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How to Avoid Driver Fatigue

Physical or mental exertion can cause driver fatigue in truck drivers. This fatigue is quite common because truckers travel all over the country working long odd hours. Therefore, they often get inadequate sleep or have an inconsistent sleep schedule.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study revealed that around 13% of truck drivers were fatigued at the time of their crash. This statistic is alarming and presents a major issue in the trucking industry.

Although situations like these can’t be 100% avoided, there are some ways to stay well-rested and healthy during your trips.

Tips for Avoiding Driver Fatigue

The following are some of the most effective tips for avoiding driver fatigue.

Get Enough Sleep

One of the most common causes of driver fatigue is not getting enough rest to begin with. You’ll have a difficult time staying awake behind the wheel if you don’t get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Although this can be difficult when you’re a truck driver, adequate sleep is important. If you can, avoid driving between the hours of 12 and 6 am and 2 and 4 pm. These are the typical hours when the body is naturally tired.

Driving while drowsy can impair your normal response time and increase your chances of getting in a crash. If you feel you’re becoming drowsy then find the safest place to pull over and rest. Oftentimes there are truck stops along the highway or off an exit.

Keep a Healthy Diet

One of the reasons you may be experiencing driver fatigue is the food you eat. Although stopping at a gas station or fast food may be a quicker and cheaper option, your body needs proper nutrition.

Therefore, you should try and ditch the burgers and fries, and opt for a healthier meal with greens and protein. We also suggest foods high in iron because they can keep you alert longer. We suggest stocking up on healthier snacks and meals from the grocery store before your trips. Keeping these items on your truck at all times would be convenient for whenever you need a snack.

Keep in mind that skipping meals or irregular eating schedules can cause driver fatigue. Thus, it’s important to make the necessary lifestyle changes to keep you alert behind the wheel.

Take Naps and Breaks

Truck drivers shouldn’t try to force themselves to stay on the road if they’re feeling drowsy. It’s best to stop for a while and take a nap or rest. A 45 to 50-minute nap should suffice to replenish your energy and keep you alert on your trip. Interestingly, short naps are more effective than coffee if you want to stay alert.

Avoid Medications That Make You Drowsy

Medicines like cough syrup can cause you to get drowsy on the road so they should be avoided if you’re behind the wheel. Other medicines that can cause drowsiness are allergy medicine, sleeping pills, cold medicine, and tranquilizers.

If you aren’t sure if the medicine you’re taking causes drowsiness then check the bottle for any warning labels or look it up online.

Bottom Line

Avoiding driver fatigue requires paying attention to your eating habits and lifestyle. You need to ensure you get enough sleep, eat right, take a nap when needed, and avoid sleep-inducing medicine as much as possible. These are some simple, yet effective methods to keep your health on track and help you stay alert while operating your truck.

 

 

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Sources                      

https://www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/videoresource/t5driverfatigue.pdf

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/driver-safety/cmv-driving-tips-driver-fatigue

https://hsi.com/blog/tips-for-preventing-driver-fatigue