Drowsy driving is no joke. More than 600 Americans died in car accidents caused by drowsy driving. Thousands of other drivers have been injured after falling asleep at the wheel.
Truck safety means figuring out foolproof measures to keep yourself awake behind the wheel. Thankfully, the most common measures are easy to implement.
How much sleep should you get before you drive, and how can you ensure you get enough sleep? What food should you eat during long-distance trips? How can you avoid drowsiness from your medication?
Answer these questions and you can turn long-distance driving tips into years of safe driving. Here is your quick guide.
You need at least eight hours of sleep every night to avoid truck driver fatigue. Schedule your sleep hours and make sure you have time to unwind before you go to bed. Performing an activity like meditation or journaling can make it easier to fall asleep.
If you are feeling tired on the road, you should pull over and get a nap. Try to schedule your nap between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., as many people feel drowsy during those hours. You can rest for 15 minutes and then return to driving.
The federal government has fatigue prevention laws in place. You cannot drive for longer than 14 hours without taking a break for at least 10 hours, and you can use your break to sleep. If your boss violates these road safety laws, contact a truck accident attorney for hire.
Food can give you the fuel you need for long hours on the road. Whole grains, proteins, and natural carbohydrates can provide fuel for hours without you needing to eat more food.
Increase your consumption of brown rice, quinoa, and legumes. You can also eat fruit and nuts as a side dish or dessert.
Skipping meals can create fatigue and distractions. Try to eat at the same times every day, and feel free to eat snacks if you get hungry. Avoid eating and driving simultaneously, as your food may distract you.
Many medications have drowsiness as a side effect. These medications include cold medicines, allergy medicines, and sleeping pills. Avoid taking medications while you are driving, even if you have taken them in the past.
If you use tranquilizers or sleeping pills to sleep, take them after you are done driving. If your boss calls you, tell them that you have taken your medication and cannot drive.
Signs of drowsiness include blurred vision, yawning, and wandering thoughts. When you notice these symptoms after taking a medication, you should pull over and take a nap. Drinking coffee or turning the radio up may not keep you awake.
Truck safety requires you to stay awake at all times while you are driving. Get at least eight hours of sleep during your time off and take naps whenever you feel tired. Eat full meals that provide fuel from whole grains and unprocessed carbohydrates.
Do not take cold medications or sleeping pills while you are driving. If you do take pills, monitor yourself for signs of drowsiness. As soon as you feel drowsy, you need to pull over.
Preventing truck driver fatigue is just one part of road safety. Read more driver safety guides by following our coverage.
Kenneth is a proud native of sydney, born and raised there. However, he pursued his education abroad and studied in Australia. Kenneth has worked as a journalist for almost a decade, making valuable contributions to prominent publications such as Yahoo News and The Verge. Currently, he serves as a journalist for The Hear Up, where he focuses on covering climate and science news. You can reach Kenneth at [email protected].