Truckers and other commercial drivers often spend many hours on the road. If these drivers experience fatigue behind the wheel, they are at risk of drowsy driving behaviors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsy driving causes major accidents and can result in tragic injuries. Here are a few things to keep in mind about this common risk.
How drowsy driving affects drivers
Drowsy driving has a similar effect on drivers as alcohol. When tired, motorists are more likely to experience a decreased reaction time and diminished attention span. Decision-making also decreases, which leaves drivers unable to make good decisions quickly.
Which drivers are at risk of drowsy driving
Commercial drivers, including truckers, bus drivers, and delivery personnel, have a high risk of drowsy driving because they spend so much time on the road. People who work the night shift are also more likely to drive fatigued due to changes in their sleep schedules. Certain medications can make a person drowsy, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
Signs that a driver should pull over and rest
While commercial truckers have very strict rules on how many consecutive hours they can drive, they should also watch for the common signs of driver fatigue. These signs include lane drifting, mentally blanking out for a few miles, or missing exits and traffic signs. Drowsy drivers may also blink or yawn uncontrollably, which is a clear sign to stop and rest.
All drivers can avoid fatigue by getting enough rest before getting behind the wheel. Truckers must also pay attention to their energy levels and take breaks as needed, so they can operate their vehicles safely.