It's said that driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk, because you simply cannot give the road and surrounding environment as much attention as you should. For truckers in particular, this is a critical issue they may be at a higher risk of encountering than other motorists. As a consequence, you need to do all you can to avoid drowsiness and fatigue throughout the day so you can be as alert as possible any time you're behind the wheel.
The following tips should help you do just that:
1) Look at your sleep schedule
It seems to be a fact of life in trucking: You probably don't get as much good, restful sleep as you need, according to Doft. For that reason, you might need to do more to improve your sleep, and the schedule when you get it. A nap or two throughout the day isn't a substitute for a full night's sleep.
Investing in things that will help you doze off overnight - like sleep masks, blackout curtains, ear plugs and so on - is always a good idea, so you'll wake up refreshed and ready to go.
2) Hydrate often
Not only is drinking plenty of water good for your health overall, it's also important to staying alert, Doft noted. You may not realize it, but drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help you stay alert almost as effectively as a caffeinated beverage, and dehydration can also lead to headaches, discomfort and drowsiness.
3) Take breaks consistently
While many truckers just want to get where they're going, experts say it's a good idea to pull over every two or three hours and take a break, according to Evans Distribution. While you may not think of it this way, any time you're behind the wheel, your brain is hard at work processing a ton of information every second, and it's more tiring than you might think. Taking a break, even if it's just for a few minutes, can go a long way toward helping you stay alert.
4) Switch up your listening
Many drivers like to listen to music when they're on the road, and others prefer to listen to radio shows or podcasts, Evans Distribution added. There's nothing wrong with either option, except to say that it can sometimes be beneficial to be more proactive about switching between these options. Changing things up like this can help wake you up more than you expect, because your brain will have to process different information.
5) Reexamine your diet
Every trucker has likely heard time and again that there's a lot of value in maintaining a healthy diet, and that's certainly true when it comes to avoiding fatigue, according to the Advanced Career Institute. Eating better, and sticking with smaller meals, means your body doesn't have to work as hard and has all the right fuel it needs to operate at top capacity for longer periods of time. That, in turn, helps keep you more alert behind the wheel.
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