Fatigue is an issue nearly every driver faces at one point or another, especially when their role requires driving for long periods.
According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), 13% of commercial motor vehicle drivers were considered fatigued at the time of their crash. Having a plan in place to help identify and prevent fatigue is essential as it allows for safer travel. While drivers may recognize their level of fatigue, some common indicators include:
- Repeated yawning
- Inability to keep eyes open or nodding in and out
- Drifting in and out of lane
- Blinking more than usual
Now that we know some of the signs, here are 4 tips to help prevent fatigue:
- Get enough sleep
- This may seem obvious, but it is important to get a full night’s sleep (8 hours) when possible. A 15-minute nap is a quick and easy way to help prevent fatigue.
- Live a healthy lifestyle
- Eating a balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables (5-10 servings per day) keeps the body supplied with the nutrients it needs to perform.
- Avoiding stimulants like caffeine that give your mind and body a short-term artificial boost of energy and alertness can improve health. If you enjoy coffee and energy drinks, try to cut back on the amount you drink.
- Eating lighter meals can help. Eating a big, heavy meal can leave you feeling sleepy. If you pack your own meals and snacks, try packing smaller portions.
- Avoid medication that may induce drowsiness
- Many prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can increase drowsiness and fatigue and can negatively impact the ability to drive. It is important to carefully read the labels for any OTC medicines before driving.
- Drivers should tell their doctors about their CDL job duties so medicines with fewer side effects can be prescribed.
- Do not rely on tricks to stay awake
- Some common suggestions include turning up the radio and opening a window. These are temporary solutions and do not usually resolve the root issue.
Following these tips can help drivers prevent fatigue. Staying awake, alert, and present is key to making it home safely at the end of a long day.