Drowsy driving accounts for between 16 and 22% of all car crashes. Twenty five percent of truck drivers have even fallen asleep at the wheel. Truck driver fatigue accounts for 13% of large truck crashes. You can head off fatigue at the pass (pun intended) by following some of the recommendations below.
Tips for Battling Truck Driver Fatigue
Herein comprised is a short list of some of the most powerful things you can do to hedge against truck driver fatigue.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Truck drivers average less than five hours of sleep each night, but adults require between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. You don’t need any more sleep than a person working a typical 9-5 job, but you do need at least that amount of sleep. You might be able to get by with less sleep at a desk job because you can daydream, doze off, or rest periodically, and your boss might not notice. But when you’re on the road, you have to be alert the whole time you’re driving. You can’t afford to get less than the recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep each night.
Take a Nap Before Getting on the Road
If you somehow didn’t get the required amount of sleep the night beforehand, take a short power nap. Even an hour nap can give you that boost you’ll need to keep going strong the whole day long.
Eat the Right Stuff
If you’re a big fan of sugary soft drinks and fatty foods, you’re not alone. A lot of truck drivers are used to eating fast food on the road, but it’s not a wise move. You need to eat low-sugar, high-fiber foods and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. You want a good even keel of energy throughout the day, rather than spikes and drops. Low blood sugar can lead to dizziness, fainting, or worse. You don’t want to suddenly feel bad when you’re behind the wheel because your diet is working against you. If you start eating healthy snacks and drinking smoothies or water, you’ll be in a much better position to have a smooth trip throughout the day. Consider buying some plasticware and bottles to keep super-healthy snacks in. Go to the health food store before you set out, pack up a bunch of healthy stuff, and eat that on your trips. You can also get a mini refrigerator for your truck to store it all.
Pay Attention to the Signs of Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving might mean yawning, blurry vision, and nodding off. If you notice these or other more subtle signs, it’s time to pull over and take a short nap or just call it a night. You might even consider something called a Maven Machine that has a bluetooth headset that senses driver fatigue and notifies the driver when they need to pull off the road and get some sleep.
Make Use of Anti-Fatigue Technologies
In addition, there are several other new anti-fatigue tools that can help truck drivers avoid truck driver fatigue. There are fatigue meters, digital wearables, digital headwear, smartphone apps, and even facial mapping tools. Look into these if you want a more technological approach to battling driver fatigue.
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