Whether you're a professional trucker or an everyday commuter, everyone knows the risks of driving drowsy - and everyone has been there. But for truckers, the risk of growing sleepy behind the wheel is even greater because you could spend long stretches of the day or night on the road.
With that in mind, you need to set yourself up for success when it comes to staying alert. These tips should help:
1) Get the right amount of rest
The most important part of staying awake behind the wheel is to make sure you get as much good sleep as possible, according to All Trucking. Whether that means getting the full eight hours overnight, or squeezing in naps while your trailer is being loaded or unloaded and so on, the ensuring you're fully rested is a must for any trucker.
2) Don't eat so much junk food
While it's easy to buy at just about any truck stop, junk food has a negative effect on more than just your waistline, All Trucking advised. It can also make you a little more drowsy. As such, it's a good idea to only snack on healthy foods when you're already feeling tired, and to otherwise prioritize the food that's going to give you a bit of nutrition instead.
3) Hydrate regularly
Another great way to stay healthier and more alert behind the wheel is to drink plenty of water throughout the day, according to WJW Associates. Doctors recommend hydrating regularly as a general rule, but what you may not realize is how important it can be as an energizer. In some cases, a good amount of water first thing in the morning can be just as much of a pick-me-up as a cup of coffee.
4) Avoid a sugar or caffeine crash
And with respect to coffee, soda, energy drinks and the like, drinking them as a means of staying awake isn't necessarily a good idea, according to Trucking Truth. You might get an hour or two worth of boost, but at the end of that time period, you're going to come down hard and potentially put yourself and others in danger. If you know you will be on the road for longer than these beverages can keep you going, it's probably a better idea to pull over and take a break.
5) Don't push it
Indeed, if you're in the middle of a run and start to feel yourself getting drowsy, look for the first place you can pull over safely, Trucking Truth added. There's no good reason to gamble with this kind of issue and you're far better off being safe than sorry. Even if you're up against a deadline, lateness is far preferable to an accident.
Overall, it's important to listen to your body and know when you need a rest. Making the right call here is critical to maintaining a great driving record.
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