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Fatigued Driving: What Truckers Should Know

Fatigued Truck Driving What You Should Know

Fatigue is the result of physical or mental exertion that impairs performance. Fatigued Driving may be caused by a lack of adequate sleep, driving when you would normally be sleeping ( i.e overnight), strenuous work or non-work activities, sleep disorders like sleep apnea, or a combination of factors.

For better or for worse, humans have a general internal day/night clock that controls their wake/sleep cycles (circadian rhythm) and it dictates the daily pattern of alertness. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study reported that 13 % of CMV drivers were considered to have been fatigued at the time of their crash. Research has also shown that staying awake for 18 hours (in a row) can be compared to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08, or legal intoxication.

What Knight Expects: Every Driving Associate has the responsibility and authority to stop and rest anytime they are too tired or sick or conditions are unsafe to drive. We only ask that Driving Associates contact us and let us know what they are doing so we know they are safe and can update the customer of any delay.

Below are tips to help you stay healthy and well-rested during all your trips and how to avoid truck driver fatigue:

TIP #1: Get Enough Sleep Before Getting Behind the Wheel

Be sure to get an adequate amount of sleep each night, 7-8 hours ideally. If possible, do not drive while your body is naturally drowsy, like between the hours of 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. Driver drowsiness may impair a driver’s response time to potential hazards, increasing the chances of being in a serious crash.

If you do become drowsy while driving, choose a safe place to pull over and rest, no sitting duck.

TIP # 2: Recognize the Types of Signals and Warning Signs of Fatigue

  • Physical signals: frequent yawning, frequent blinking of the eyes, blurred vision.
  • Performance warning signs: lane drifting, difficulty maintaining a constant speed.
  • Driver’s Mannerism signals: rubbing the face, frozen stare, feeling restless or irritable.

“‘Alertness Tricks” such as smoking, turning up the radio, drinking coffee, opening the window are not real cures for drowsiness and fatigue. They may give a driver a false sense of security.

TIP # 3: Take a Nap

If possible, you should take a nap when feeling drowsy or less alert. Naps should last 10 to 45 minutes. Allow at least 15 minutes after waking to fully recover before starting to drive.

Why Don’t Drivers Stop? Lack of safe and legal parking, the demands of the job, being on time.

TIP #4: Avoid Medications That Induce Drowsiness

Most drowsiness inducing medications include a warning label indicating that you should not operate vehicles or machinery during use.

Common medicines that make you drowsy are: sleeping pills or allergy and cold medicines

TIP # 5: Maintain a Healthy Diet

Skipping meals or eating at irregular times may lead to fatigue and/or food cravings. Also, going to bed with an empty stomach or immediately after a heavy meal can interfere with sleep.

Fatigued driving is a serious issue for truck drivers. Use our fatigue driving tips and remain safe out there!


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