You must be well aware how sleep deprivation feels like. Now, imagine yourself driving an 18 wheeler in that state. The truck drivers are often required to travel a long distance to complete a delivery. Some begin their route far from home, meaning that they are required to commute for hours to start a long haul shift. The trucking companies that are bent on reaching goods to a given destination by a particular point of time often force the drivers to forego sleep.
Many people get injured in commercial vehicle crashes. Tight deadlines and long hours behind the wheel offer fewer opportunities to rest. Though log books are used for verifying if the trucker is spending too much time behind wheels, there are several drivers who enter false information here to stay on road, longer.
Driving and lack of sleep is never a right combination. The significance lies in understanding why it is so risky for the truck drivers. Here are a few ways by which sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on roads.
Loss of Reflex
Hampered mental clarity, as well as dull reflexes, invite accidents. Sleep deprivation brings down alertness as well as the reaction time of an individual. This will impair judgment as well as motor skills, both of which are significant components for safe driving, particularly when someone is operating an 18 wheeler.
According to NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 2.5% of the fatal road accidents are caused owing to sleep deprivation.
In the worst scenarios, the driver may fall asleep while driving. You can easily guess the result in case the driver of an 18 wheeler falls asleep while driving. Even dozing off for only a few seconds may throw the truck of the highway or send it ramming against another vehicle.
The capacity to process information suffers a decline in instances of fatigue.
The truck drivers find it hard to process information in case they need to sit behind the wheels, deprived of adequate rest.
Culture of Sleeplessness
We often downplay the value of sleep not just in the trucking industry but in other industries as well. Significance lies in understanding that the human body needs sleep just as it needs food, water as well as oxygen. The body may adapt for a while but it is bound to show the signs of sleeplessness within little time.
The truck drivers need to take care of themselves to remain safe on roads.
For the truck drivers, here are a few tips to consider to take adequate rest and evade problems pertaining to drowsiness.
Monitor the Evening Diet
Monitoring the evening diet helps a lot in remaining alert on road. Make sure to limit caffeine intake as much as possible. There are several energy drinks as well as soft beverages that can fill body with caffeine. This can remain in the system for 8 to 14 hours. The truck drivers need to think twice about the midafternoon caffeine usage as that means difficulty sleeping at night.
Other dietary suggestions include avoiding spicy as well as heavy foods as well as smoking cigarettes before going to bed.
Counter Fatigue as Soon as Possible
Driving vehicles is a huge responsibility and as you can guess, driving the 18 wheelers are an even greater responsibility. You need to identify the signs so that the risks can be mitigated as soon as possible. You need to be aware of the telltale signs of sleep deprivation like heavy eyelids, highway hypnosis or constant desire to have caffeine. Precise evaluation of why you are feeling tired will aid with correcting your sleep cycle.
Foster Better Sleeping Environment
You can allow yourself a better night’s sleep through implementation of small changes in nighttime surroundings. Make sure that there is minimal light exposure while you are sleeping by putting up shades or curtains or by wearing a sleep mask. You can also use earplugs while you are sleeping.
If you can fit in adequate rest in your daily schedule, you will always feel alert as well as fresh while you are behind the wheel. Also, make sure that you abide by all the laws and regulations set by the government.