The long hours, eye fatigue, and irregular sleeping schedules associated with long-haul driving can make it difficult for truck drivers to stay awake. However, when driving such a large vehicle and hauling expensive or potentially hazardous cargo, staying alert is imperative for everyone’s safety on the road. Even though the odds may seem unfavorable, there are some tips and strategies that can help truck drivers stay awake and focused.
Don’t Rely on Caffeine
Caffeine can help keep you awake so you can get through those few extra miles when needed, but relying on it can make things difficult. The crash that happens afterward can make you really tired, but that’s only half the story. People often forget that the more caffeine they drink, the higher their tolerance becomes, meaning they have to drink more and more in order to get the same effect. Not only is this not so great for the heart, but it also means harder crashes and more bathroom breaks, as caffeine is a diuretic.
Invest in Audio Entertainment
Of course, you’ll want to use hands-free technology when you’re on the road, but listening to your favorite tunes can help you avoid highway hypnosis and stay awake. You’re certainly not limited to music either; you can listen to podcasts, guided meditations for focus, exciting audiobooks, or even consider phoning a friend. Making a playlist of things you like to listen to can help your brain stay engaged while you keep both hands on the wheel.
Learn Your Limits
At some point, you’re just going to have to take a break, so you need to learn your limits and understand when your body needs time to recover. Dissociating, eyes going in and out of focus, having trouble with memory, and excessive yawning are all signs of driving fatigue. However, fatigue isn’t the only limitation you should be aware of—you should also pay attention to your emotional state. If you notice yourself getting excessively frustrated, easily angered, or anxious, find a safe space to stop your truck and take some time for self-care.
Eat Small, Frequent Meals
Food is fuel, but eating too much can make you feel sleepy. Small, frequent, nutritious meals will give you the energy you need to keep going without making you feel tired. Much like caffeine, sugary snacks that lack complex carbs and nutrients can make you crash harder and more frequently. Understandably, you don’t want to make excess stops to eat more meals. Reviewing the route beforehand and planning your meals accordingly can make all the difference in helping you stay awake and focused as you drive your truck.