Staying Rested on the Road
Author: Avery Bullock
Driving a truck can be stressful. Many truck drivers work under intense pressure to deliver their loads in time, starting their day before sunrise and working late into the night. They spend many hours driving on the road while sparing very little time to rest. Typically, in a lot of cases, for instance, truckers who are paid per mile will want to cover more distance on a day’s trip.
Maintaining a regular sleep pattern is extremely hard, which is why rest is essential for truck drivers. Moreover, truckers who go against the rest regulations can have their licenses revoked.
How Much Rest do you Need?
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the maximum driving hours for commercial truck drivers. For example, after a typical 7-day workweek, truckers must take at least 34 hours of rest before the next seven-day workweek. The regulations also insist that a truck driver must take a 30-minute break every eight hours. A day’s work, also known as a duty period, should run for a maximum of 14 hours. In this period, they can only drive for up to 11 hours.
Exceptions to the rules include when you encounter bad weather and when you start and stop from the same point.
Improve your Overall Health
Many truck drivers stick to the set regulations for fear of lowering their safety ratings, besides the hefty fines from the authorities. However, your body also needs enough rest to function optimally and fight off diseases. Recent studies have shown that long-term sleep deprivation leads to serious health problems. Truckers who go for extended periods without sleep face a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
You are also more likely to experience weakened immunity, weight gain problems, and a decreased sex drive. Uncontrolled, the hectic schedules can drive many truckers into having sleep disorders.
Enhance your Safety on the Road
A fatigued driver is a danger to himself and other road users. Lack of sleep is responsible for around 100,000 road accidents and 1550 deaths per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When a driver fails to take enough time to rest, it affects their concentration on the road. You may also end up feeling moody and tired, which makes you less responsive to emergencies when behind the wheel.
The risk is higher in truckers who go on long-distance hauls. Always ensure sure that you make good use of the sleeper berth, especially in the times between midnight and sunrise.
Increase your Company’s Overall Productivity
Driving for long hours especially in heavy traffic can be extremely exhausting. Losing a couple of hours of sleep will make you less productive the following day. If drivers get enough rest during their trips, they will be more efficient behind the wheel. For this reason, trucking companies need to enforce policies that ensure their drivers get enough rest before they embark on their trips. Same with an owner-operated trucker or an independent contractor. Besides, the risk of fatigue is much higher when you are running your own business because of the added responsibilities.