Truck drivers know that a sleep routine doesn’t exactly exist in its general definition when you’re on the road. Sleeping patterns as a driver, especially if you are an over the road driver, lack any normal bedtime or standard amount of sleep time—in fact, there really is no pattern at all! You basically get sleep when you have time to do so. But driver fatigue is a serious issue when operating a truck for extended hours. It can cause loss of concentration or cause the driver to fall asleep behind the wheel, resulting in a serious crash. As a driver of heavy commercial vehicles, you hold a lot of responsibilities and must be aware at all times in order to drive with your utmost safety potential. So, how can you avoid being a drowsy driver when your sleep schedule is off route? Check out these four drowsy driving prevention tips!
Four Drowsy Driving Prevention Tips
1. Make sure you can sleep comfortably in your truck
The first drowsy driving prevention tip is to make sure that when you do have time to sleep, you’re getting good sleep. New drivers have an especially hard time adjusting to sleeping in their truck, but there are some things you can do to make your cab more sleep-friendly. For example, try blocking outside light, avoiding electronics when you’re about to go to sleep and finding a quiet place to park.
2. Recognize when you are drowsy and don’t fight it
If you are drowsy, it’s really important not to try to fight it. You may think you can handle it, but before you know it you could be asleep at the wheel. We all know how long highways almost hum you to sleep when you’re driving for a long time. To reiterate – don’t fight our fatigue. It is dangerous, and no delivery is worth your life or someone else’s.
3. Maybe sleep is not what you need
Another drowsy driving prevention tip – maybe you’re not tired. Perhaps you’re just under stimulated. Some studies show that any type of break from driving, when assigned long hours, significantly reduces the risks of traffic faults. Your required off-duty time doesn’t mean you have to go to sleep. It is just the allotted amount of time you need away from behind the wheel. There are a lot of activities you can find when you are not driving that will get you stimulated and ready for the road again such as:
- Go on a mini adventure! If you’re delivering to a place you’ve never been before, take the time to go explore! Enjoy your surroundings and go site seeing, it’ll get your blood pumping and give you some time away from the driver seat.
- Eat something! Go to a nearby restaurant or cook a meal for yourself. In order to keep on truckin’, you need fuel just as much as your truck does!
- Clean up! Depending on how long you’ve been on the road, you may want to clean yourself up a bit and take a shower.
- Play games! If you have a TV and your gaming device with you, plug it in and relive your childhood for a little bit. You could also watch a movie or read a book.
4. Drowsiness could be a side effect of that dirty “s” word
Geez… I don’t know what word you were thinking of, but I’m talking about sleep apnea! I know – it is like the forbidden, dreaded, dirty word of the trucking industry. If you are experiencing drowsiness even after you’ve slept, it could be that something is actually interrupting your sleep. If you have sleep apnea, it is important to manage it. You can still drive with sleep apnea, as long as your condition is being managed and a doctor says it is still safe.
Well, there you have it – drowsy driving prevention tips! As the common saying goes drive when you have to, sleep when you can. What tips did you find most helpful for yourself? Share with us in the comments below and remember, safe trucking is happy trucking!