Electronic logging devices and mandated breaks are showing a marked improvement in safety with a reduction in accidents. However, trucking still remains a high-pressure job where driver fatigue is still an issue. All the regulations in the world cannot force a person’s body to be alert. In fact, quite a few truckers point to the ELD mandate as inducing driver fatigue from the added pressure of moving goods on a tighter daily schedule. Fortunately, there are a few things every trucker can do to remain alert and reduce driver fatigue while on the road.
Cut out coffee and energy drinks
Coffee and energy drink sales are very high among truckers. Part of the reason for this is because the body reacts strongly to caffeine, but then it crashes and needs more to function. To keep up energy levels and reduce driver fatigue, truckers should swap out caffeine for high-energy foods like nuts or protein bars. The trick is not to make the transition suddenly, because the immediate lack of caffeine may cause you to be irritable and unfocused. Introduce natural foods as you reduce your caffeine intake to make a successful transition.
Stay cool out there
Warmth is great, but if the temperature is too high, the human body becomes tired – it’s a natural response. As we enter the warmer months of spring and summer, it is important to keep your cab cooler. Crank the AC a little. Roll down the window to keep the fresh air circulating. If your environment is cooler, your brain and reflexes are more alert, and you can keep from getting fatigued when making long hauls.
Combat driver fatigue with a nap
If you’re tired, don’t fight it. Covering a lot of miles means nothing if you put yourself in harm’s way by lowering your reaction time or falling asleep at the wheel. If you are tired or your energy levels are low, pull off the road for a quick nap. Even 15 minutes can do wonders and allow you to push on through for the rest of your shift.
Taking time to assess your alertness and how tired you are can mean the difference between a day without incidents or potentially getting involved in a bad accident.