If you’ve ever driven for any significant distance, you may have experienced driving fatigue. Whether you’re pulling a camping trailer on vacation, hauling belongings on a trailer for a move, or driving a big semi-truck and trailer, long hours of driving can be taxing on the mind and body. Both drowsiness and restlessness can result, and both are dangerous behind the wheel. Every year, as a result of driver fatigue, police report some 100,000 crashes. And that’s a conservative estimate!
But there are steps you can take to save lives by preventing driver fatigue and drowsiness behind the wheel.
Stay on Top of Your Level of Fatigue
No one knows better what level of fatigue you are suffering than you, yourself. You put everyone in danger by not taking the necessary precautions against driver fatigue. According to the National Sleep Foundation, every year, drowsiness behind the wheel is responsible for approximately 1550 deaths. These are staggering statistics that could have been prevented. Don’t be a statistic.
What Kind of Meds Are You Taking Before You Drive?
If you take medication of any kind, either regularly or sporadically, you need to know (ahead of time) the affect it’s going to have on your driving capabilities. Many medications tend to make the user drowsy. Before getting behind the wheel, read the fine print on your medications. Over-the-counter drug use was reported in 17% of crashes involving CMV drivers (according to a survey by the FMCSA). During cold and flu season, be extra cautious because cold medicine is a major cause of drowsiness.
Take the Time to Take a Nap
Even if you’re not willing to do it, taking a nap will take less time than the possible result of a crash due to drowsiness or driver fatigue. And although it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out, an examination was done by scientists on this matter: alertness can be improved by 100% and performance by 34% after a simple 40-minute nap. (That was the result of a NASA study involving astronauts.)
A Healthier Diet for a Healthier Drive
Fast food and truck stops don’t particularly lend themselves to a healthy diet. To avoid food cravings and fatigue, it is essential not to skip meals and try to eat as healthily as possible. And caffeine isn’t the answer, either. Nervousness, irritability, headaches, and insomnia can be caused by the excessive intake of caffeine. You may get a temporary fix from soda, coffee, and other caffeine products, but once it wears off, the effects of driver fatigue will be amplified.
Finally, Getting Enough Sleep Is Essential
When you do have the opportunity to sleep, OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) could be preventing you from getting the good sleep you need. It’s a problem that many Americans face today and is worsened by staying awake for excessive periods of time. Seek a doctor’s assistance if you feel you may be suffering from a sleep disorder.
How important is getting enough sleep? A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration determined the risk of a crash is accelerated greatly by lack of sleep. In fact, if you are awake for 18 hours or more, it will have the same effect on you as a 0.08% BAC (blood alcohol concentration). That means you’re legally intoxicated!
At Mickey Genuine Parts, we are concerned with the safety of every one of our drivers and clients. That’s why we sell only the highest quality parts, trailers, accessories, etc. It’s also why each and every member of our certified service centers are highly qualified technicians. Additionally, we have a wide array of safety components for sale. If you would like to discuss the purchase of parts, accessories, trailers, and more with a knowledgeable, experienced Mickey representative, contact us today.