Most motorists are familiar with the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. However, there’s another form of impaired driving that many people are regularly guilty of – fatigued driving.
While driving drowsy or fatigued can increase the risk of an accident for any driver on the road, it can be especially severe when the drowsy driver is a commercial trucker. Commercial vehicles’ size and weight are no match for the average passenger car, and truck drivers are often working under unrealistic deadlines and inadequate sleep.
According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 13% of truck drivers were fatigued at the time of their collision. In a separate study, one-fourth of truck drivers surveyed had an increased tendency to fall asleep behind the wheel. Fortunately, there are a few techniques truckers can use to stay awake and prevent accidents on the road:
1. Get plenty of sleep
There’s no substitute for a good night’s rest, and most adults require between seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Just like driving drunk, driving drowsy effect a truck driver’s response time to road hazards and increases their risk of getting into a crash.
2. Take a quick nap
Did you know that a short nap is more effective at restoring your energy than coffee? If a trucker feels drowsy behind the wheel, pulling over for a quick rest can increase their safety. A short nap can last a minimum of ten minutes with an ideal maximum of 45 minutes. Truckers should allow at least 15 minutes after waking up before they start driving to wake up fully.
3. Check medications
Many medications can induce drowsiness as a side effect, including over-the-counter medicines like cold medicine. Truck drivers should check their medication labels for a warning indicating not to operate vehicles or machinery during use or check with their pharmacist.
4. Don’t rely on quick fixes for fatigue
Many drivers think doing things like turning up the radio volume, opening the window or drinking coffee can help keep them awake. Unfortunately, these solutions are usually only useful for increasing alertness in the short term. A short nap is much more effective at replenishing attentiveness.
Staying well-rested is essential for keeping all drivers safe on the road. However, if a fatigued truck driver has injured you or a loved one, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you seek fair compensation.