Truck driving isn’t an easy job. With difficult deadlines, limited parking, and ever-changing safety regulations, it’s easy for drivers to become stressed and exhausted. This is a recipe for fatigued driving, which reduces the driver’s ability to perform due to low energy. When drivers are groggy, they can’t react physically or mentally as they could when at maximum alertness. Fleets can use the following methods to battle driver fatigue:
- Get adequate sleep. A good night’s sleep is imperative for safe driving. Truck drivers need to stop driving for the day to give themselves enough time to rest to resume work the following morning. Drivers should also avoid getting behind the wheel during hours they would naturally be sleeping. In particular, truck drivers should avoid operating their vehicle between midnight and six in the morning.
- Take naps. If a driver begins to feel tired, he or she should take a quick nap if possible. Aim for 15-30 minutes for an optimal energy boost. Any more or less, and the nap may make the driver feel more drowsy, a condition known as sleep inertia.
- Avoid medication that causes drowsiness. Most people know allergy medicines can make them feel drowsy. However, a plethora of medications include warnings not to operate heavy machinery while taking them. Muscle relaxers, cold medicine, and sleeping pills are all no go’s while driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
- Practice good diet and hydration habits. Drivers should aim to eat their meals at regular hours and intervals to ensure good quality sleep. Going to bed hungry or after gorging on fast food can result in poor rest. Proper hydration is also key to remaining alert. Keep water bottles in the cab for easy access during the day.
- Avoid alertness tricks. Turning up the radio or rolling down the window may provide a small initial jolt of energy, but fatigue will quickly take over again. Drinking caffeinated beverages can help, but those can prevent drivers from sleeping later or cause more drowsiness when the driver experiences the inevitable caffeine crash.
- Know the signs. Drowsiness can sneak up on drivers, but, if they know the signs, they can pull over and rest before causing an accident. Some of the hallmarks of drowsiness include yawning, heavy eyes, blurry vision, slower reaction times, and impatience.
Following the above tips can help drivers stay alert when operating their CMV. To learn more about improving transportation safety, contact the experts at Cline Wood.
This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.trucker fatigue, trucking risk, trucking safety, trucking safety blog