Driving a truck is one of the toughest transport jobs on the planet. It requires days of sleepless driving for extended stretches, and without proper rest and sleep, it can get tiring. While driving any vehicle on little sleep is dangerous, driving a truck when tired or drowsy is fatal in most cases. Drowsy driving accounts for 6 percent of all car crashes, and more than 70,000 crashes occur each year due to drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.
Truck drivers face tough deadlines and packed transport schedules, which leaves them with little time to sleep or rest between destinations. Moreover, most of these drivers have long routes, often spanning the entire country, where driving on motorways can further add to the risk of the drivers falling asleep. Trucks are large vehicles with thousands of pounds of momentum, and even a small crash with a car or motorcycle is enough to kill one or both drivers.
Keeping the severity of these crashes in mind there are several tips to help eliminate fatigue when driving a truck across the country as provided by a truck accident lawyer in Dallas, TX.
Maintaining Sleep Hygiene
Adopting a ‘whenever, wherever’ approach for sleep might work for you in the short term, but it is incredibly damaging to your mental and physical health in the long run. Most sleep experts recommend getting eight hours of sleep each night to function optimally. When more sleep is off the table, you should try maintaining a consistent sleep schedule to ensure that you do not sleep behind the wheel.
The use of alcohol before or during driving is one of the biggest threats to the safety of you and everyone else on the road. Even legal or undetectable levels of alcohol are enough to make you drowsy and more prone to sleeping while driving. It is advisable to avoid drunk driving at all costs. It also remains true for OTC medications that induce sleepiness and are unsafe for use before long driving sessions.
Moderate Caffeine Intake
To keep yourself alert and awake during driving, you should incorporate coffee within your dietary schedule. It is important to consume moderate amounts of caffeine, whether it is in coffee, tea, or any other caffeinated drink. Consuming caffeine keeps your focus and attention and acts almost instantly. You should avoid the use of caffeinated energy drinks because while these drinks might keep you awake temporarily, they result in a sugar crash which can cause sleepiness during driving.
Drinking plenty of water not only improves your overall health but also helps you stay alert and focused while doing a monotonous task like driving on a highway. Unlike caffeine, you do not have to worry about any unwanted effects like drowsiness or sugar crashes. Keep your water intake moderate to minimize restroom breaks during your journey.
If you feel like you are tired and cannot drive any longer without putting yourself and others in danger, you should exit at the nearest rest stop and take a short nap to recharge yourself. A 10 to 20-minute nap can freshen you up for the rest of the journey. If you are at a long distance from the nearest rest stop, you should park your truck somewhere quiet and take a power nap, and you should be ready to go.
Playing music or radio in your truck is a good way to keep yourself awake. If you play music at a moderate volume, you can focus on the road ahead and prevent sleepiness. Make sure to choose a playlist that consists of stimulating sounds. Soft instrumental sounds are likely to make you fall asleep and should be avoided.
Truck accidents are some of the most catastrophic forms of vehicular crashes in the world. These accidents can be avoided with proper care and precautionary measures that can not only save your life but also the lives of countless others on the road. If you or your loved one got injured in a crash involving such a vehicle, you can contact a truck accident attorney to sue for any damages resulting from the accident.