Driving a truck often means long days and disjointed sleep schedules. It also means staying awake – or more importantly alert – for long stretches of time. It’s the only way to safe on the road.
There are a number of things you can do to stay alert for longer. Here are seven for starters…
Avoid high contrast lights at night
The greater the contrast between light and dark can mean the more tired your eyes feel. When the rest of your surroundings are pitch black, having a bright dashboard and headlights in front of you can wear you out. To avoid this, turn your dash lights down so they’re just bright enough to see the gauges and use soft lighting inside the cab. The other (really obvious) tip is not to look directly at oncoming headlights.
When the temperature drops it tempting to whack up the heaters. While a warm cab can feel cosy, it’ll also make you sleepy. Keep your cab temperature lower rather than higher – cool is good, but a little bit chilly is even better for staying awake.
Keep your emotions in check
We all have our good days, and we all have our bad days. Whether you’re fresh from an argument with dispatch or have just been cut up by yet another space cadet driver, it’s easy to brood. The only trouble is the longer you hold onto those emotions, the more worn out you’ll feel. Try and keep your emotions (good and bad) on an even keel.
Avoid big doses of coffee
We all need a caffeine hit. For most of us that means a cup of coffee every day. By all means enjoy your daily dose, but watch out for a caffeine overload. A large coffee is fine – it’s the perfect pick-me-up. However, a large coffee followed by an energy drink, might not be such a good idea.
Think about how much you’re eating
A full belly makes anyone want to sleep so avoid eating too much in one sitting. Smaller, more regular meals and snacks are the best option if you want to keep your energy levels up and avoid the post-scoff slump!
Get some exercise…
Getting out of the cab and going for a walk – even just for five minutes – can work wonders for your energy levels.
… Or have a nap
Sometimes exercise is going to feel too much like hard work. In which case it’s definitely time for a nap. Whether it’s a quick power nap or a longer snooze it’ll make a big difference.
You know what your limits are behind the wheel. Be careful not to push them too far.