Driver’s fatigue, we’ve all been there. The life of a truck driver is full of long unpredictable hours. With shifts starting in early mornings and ending in late nights, who has time to sleep nowadays? When you are constantly driving for over eight hours a day, your eyes can’t help but start to feel fuzzy while your body aches and longs for a good night’s rest in your own bed. This is a classic case of driver’s fatigue which is commonly caused by driving long distances for hours at a time. How do we combat this struggle by staying awake? One of my favorite ways to increase my energy is to get a boost of caffeine every morning, but is that the only way to stay focused and alert?
Although coffee or other forms of caffeine are easy ways to combat fatigue, there are a lot of ways to combat driver’s fatigue. Driver’s fatigue management is an important tool to making sure that you are staying healthy and productive while on the road.
Driver’s Fatigue | 5 Tips to Stay Awake While Driving Long Distances
1. Create a Morning Routine
To get your body used to the lifestyle of a trucker, it is important to create a schedule for yourself. By doing this, your body will eventually wake up without fussing, thus generating more energy for yourself when you wake up. One way to do this is to wake up at the same time every day. This will help you naturally wake up on time every day without feeling tired or sleepy. Waking up a little bit earlier than your alarm will also help prevent the jolt that your body receives when your alarm suddenly rings. Doing this will help your body relax and acquire some sunlight to naturally wake yourself up. The sun isn’t your enemy – it is the source of your energy.
2. Listen to Music or a Podcast
Long car rides mean that music is non-optional. Listening to music will help keep your brain moving. Not only will you be more relaxed, but this will also help keep you alert as you are driving, so turn on your favorite radio station and sing along to your favorite trucktrack. If you’re in the mood for a little company, listen to a Podcast – Big Rig Banter is available for your listening.
3. Eat Energy Boosting Foods
An alternative to staying awake without caffeine is to eat healthy snacks on the road. Whenever you are feeling tired, grab some fruits or peanuts to snack on. These superfoods are healthy and will easily convert into energy for your use. Instead of your classic snack food, opt for some nuts, fresh fruits or dark chocolate. Not only does fatigue interfere with your mood and productivity, but it also affects your immune system and your overall health. Eating super foods that are rich in vitamins will both improve your health and keep you alert during your long trip – talk about killing two birds with one stone!
4. Stay Hydrated
Make sure that you stock up on plenty of fluids during your travel. Dehydration is prone to cause irritability which will then affect your concentration and overall alertness. Avoid salty and sugary drinks or food and make sure that you are drinking plenty of water.
5. Stretch and Exercise
If you are feeling tired and lethargic during your drive, take a break to stretch and do some simple exercises to get your blood pumping. Just like how both your eyes and brain need to take a break from the challenges of driving long distances, your body also needs a break to regenerate. There are plenty of exercises and workouts that you could do on the road. Find time and a location to pull over and stretch. Incorporating stretches and exercises into your daily routine will help minimize tiredness and increase your energy levels. Another bonus benefit is that you will also minimize your chances of getting back pain and improve your overall health!
Being a truck driver can be difficult, so it is important to be aware of when fatigue starts to interfere with your work. Follow these five tips and you will stay awake throughout your journey.