Long hours on the road mostly spent in solitude during the time your body should be in a deep REM cycle can exhaust anyone, even truckers. Truck drivers spend hours driving on the road most of time without a companion to keep them company. Trucking is a difficult job that can severely disrupt your sleep patterns causing fatigue and drowsiness at the most inopportune times. However, there are simple ways truckers can remain alert while on the road.
1. Take regular breaks
The human body has limits. We can only survive without sleep for a certain amount of time before your body begins to shut down. Drowsiness and sleep deprivation can cause truckers to doze off and veer off the road. Pulling over to rest, stretch your legs, eat/drink, or use facilities can help your blood circulate and revitalise you.
2. Recognize signs of fatigue
As a trucker you should be able to recognize and respond to signs of drowsiness or fatigue. Once feelings of drowsiness consume you it is very difficult to fight off sleep. Be able to recognize indicators of fatigue.
Most common signs of fatigue:
- continuous yawning
- excessive blinking
- heavy eyelids
- muscle spasms
- muscle cramps
- slow reaction times
- miscalculation in speed
- miscalculations of depth
Once you begin to experience one or a combination of these symptoms pull over and rest. A 15 minute power nap can prevent a fatal accident on the road.
3. Manage your health
Extended periods of time on the road forces truckers to eat processed and packaged food. Diners, fast food restaurants, and gas stations do not exactly offer healthy food choices. For this reason truckers sometimes do not receive proper nutrients and vitamins causing serious health conditions. The worse your health is the easier it is for you to become fatigued. Annual checkups alert you of any pressing medical conditions that need immediate attention. Keeping up and managing your health becomes one less problem that could potentially cause an accident on the road.
4. Alert trucking company of maintenance issues
Warm environments put us to sleep faster than cooler environments. Once warm air makes contact with our bodies it heats up the blood coursing through our bodies and makes us feel sleepy. Cranking the heater up too high while driving can make a truck driver extremely sleepy. Similarly during the warmer months exposure to sun zaps out our energy. A proper and working A/C can keep truckers cool and alert. For this reason it is of extreme importance to always maintain the A/C and ventilation systems in trucks.
5. Find what works
For some people it is a shot of espresso for others it is a cup of black tea. Whether it is consuming caffeine or cracking down the window to let in fresh air you should find simple and quick methods that keep you alert.
If you have been involved in truck accident feel free to contact us at Kyle Law.