It is not uncommon for a truck driver to get sleepy while on route to their delivery destination. Carrying thousands of pounds of cargo, plus enduring long stretches of roadways can quickly lead to fatigue. Feeling exhausted while behind the wheel can endanger others on the road. Here we cover aspects of truck driver sleepiness, and the dangers associated with not getting sufficient rest.
What is a direct cause of truck driver fatigue?
A combination of factors can actually contribute to truck driver fatigue. The most direct cause is usually lacking both a healthy amount, and quality of sleep. The other factors of driver fatigue include:
- Driving during normal sleeping hours
- Mental boredom
- Untreated sleep disorders
- Lacking sufficient breaks
- Poor diet while traveling
How can a truck driver alleviate fatigue while on route?
There are a couple main ways to decrease the level of fatigue a truck driver experiences while on the road. Firstly, adequate breaks must be taken. Most often, a truck driver is required to take a break once reaching their maximum amount of driving hours for the day. However, due to the pressure of making deadlines, a driver may feel influenced to skip a break or two. Secondly, the driver must recover from lack of sleep by resting for the amount of hours they have lost.
What can a truck driver do to prevent from mental boredom?
Mental boredom can contribute to fatigue as well. A driver can listen to podcasts relevant to their personal interests, consider having a travel buddy such as a coworker, spouse or canine companion. Listen to audiobooks, upbeat music and radio shows.
What are common symptoms of truck driver fatigue?
A sleepy truck driver can be easily noticed by others on the road. The driver may be swerving in their lane or otherwise driving oddly. A full list of symptoms are listed as follows:
- Challenges focusing
- Head nodding, as if about to fall asleep
- Poor travel judgements
- Zoning out or daydreaming
- Yawning frequently
- Wandering thoughts
- Rubbing eyes often
- Drifting within lane
- Unable to keep eyes open
- Slowed reaction time
What makes fatigue while driving so dangerous?
Driving while too tired to keep eyes open can lead to what is known as micro-sleep. This is where a driver may sleep for very brief moments, only a few seconds at time and not even realize it. This is the body’s attempt at desperately gaining rest that has been put off for a long time. Micro-sleep is dangerous because in these few seconds of sleep, it is enough focus away from the wheel to cause a truck accident. For example, a truck driver could not notice a light has turned red, misses a stop sign, doesn’t see a pedestrian crossing the street or speeds unknowingly.
The average truck with a fully stocked cargo can weigh around 80,000 pounds. Sometimes, the material being transported is hazardous and incredibly harmful if it were to leak after a collision. If you happen to see a truck driver driving unsafely or in an abnormal manner, call 9-1-1 so an officer can get the driver off the road before causing a truck accident. However, if you are too late and are involved in a truck accident, seek the counsel of a Trucking Accident Lawyer Colorado drivers trust to provide you with legal guidance.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cannon Hadfield Stieben & Doutt, LLC for their insight into truck accidents.