Whether it's a commuter or a seasoned trucker with hundreds of thousands of miles under their belt, just about everyone knows what it's like to get a little drowsy behind the wheel. However, they also likely recognize how risky driving drowsy actually is; many studies show it can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.
As such, truckers should always have a plan to avoid this kind of dicey behavior and put the safety of themselves and other motorists first. The following suggestions should help you do just that:
1) Get proper rest
This would be the most obvious step to avoiding drowsy driving, but it's one truckers often can't quite nail down, according to Knight Transportation. Getting in a nap during the day, getting to sleep at the right time, staying asleep for the full 6-8 hours you need and so on are all going to be your most effective weapon to combat drifting off in the driver's seat.
2) Keep your cabin temperature relatively cool
It makes perfect sense that when you're warm, you're a little cozier and ready to fall asleep, so keeping your cab temperature cool when you're still driving is critical, Knight Transportation added. You don't want to make yourself uncomfortably cold, of course, but just enough to keep you alert until you get to a place you can safely stop is a good idea.
3) Pull over when you notice you've started to yawn or blink more
A classic sign that you're getting drowsy before you actually start putting yourself at risk is when you're blinking more or just starting to yawn, according to Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer. It's as true now as ever: "yawning" equals "tired," and when you notice that this is happening, you should start looking for an opportunity to pull over.
4) Realize what a simple mistake may mean
Another way to tell if you're starting to get drowsy is if you make a simple mistake you wouldn't have normally made, Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer advised. Even before your eyelids start to get a little heavy, missteps like passing your exit or drifting into the other lane are huge red flags that you should get off the road.
5) Get a better handle on stress management
You may not realize it, but stress and tension can actually make you more tired throughout the day, according to Big Road. For that reason, you might want to look into ways you can start handling stress better in your daily duties. Not only will that help you avoid drowsy driving, but it will also have a positive impact on other aspects of your job and personal life.
6) Create a schedule and stick to it
Finally, a great way to make sure you never find yourself in a position where you're getting tired at the wheel is to have a more rigorous daily schedule where you're waking up at the same time every day, Big Road said. That will just your body get used to a routine that ensures you can always do your job safely.
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