Truck drivers have some of the most taxing jobs in the world. They need to drive many miles every day and usually travel over long stretches of road for several days, if not weeks. They need to meet deadlines and must power through monotony and fatigue to meet their client’s requirements. Unfortunately, this leads to truck driver fatigue, which isn’t just dangerous for the drivers but also for other people on the road.
The Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck drivers often drive heavy-duty vehicles at high speeds, which means they need to maintain constant focus on the road to avoid accidents. A tired driver can cause a great deal of harm, especially if they haven’t taken any preventive measures to ensure they don’t fall asleep at the wheel.
There are many dangers of truck driver fatigue. You might accelerate on busy roads, lose control of the wheel and drive off the road, run over someone, drive off a bridge, collide with other vehicles, etc. That doesn’t just put your life at risk, but it can also cause serious harm to other people on the road.
Tips to Prevent Driver Fatigue
You can avoid driver fatigue and remain safe on the road by being vigilant and aware of your physical limitations. No deadline is as important as your life, and most employers and clients understand this. Here are some tips that can help you avoid fatigue:
1. Sleep Well
You need at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep every day. Your body will be fatigued and slow to respond if you’re not well-rested. It is best to sleep at night because that’s the natural pattern. However, if you can’t sleep at night, be sure to get adequate sleep during the daytime. Try to avoid driving between midnight and 6 AM and 2 PM to 4 PM. People are usually tired and slow to respond during this time. The tiredness will cause you to lose focus, increasing the risk of accidents.
2. Take Naps
If you start feeling less alert and find yourself yawning, it is a good idea to catch a power nap. You don’t need to waste an hour on this. A 10-minute power nap will help you relax and restore your energy. Give yourself 15 minutes to wake-up entirely and get your energy flowing once again. Avoid naps longer than 45 minutes because they will make you feel drowsy and affect the quality of your nighttime sleep.
3. Avoid Medicines That Cause Drowsiness
Some medicines include compounds that reduce response times and affect your alertness levels. Drugs like muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, cold medicines, and allergy medicines can cause drowsiness. You need to avoid these medicines when you are scheduled to drive.
4. Eat Healthily
Healthy foods help you remain alert and provide all of the energy you need to carry out your job. It is a good idea to maintain a proper eating schedule while you’re on the road. Set a time for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. Have a full, nutritious breakfast but avoid a heavy lunch.
This pattern will help you maintain focus on the road and ensure you don’t feel too tired or hungry. Being hungry can cloud your judgment and affect your concentration. Keep some snacks like protein bars, nuts, and dried fruit, etc., on hand to help with hunger pangs. Avoid any rich and greasy foods, especially if you intend to drive right after eating.
You should also exercise regularly and take short breaks to stretch your legs. Step out of your truck and breathe in some fresh air. You will feel revitalized and energetic.