Truck driver fatigue is a serious issue that can jeopardize road safety. According to the Janda Law firm, drivers dealing with fatigue are one of the number one reasons for truck accidents. Demanding hours in long-haul trucking often leads to chronic sleep deprivation and exhaustion. In this article, we’ll explore tactics truck drivers can use to help combat fatigue to ensure their safety as well as other drivers on the road.
Studies show that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as impaired driving. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand how to prevent it from happening.
Recognize Warning Signs and Pay Attention to Them
When we are fatigued, our body has a way of letting us know. Yawning excessively, difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, and nodding off are several signs that you need to address fatigue.
Take Enough Rest Breaks
One of the best ways to fight fatigue is by taking proper breaks. Truck drivers should follow the federal hours-of-service guidelines by taking breaks after a certain number of worked hours.
It’s essential to get a good night’s sleep to prevent the onset of fatigue. By keeping a consistent sleep schedule, it’s easier to develop proper sleep hygiene.
Create a Quality Sleep Environment
Making sure you carve time out of your route for sleep is important, but making sure you get quality sleep is essential. Something as simple as investing in a truck mattress replacement, a white noise machine, or blackout curtains could make all the difference in the quality of sleep and the fight against trucker fatigue.
Keep a Healthy Lifestyle
Making positive choices for your health makes a significant impact on your well-being. Eating a healthy diet, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and making time for exercise can reduce the symptoms of fatigue.
Keep Open Communication with Your Employer
This advice might seem simple, but the truth is, many truck drivers don’t alert their employers when they feel too tired to drive. Companies can help their drivers by encouraging open communication so they feel comfortable addressing safety issues. Other companies offer fatigue risk management programs to educate employees on reducing fatigue. They can also make accommodations by putting them on a less demanding schedule.
Avoid Driving at Night
Sometimes, driving at night may be avoidable. But, if it is an option, try to avoid driving at night. This way you can be more alert and promote a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
Don’t Overuse Caffeine
Caffeine can be very helpful as a tool to stay awake. However, pay attention to how much you consume. Since caffeine acts as a diuretic, it can make you use the bathroom more, potentially interrupting your sleep.
Combatting truck driver fatigue is a responsibility that requires the collaboration of both drivers and employers. By implementing strategies such as rest breaks, promoting healthy lifestyles, and providing support, safety can be prioritized. It allows us to create safer roads for all and protect the well-being of the dedicated professionals who keep our nation moving.