According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, driver fatigue refers to the result of physical or mental exertion that impairs performance. It can be caused by a lack of sleep due to long work hours, activities not related to work, or a combination of the two.
A study conducted by the Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers had experienced fatigue at the time of their crash. A lack of sleep can cause a crash to happen. It impact’s a driver’s reaction time. The National Safety Council found that when drivers are tired they are three times more likely to be involved in an accident.
Easy Steps To Reducing Driver Fatigue
Doing everything you can to prevent driver fatigue increases the safety of the truck drivers as well as other drivers on the road. It can also help to prevent any disruptions in a business’s operations. Here are some things you can do to help reduce fatigue:
Get Enough Rest
Making sure you have gotten enough rest is an important step to preventing driver fatigue. You can do this by planning a time to sleep between the hours of 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. These are periods when your body may feel drowsy.
One study conducted by the FMCSA reported that driver alertness was impacted by the time of day more so than how long drivers had been on the job. Despite this, drivers should still manage how long they have been on the road as it may enhance any fatigue they are experiencing due to the time of day.
Watch What You Eat
The food and drinks you consume can also affect your body’s energy levels and lack thereof. This is why experts recommend eating a healthy, balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Try eating a light snack before you go to bed. It could help you sleep throughout the night.
When you are not well-rested, the lack of sleep can impact your alertness and contribute to feeling fatigued. Slow reaction times can result in more accidents. A lack of sleep can also promote reduced attention, memory lapses, mood changes, and impaired judgment.
Take a Nap
Naps can be a good thing! They work well when they are at least 10 minutes long. However, it is advised that when you feel like you need a nap, you take one for up to 45 minutes. Also, it’s a good idea to nap for at least 15 minutes before getting back on the road.
Some believe that naps are more helpful in addressing fatigue than driving a cup of coffee. It is thought that naps help prevent drowsiness and are more impactful in maintaining a driver’s performance than naps for a person who is already drowsy. So, it might be a good idea to plan for naps over long periods of driving time.
Avoid Certain Medications
When you consume certain medications it could contribute to a driver feeling drowsy. This can be dangerous when getting behind the wheel. Most medications that cause drowsiness will have a warning clearly labeled on the bottle. It’s important to check this when consuming medicine before or in the middle of a job that requires alertness. Typically, cold medicines, allergy pills, sleeping pills, etc. will cause drowsiness.
One study found that about 17 percent of commercial motor vehicle crashes involved the use of over-the-counter drugs at the time of the crash. If you are driving with a cold, it may be best to remedy the cold in other ways than consuming cold medicine.
Know the Signs
When drivers know the signs of fatigued driving, they can proactively respond to it. Some of the signs are heavy eyes, blurred vision, and yawning. One study found that three out of every four commercial motor vehicle drivers said they had experienced at least one driving error due to feeling fatigued.
Prioritizing Your Safety and Success
The safety of your drivers directly impacts the success of your business. Transportation companies must prioritize safety by addressing driver fatigue. It’s equally as important that companies possess adequate insurance coverage for their fleets.
Forerunner Insurance can help your transportation business with our various insurance solutions that include but are not limited to dump truck insurance, fleet vehicles insurance, and commercial vehicle insurance.
Please contact us to get started! Our team members will walk you through selecting the best insurance policies that will benefit your business.