How To Stay Alert On The Road

Fatigue is one of the biggest enemies of the long-haul truck driver. Although laws exist to protect drivers from spending too much time on the road, driver fatigue is still an issue. If you are a trucker, you need to follow the law and take steps to stay alert at all times. 

Federal Law

In 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) changed the rules, requiring you to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of your shift. They also changed the restart rule, reducing the time drivers could work per week from 82 hours to 70.  Although most drivers do not work those hours, the new rules served to help those of you who were subjected to such a grueling schedule.  Now, shifts are limited to no more than 11 hours. Although some drivers feel these changes were not in your best interest, they are now the law, and you have to operate within their boundaries.

Chronic Fatigue

Studies show that tired truck drivers cause 750 deaths and 20,000 injuries annually. Fatigue affects you in the same way that being intoxicated does. Even being moderately tired can severely impair your judgment and performance. Getting enough rest is the only cure for this condition. 

Staying Alert

You can take steps to fight off road fatigue that are more effective than grabbing a sugary treat or downing a ton of caffeine. The energy crash that follows these substances can make you even sleepier. Experts suggest that you take a brief nap right before you hit the road. Also, pull over periodically and take a twenty-minute nap when you find yourself overly tired. These brief rest periods can give you enough energy to drive safely until you can stop for the night. 

Eat a healthy meal before you take to the road. Avoid fast food and stick to fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Also, stock up on healthy snacks like nuts and yogurt for the trip. Remember to bring along your vitamins, as well. If you are healthy, you will remain physically and mentally alert longer. Also, stay hydrated but choose water. Anything with caffeine will cause you to urinate more often, something you obviously want to avoid.

When you have a deadline to meet, skimping on rest may seem like a good idea. You cannot drive safely when you are overly tired, however. Rest and a healthy lifestyle are your best weapons to fight driver fatigue. 

If you are in the market for a semi truck, contact a company such as Arrow Truck Sales.