It’s that time of year again. You know, the second week of March where we all lose an hour sleep on Monday morning? So much for springing forward… it feels more like stumbling forward to me. As you probably know, Daylight Savings Time (DST) takes a huge toll on truck drivers because many of them are working when the clocks change. There are other ways that this change can affect you as a driver, so continue reading for our guide to Daylight Savings Time for truckers.
Daylight Savings Time for Truckers: Sleep
Losing an hour of sleep may not affect some people, but this time of year is especially tough on truckers. They work long hours and they are directly exposed to sunlight during their shifts, which makes it hard to adjust to significant changes in the sunrise and sunset. The loss of an hour of sleep has the potential to disrupt your circadian rhythm, and this is can be incredibly damaging for truck drivers. Getting less sleep while dealing with irregular schedules and start times only worsens your potential for exhaustion and burnout. With this mental and physical fatigue comes an increased risk of accidents due to slowed cognition and reduced reaction times.
Daylight Savings Time for Truckers: Safety Tips
Planning is very important when considering Daylight Savings Time for truckers. Don’t forget to mark your calendars so that you are ready for the time change when it comes. The last thing you want is for it to sneak up on you. Adjusting your sleep schedule accordingly is also critical if you want to avoid fatigue and stay alert. Other drivers are also getting used to the time change, so alertness is key for drivers during this time. You should also take time review your work schedule so you don’t miss any deadlines during the time change. Also keep in mind that some states don’t recognize daylight savings, such as Arizona. It could be one time in Colorado and a totally different time just over the state line.
Daylight Savings Time for Truckers: Electronic Logging Devices
Ah yes, onto the fun part: driver logs. Most Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), or e-logs, are designed to automatically adjust to Daylight Savings Time. This being said, you still have to follow the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations set by the Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). That’s a lot of acronyms, I know, but it basically means that springing forward doesn’t go towards your required 10-hour break. The “extra” hour should be counted with the number of hours you are actually on duty.
For example, if you drive from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., your log should show that you worked seven hours because the clock advanced an hour during your shift. If you start your 10-hour break at 11 p.m. on Saturday, it would normally be completed at 9 a.m. on Sunday. Instead, you would actually have to wait until 10 a.m. to finish your break because of Daylight Savings Time.
We suggest that you set your clocks an hour ahead before you go to bed on Saturday night. Even though most electronic clocks adjust automatically, be sure to double check them. This is especially important for anyone who uses their mobile phone as their alarm clock in the morning!
Even though it’s only an hour, Daylight Savings Time for truckers can directly affect your work and your ability to drive safely. That’s why it’s important to be prepared and plan for how you’ll adjust to your new schedule. Be sure to review your pickup times, delivery times, and your Estimated Times of Arrival (ETAs) to avoid any confusion. Drive safely!
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