Driving while tired is extremely risky and kills thousands every year. Truck drivers can travel more than a football field if they nod off few even a few seconds. The accidents, injuries, and fatalities related to driver fatigue are preventable if fleets implement strong guidelines and safety measures against drowsy driving.
Safety training can remind truck drivers about the dangers of driving while tired. It’s also a great time to remind them of the signs of drowsiness. Some are obvious, such as yawning often, nodding off, or having a hard time keeping eyes open. However, other indicators of fatigue are more subtle. These include drifting into other lanes, trouble maintaining a steady speed, and missing turns or exits.
Here are several strategies to prevent drowsy driving:
- Get adequate sleep. Some sleep is often not enough Drivers need at least seven hours of sleep each night before getting behind the wheel.
- Take breaks. Stopping every couple of hours gives drivers an opportunity to take a brisk walk or stretch out their legs and muscles. Reinvigorating the body keeps the mind more alert.
- Don’t take medicine that may cause drowsiness. Some medications and prescriptions cause drowsiness, which is always written on the label. Drivers should avoid these medications when buying them over the counter. If their prescriptions cause drowsiness, they should work with their doctor to ensure their medication isn’t affecting their ability to drive safely.
- Test for sleep disorders. If truck drivers feel fatigued despite following the above tips, they may have a disorder that prevents them from getting restorative Truck drivers can discuss testing for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders with their doctor.
- Use safety technology. Trucks equipped with safety technology can issue several alerts or take action if a driver experiences drowsiness behind the wheel. Some examples include lane departure warnings, automatic braking, and wearable technology that can detect and alert drivers if they’re drowsy.
Truck drivers may think they can push through the last leg of their trip by drinking more coffee, relying on energy drinks, or rolling down the windows. However, it’s not worth it to drive while tired when the risks include injuries and fatalities. Contact the experts at Interstate Motor Carriers to learn more about reducing risk within your fleet.