Transportation trucking drivers work very long days and develop inconsistent and unhealthy sleep schedules. A driver’s pay is often based on the amount of work they get done, so they may have greater incentive to remain awake and alert for as long as they can. Although sleep is fundamental, there are a few easy ways for heavy haul trucking drivers to stay awake and alert longer on the job.
Avoid high contrast lights at night. When you drive at night, the contrast between the pitch black of the outdoors, when matched with the brightness of the headlights and dashboard, will wear you down and make your eyes feel very heavy. One simple way to avoid this when heavy haul trucking through the night is by placing soft, small red lights inside the cab to brighten up the interior at night. Another thing you can do is lower the dashboard light so that it is bright enough to see, but not jarring as you drive through the night.
Remain calm. That’s not a warning, just a piece of advice. By allowing yourself to get worked up over an aggressive driver or a fight you recently had with a friend, you’re eventually going to crash — not the truck, but your body will crash and demand that you give it sleep. Just let go of the strong emotions and focus on driving.
Turn down the temperature. We feel the sleepiest when it’s warm and cozy, so even if the snows are blaring outside your truck, try and keep the temperature to a moderate level. If you feel yourself growing tired, try lowering the temperature so that it’s a little chilly inside your cab. This will give you a nice burst of energy.
Moderate your caffeine intake. Coffee is a fickle thing. Not enough and you might feel lethargic and unable to focus, too much and you’ll feel alert and unable to focus. And, of course, the crash from coffee is something to worry about. Caffeine from coffee or energy drinks is certainly no replacement for sleep, and for your own safety, you should never treat it as such. But caffeine is necessary sometimes, and is a great boost of energy when you start to grow weary. Keep on drinking coffee if that’s what you do, but make sure to moderate your intake and know when to stop.
Nap regularly. You should never substitute a good night’s sleep for a nap, but if you start to lose focus or need a break from transportation trucking, don’t try and fight that either. Pushing through your tiredness can only end badly. Pull over at a rest stop or even on the side of the road if you feel yourself getting sleepy.