Trucks, truck drivers and trucking companies have dominated the headlines this year. Everything from automation to the long hours, the trucking industry has taken its fair share of jabs recently. Unfortunately, there is one particular story that needs to be rectified: overworked drivers making mistakes. In today’s economy, trucks are making long trips, drivers are not getting enough sleep and accidents are happening. This is a terrible trend, and it’s causing the media to lose their shirts.
So, what’s the solution? Well, it may not end the entire industry’s issues, but it is a step in the right direction: keeping the drivers awake and alert. Long-haul trips are an inevitable part of the job, but the drivers need to endure the multi-day drives. A good, reliable Canadian trucking company will ensure their drivers are well-rested and prepared to handle the prolonged shift. But how is that even possible?
Here are five long-haul tips every trucking company should give drivers to stay awake:
1. Take a Nap Before the Shift
Studies have constantly highlighted the fact that cat naps can give us the necessary energy to survive hectic days. Ever taken one? They are completely rejuvenating.
Before you get inside of your truck and start your shift, you should take a 20-minute nap. And we mean a good 20 minutes: you can’t close your eyes for 10 minutes, check your phone for a couple of minutes and then shut your eyes again for a few more minutes. If you’re snoring, then you’re having a great nap!
2. Feel Tired? Pull Over
A few hours into your shift, and you’re already feeling exhausted. It’s normal to feel this way. With that said, should you start feeling tired, it would be wise to pull the truck over and either take a cat nap or stretch your legs.
One of the main reasons that you’re beginning to get fatigued is because your body isn’t moving, which prevents oxygen from moving to the muscles and cells. Pull over, get out of the truck and start stretching and moving your body around.
3. Eat a Healthy Meal & Stay Hydrated
Before, during and after your long-haul shift, you must eat a healthy meal. It is easy for a truck driver to find a fast-food restaurant or greasy diner on the road and imbibe a fatty and greasy hamburger and fries – and don’t forget a slice of cake.
Don’t fall for the Faustian meal plan. Be sure you have a balanced diet instead: vegetables, protein, fruit, grains. Also, remain hydrated at all times. You don’t want to be consuming sodas or coffee the entire time, though coffee can be great to have in the middle of the night. You will want plenty of water. In the end, if you’re not getting your nutrient-rich foods, take a multivitamin.
4. Turn on the Radio – Music or Talk Radio
You can feel sleepy when it’s midnight and it’s just you and the open road. You can prevent this from occurring by simply turning on the radio and listen to music or talk radio.
Music can help by giving you energy, while talk radio can keep you engaged. If you have ever listened to late-night AM radio, you’ll have heard a lot of truckers calling in and talking to the host, airing their grievances or complaining about politics. As long as you’re kept entertained for the night haul, you’ll stay awake and alert.
5. Keep the Window Open a Bit
One of the simplest and most effective measures you can employ is opening the window. Although the summer air won’t do you much good when you’re clocking in 10, 12 or 16 hours, the frigid winter will suffice. Indeed, your cockpit is likely cozy and comfortable while it is freezing outside.
What better way to give you a boost by disrupting your warm truck with below zero temperatures? Go ahead and just crack open a window!
Truck drivers need any leverage they can get a hold of to stay awake and alert. Whether it is the food they eat or trying to sneak in a nap before they head out for the open road, there are many ways drivers can keep their eyes wide open during their long-haul trips. Until automation can complement the human factor, your man drivers will need to utilize every trick to stay awake.