than 2,000 miles per week on average. That’s like driving from Chicago to Los Angeles every few days. Drivers feel it in their arms, chest and shoulders because of the need to manage their powerful vehicles but sitting for extended periods of time also contributes to the muscle soreness.
But while driving for a living can be taxing on the body and the mind (how many George Strait CDs can you listen to?), it’s worth it.
“I’ve crisscrossed the country and seen just about everything you can see,” Lawson says. “If I haven’t seen it, it probably doesn’t exist yet,” he says with a chuckle. At 67, Lawson is a remarkable physical specimen, he has a thin waist, can still hop in and out of his truck like a kangaroo, and he has never worn glasses. He cherishes being on the open road and he loves being part of the great American tradition of truck drivers.
“Highways are the arteries of America, and truck drivers are the lifeblood that flows through them, supplying us with everything we need to be a happy and prosperous nation, from apples to lumber to microprocessors,” says historian William Kaszynski, author of The American Highway: The History and Culture of Roads in the United States. “We hardly notice as they buzz past us, but if truck drivers weren’t out doing their jobs every day, we’d miss out on a lot.”
Lawson, a Texas native who moved to Oklahoma several years ago, never loses sight of how important his job is. “I have a full trailer and a place to go, and that’s how I see it,” he says. “Someone somewhere needs what I’m bringing.”
Lawson is one of more than 200 drivers employed by Stevens Trucking Company, located in Oklahoma City, OK. Originally Stevens made their name servicing the oilfield industry, but today they have nearly 200 tractors and more than 500 trailers and move cargo all over the country.
That’s what Fred Lawson is thinking about as we finish up our photo shoot and chat with him in the mid-morning on a very warm June day: he’s a trooper as we take photo after photo of him getting in and out of his truck; as we set the lighting; as we mop the sweat from his forehead. At one point this grizzled truck driving man seems to love the attention. “My wife is never going to believe this,’ Fred says.
But there’s someplace he feels he needs to be, and as we finish up he glances back at us, gives us a wave, and hops up into the cab of his truck. A few noisy moments later he has his big rig pointed down the road.
“I have a full trailer and a place to go.”