Drowsy driving is a major problem for truckers in Texas and the rest of the U.S. The FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that some 13% of CMV drivers involved in crashes were drowsy. The following are six tips that truckers should consider to avoid fatigue while working.
The first tip is, of course, to catch enough sleep and to avoid driving immediately after waking up, when one is still in a state of sleep inertia. Drivers can try to avoid traveling during those times when the body is naturally more fatigued, such as between midnight and 6 a.m. and between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Second, truckers should eat regularly for the sake of more restful sleep.
Third, truckers should avoid taking medications that induce drowsiness. That includes not only the obvious medications like sleeping pills but also many cold and allergy medicines. Fourth, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of drowsiness — heavy eyelids and constant yawning being just two of the more obvious.
If truckers are feeling drowsy or even less alert, then they should consider a 10- to 45-minute nap. Studies show that naps do more to restore energy than coffee. Lastly, truckers should not rely on “alertness tricks” like rolling down the window or smoking. These don’t work.
Operating a CMV while drowsy is a form of truck driver negligence that can provide the basis for a personal injury claim. In this state, plaintiffs can recover damages as long as their degree of fault is less than the defendant’s. Since they may face strong opposition from the trucking company and its team of lawyers, victims may want legal representation. A lawyer could handle all negotiations for a settlement.