Lack of sleep can greatly affect your ability to drive safely. It’s dangerous no matter what kind of vehicle you are driving, but when it’s a commercial truck driver who is nodding off at the wheel somewhere in Texas, the sheer size of their truck means that other people on the road are more likely to get hurt.
Unfortunately, the nature of the job means that truckers are more likely to be exhausted than the average driver. Here are four reasons why.
- Federal regulations limit the number of hours a trucker can work without a break. But many trucking companies pressure their drivers to break these rules. Even if they stay within the limits, that can still mean driving a semi for 10 hours straight.
- A healthy diet and regular exercise lead to more energy and less fatigue. But life on the road can make it tough to eat right or work out. Many truckers rely on fast food to get by.
- Vibration from the tires on the road travels up to the semi truck’s cab, through the seat and into the trucker’s body. This is called “whole-body vibration,” and it can cause fatigue because it forces the body to strain against the constant movement.
- Caffeine and opening the window to let cold air in can make a truck driver feel like he is alert despite a lack of sleep. But these things only mask fatigue and can cause a false sense of security.
You may not be able to avoid an 18-wheeler whose driver is falling asleep and has lost control of their truck. But if you are caught in a trucking accident because of a fatigued driver, you may be able to seek compensation from the driver’s employer. Many times, a trucker’s fatigue is a direct result of the company’s negligence.