Fatigue plays a major role in accidents involving tractor trailers and other large trucks. In fact, nearly 4,000 people are killed in these accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Transport Canada reports that roughly 30 percent of fatalities involving large trucks are associated with driver fatigue.
Truck drivers who are heavy haulers in Grande Prairie or similar places are under considerable pressure to reach their destinations as quickly as possible, which can cause some drivers to stay on the road for longer hours at a time without adequate rest. When this happens, these drivers have a higher risk of falling asleep at the wheel or making poor driving decisions while on the road. Those who drive big rigs or other vehicles that do heavy hauling can lower their risk of causing an accident by preventing fatigue in the following ways.
Don't Sweat It
Sitting in a truck for hours at a time when it's stuffy can make truck drivers feel drowsier than usual. Making sure the air conditioner is fully functional and cranked up can help keep drivers more alert. The same goes for drivers' sleep environments. Cooler temperatures lead to better sleep quality, while warmer ones can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay sleeping comfortably.
Use It or Lose It
Breaks might seem like a luxury for truck drivers who are under a lot of pressure to get to their destination, but they're necessary. Drivers should take at least a 10-minute break every couple of hours to stretch their legs and get their eyes off the road for a short time. Doing stretches or walking around briskly during these breaks can help get the blood pumping, leading to increased alertness.
Sleep Does a Body Good
A lack of sleep or poor sleep quality are among the main causes of fatigue. Many truck drivers sleep in their vehicles, which don't always provide the most comfortable sleep environments. Drivers can improve this by using a white noise machine to block out sounds from outside, blocking incoming light with shades and making sure the truck is well-ventilated for better air flow. Other tips to improve sleep include going to sleep and waking up at the same times each day if possible, avoiding heavy meals a few hours before bedtime and limiting or avoiding caffeine at least five hours before bedtime.
Get a Little Silly
One of the more unusual yet effective ways for truck drivers who do heavy hauling to stop themselves from zoning out on the road is to do something slightly irritating. This might include lightly smacking their arm, pinching an earlobe or clucking their tongue. While it seems a bit silly, these moves can be enough to shake truck drivers out of a stupor.