Truck driver fatigue accounts of thousands of road accidents every year. About 20 percent of major road accidents involving trucking companies are sleep-related accidents resulting in fatalities and other serious consequences. The danger of fatigue among truck drivers is a serious concern, and it is not only the responsibility of local governments to ensure safe truck driving on the highways. Fatigue can also affect the job-quality experience of a truck driver, making some of them shy away from pursuing a truck-driving job. There are many ways to avoid the pitfalls of truck driver fatigue in order to help you enjoy the job as a truck driver more.
Who are at risk of truck driver fatigue
Many trucking companies in Atlanta report that the profile of drivers who are most susceptible to driver’s fatigue are young males who drive carriers as shift workers. Many trucking companies offer long-distance truck driving, and those engaged in this kind of freight trucking service are likely to suffer from sleep deprivation resulting in accidents. Young truck drivers are often confronted with work-related and personal circumstances that could hinder their ability to get sufficient rest and sleep. Common factors that increase their risk to experience fatigue include working long hours of driving, getting less sleep than actually needed, driving between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., taking medicine that causes drowsiness, and working long shifts and night shifts.
The most common truck driver fatigue symptom is sleepiness. If you feel that you are unfit to drive, it is important to get enough sleep before hitting the road. Lack of sleep may cloud your own judgment while driving and it can also reduce the mental alertness that you need throughout the journey. Drinking caffeine will give your mind a boost of alertness, while taking a nap of at least 15 minutes will help rejuvenate you again. Make sure to take short stops at a safe place to nap. You can also stop and stretch your muscles to keep the blood flowing and keep you awake. It is always best to communicate with your fleet supervisor to advise you in advance about your work schedule and so you can get a normal sleep beforehand. The best and most effective way of conquering sleepiness is getting enough rest prior to hitting the highway for your journey.
Perform activities that will help overcome fatigue
Truck drivers should exercise more initiative on overcoming the risk of driver’s fatigue so as to make their job more satisfying and fulfilling. You can employ certain strategies that are considered to be in the handbook of veteran truck drivers that truly work and that made them more satisfied and happy with their truck driving job. Performing these activities regularly will be helpful:
- When you stop over, perform simple exercises consisting of gentle stretching and basic exercise movements. You are not prevented from bringing with you good music to keep your optimism up while doing the exercise.
- Make sure to open the window from time to time to keep the air fresh. Cigarette smoke and stale air may increase the fatigue buildup.
- Drink water more frequently to keep you hydrated, especially during a long drive.
- Use air conditioning to make yourself comfortable. A hot cab temperature can make you feel weary and tired.
- Keep yourself alert by listening to the news on the radio or play your favorite music.
- Learn the habit of being mentally alert all the time. While you like to enjoy the views around you, you should get yourself into the habit of observing traffic and maintaining your speed and safe distance from the other vehicles on the road.
- Plan your trip and identify the best snack house to grab a bite.
- Make friends with the other truck drivers driving along your route. Having someone to talk to during a stop will bring back your alertness and break the monotonous activity of driving for long hours by yourself.