How Sleep Deprivation Affects Professional Truckers
Drivers’ actions are a contributing cause of the truck accidents. And of course, sleep deprivation increases these risks even more. According to NSC, drowsy driving accounts for about 100,000 truck and car crashes annually. Driving commercial vehicles requires more concentration and precision, which is difficult to achieve if you don’t get enough sleep.
The Impact of Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving is a serious problem in our country. It means that you drive your vehicle while fatigued or sleepy. If you have a hard time remembering the last few miles, you often yawn and blink, or even miss your exit, this is a wake-up call. You obviously need to get a good sleep and stick to a sleep schedule in the future. Of course, this can be problematic if you are an OTR truck driver, but proper planning of your trip is the key to success.
It is not easy to make great decisions if you don’t get the sleep you need. And it gets especially dangerous when you try to control an 80,000 pounds vehicle.
What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?
- You’re easily distracted
- Your reaction is slower
- Your short-term concentration and ability to focus decline
- It becomes harder for you to remember things
- You suffer from mood swings and irritability
- The road can have a hypnotic effect on you
- Drowsy driving is similar to driving under the influence
What has been done to prevent lack of sleep and fatigue in truck drivers?
According to the Hours of Service (HOS) rule developed by FMCSA truckers can drive/work a maximum 14-hour shift before they are required to go off duty or into the sleeper berth for 10 hours. HOS was created to ensure the safety of commercial drivers and those who drive on the roads with them.
Tips to help drivers sleep better and stay safer
Of course, the HOS rules cannot guarantee that a trucker will get good sleep. Here are some tips that help you to have a better schedule and improve the quality of your sleep:
- Plan your trip and rest
- Use earplugs or a white noise machine
- Don’t drink too much caffeine
- Turn off your phone
- Buy a quality mattress and pillow
- Maintain a comfortable cab temperature