How Can Truck Drivers Get More Sleep?
Sleep, and quality sleep, is crucial for our health as human beings. For those working in a safety sensitive career, such as trucking, sleep is even more important.
§ 392.3 Ill or fatigued operator. No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver's ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle. However, in a case of grave emergency where the hazard to occupants of the commercial motor vehicle or other users of the highway would be increased by compliance with this section, the driver may continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle to the nearest place at which that hazard is removed.
Not only should you make sure that your drivers are getting enough sleep for compliance sake, but also for their safety. Sleep has major effect on driving ability, and driving fatigued can be extremely dangerous to you and those around you.
There are many ways to improve the quality of sleep you are getting and ways to get more sleep overall. Here are a few quick tips:
Schedule breaks into your route. Driving until you feel like you can't continue isn't the best safety practice. Schedule yourself breaks, whether that's to stretch your legs or to take a quick nap throughout your shift to manage fatigue in the last hours of your drive.
Comfortable place to sleep. You will get more quality sleep if you are taking a nap somewhere comfortable. If your vehicle has a sleeper berth, make sure that you feel very comfortable and "at home" there to ensure you are getting good sleep.
Avoid late night caffeine. Truckers drive at all hours of the day, so if your shift starts at 9 p.m. having coffee or an energy drink isn't a bad idea. However, try to avoid caffeine as your shift dwindles to an end or within a few hours of your planned sleep time. Even if you feel that you're able to sleep after having caffeine, you won't be getting the best quality of sleep.
Exercise. After sitting in the truck all day, it is really important to get out and stretch your legs, especially before you go to bed. It’s hard to get much exercise when you’re driving a truck for extended periods but try to find time to get a little workout in, even if that workout is just a quick walk.
Take a Nap. If you are feeling drowsy, pull over somewhere you and your vehicle are safe and take a quick power nap. Ten minutes could make all the difference in the world, and you'll wake up feeling refreshed. Set an alarm for 20-30 minutes so you don't over sleep, making it difficult to sleep later in the evening.
Quality sleep greatly reduces the risks that come with driving a commercial motor vehicle. Being on the road is a demanding career and takes a major told on your body. It is crucial that you take care of yourself and reduce the risks you face on the road every single day but taking steps to ensure you are getting proper and quality sleep.
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