Driver fatigue is an unfortunate side effect of driving long hours among delivery drivers and employees who provide off-site services. It increases accidents and is even responsible for serious injuries and fatalities on the road. According to The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), 13 percent of Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers had been fatigued when they crashed their truck.Insurance Journal found that 20 percent of auto accidents are caused by the driver being fatigued. This shows how important it is to teach drivers how to avoid fatigue and recognize it when they do experience excess tiredness.
Signs of Driver Fatigue
Drivers should first be aware of the signs of fatigue. By understanding when it is occurring, they can pull their truck over and get some rest before getting back on the road. Some common symptoms of fatigue include slow reaction time, constant yawning, having heavy or sore eyes, irritability and impatience, driving speed going up or down without noticing it, not concentrating on driving, lack of motivation, and impaired performance while driving.
Get Better Sleep
The first tip for combating driver fatigue is by getting better sleep at night. By losing sleep, employee drivers risk becoming fatigued a lot faster than drivers who sleep a full eight hours. Improving the sleeping environment can be helpful in getting a full night’s of restful sleep. This may include sleeping in a dark and quiet room, having a cool temperature, turning on a white noise machine, and having a comfortable bed and pillow.
Watch Caffeine Intake
You may think by drinking caffeine you are staying awake longer, but the end result may be worse for you. You will get a very short burst of energy after caffeine, but you may experience a much longer crash. This crash is much worse than the tiredness you would have felt if you never had caffeine in the first place. You don’t have to give it up altogether, but limit how much you have overall.
Take Breaks Often
After every 2-3 hours on the road, you should be taking a break. Pull over at the nearest rest stop and take a short nap if you’re feeling tired. Get out of the truck as well, stretching your legs and getting your blood flowing. This helps keep you awake throughout your shift. Ten hours is usually the maximum amount to be driving each day. If you drive more than that in a day, take frequent breaks and longer ones so you can get the proper rest and exercise.
Participate in the NAFMP Program
If your employees are struggling with fatigue, let them participate in the North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP). This teaches you and your employees how to properly address driver fatigue and offers excellent tips and advice for avoiding fatigue-related crashes.
Driver fatigue is nothing to take lightly. It leads to accidents that could injure you, other drivers on the road or even lead to fatalities. Take it seriously and follow these tips for avoiding fatigue while driving, while also being covered with commercial auto insurance.