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December 10, 2019

How to Avoid Truck Driver Fatigue

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All truck drivers can agree being on the road for an extended period can get tiring. But is there a way to avoid truck driver fatigue? Getting tired is apart of everyday life, but as a truck driver letting your eyes drop on the road can mean life or death for you and other drivers on the road. On-road crashes are the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2% of all deaths around the world, which means around 1.25 million people die from an accident per year. A drowsy driver causes 6% of all crashes. In 2013 alone drowsy driving caused up to 72,000 crashes. Truck drivers have a higher risk of drowsy driving because of the long drives they take daily. To keep yourself safe and others as well while you are on the road, here are a few tips to keep you awake and functional. 

Tips to help eliminate truck driver fatigue

If you've ever seen Mr. Beans holiday, prying your eyes open with some toothpicks may have come to your mind. While it's probably not the best or safest idea, it did make a hilariously relatable impression in our minds. Some of the best ways to stay awake on the road include drinking a caffeine drink, getting plenty of water, taking short naps, eating a healthy meal, moving around, turning up your radio, driving with a friend, bringing snacks, opening your windows, and including a sleep schedule that provides at least 8 hours of rest. To stay awake, feel free to use the tips that will benefit your body type. Below we will give some advice to help explain how you can include these while on the road.

Be a wise driver

Caffeine 

While caffeine isn't the best choice of diet, it can keep you awake when you need it. Caffein has an effect that almost instantly wakes up your body. Drinking caffeine has both pros and cons below we will list a few of these so you can decide if you feel like you should include this into your schedule. 

coffee drink

Pros

  • Keeps you awake and alert
  • Acts fast
  • Improves attention and focus abilities
  • Blandly improve athletic skills 

Cons

  • Results in constant headaches
  • Can influence anxiety and or panic attacks 
  • Interferes with sleep
  • Can increase blood pressure 
  • And more

Plenty of Water

Getting plenty of water helps your body stay awake and aware and also improves your overall health. Including at least 8 cups of water in your life on a daily bases can keep your body awake so you can drive safe. Unlike caffeine, water doesn't have any unhealthy side effects to worry about. 

Man drinking a lot of water

Take a short nap

If you start feeling tired and it doesn't go away, you could be in a hazardous situation. If you feel like your eyes can't stand the weight any more get to the nearest truck stop and find a quiet place to park. Take a 10-20 min nap, and you should be ready to go.

Man falling asleep


Eat a healthy meal

Making sure you include the right amount of protein and grains in your diet is essential. Soft drinks and heavy snacks will increase your fatigue. Make sure that you are eating all of your meals and are staying on schedule. This will keep your body in a routine and help you stay awake. 

Healthy meals

Move around

Wiggle around and start moving your body. Movement is one of the best ways to wake up your body. Start doing some arm and chest exercises to get your blood flowing. You can also pull over to the side and go for a short jog if you think it will help. 

Man jogging

Turn up your radio

Another fun idea to get your blood pumping and eyes wide is to play some music. Make sure that you pick a playlist that is good for getting you in the mood for movement. Soft instrumental or delicate sounds will make you fall asleep and aren't a good idea if your eyes are already starting to get droopy. 

Woman turning up the radio

Drive with a friend

Most trucking companies allow you to bring a friend or family member with you while you are on the roads. Friends can keep you company and help you to watch your driving in case you start losing control and begin drowsy driving. 

Two men driving in orange vehicle

Bring snacks

Find some healthy snacks in your local food store and take them with you on the go. You can include crackers, cheese, fruit snacks, fruit bowls, veggies, sandwiches, and more. Eating food will help your body wake up, especially if you are hungry and have been driving without food for a while. Eating desserts or junk food will make your body tired rather than waking it up.

healthy snacks, crackers

Open up your windows 

If your eyes start to droop and your arms start to let go of your wheel slowly, it might be time to roll down your window. Fresh air can help your body wake up and begin to function better. 

girl driving with windows down

Getting Sleep 

Out of all these tips getting sleep is by far the most helpful of all of them. Without proper rest, your body can start to sleep without you noticing. Sleep is something every one of our bodies needs, and without it, we begin to run like an uncharged battery, and most of our functions stop working. With the right amount of sleep, you can act as a fully charged battery, ready to concur the world. So get some sleep!

Gentleman taking a nap in his bed


How fatigue affects your driving

Drowsy driving is assumed to be the cause of over 15% of fatalities. Now imagine a truck driver is tired; not only are they expected to crash if the right measures aren't taken, but the cash can result in multiple deaths. Life is not something to take chances with. If you are tired, you will slowly start to lose control of the wheel and petals. Even just by accident, you may start to get into another driver's lane, which could cause a fatal crash even though it's not a head-on collision. 

Car crash, woman gets injured

Signs of fatigue

Knowing if you are starting to get tired is very easy to perceive. Not only will you begin to lose control, but your eyes will begin to get drowsy. You may also notice a change in your behavior and feel less motivated. If any of these symptoms begin to show you should immediately begin to find a truck stop or get to a spot that is safe to park. Whether it's taking a quick short nap or running around, you should take no less than 10 minutes of your time. Exercise will be the best decision you can make if you are trying to be safe on the road. Go for a quick run or do some push-ups, helping your body stay in motion for at least 10 minutes will benefit you a lot and wake your body up fast. 


Thank you for reading our article "How to avoid truck driver fatigue." and if you are interested in working for a trucking company with more time home with your family at a reasonable rate, you can contact us online or call us at (801) 441-0373.