Tips For Truck Drivers to Stay Alert and Awake on the Road
Updated: Mar 16
As an over-the-road truck driver, you are probably used to long hauls. Sometimes you get to see new places if you're on a route you haven't driven before, and sometimes you are looking at the same scenery you've seen a dozen times. Whether you have something new to look at, or you know the roads like the back of your hand, it can be tough to stay alert while driving for hours at a time. Here are some tips to staying alert in these situations to avoid putting yourself or those around you in danger:
Everyone loves naps. Studies have shown that even if you sleep for less than an hour, your body still receives the crucial rest it needs to help you stay away. If you're tired before getting on the road, take a quick power nap. If you get sleepy in the middle of your haul, pull over and take a 20-minute nap. Don't ignore your fatigue, deal with it.
Change your diet
While you're on the road, grabbing something quick and easy is convenient, but you will suffer. All the fat, sugars, and salt will make you even more tired than before. After your power nap, eat a healthy meal. Foods high in energy consist of proteins, carbs, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Take protein bars and fruit snacks with you on your drives so they are easy to access. Eating these foods will help you stay awake and alert while you're on the road.
Drink plenty of water
A key to staying alert is staying hydrated. Switch out the sodas and juices for water while you're driving. You might be thinking "if I drink too much water, i'll need to use the restroom every 15 minutes", but dehydration causes immediate fatigue which is what we are trying to avoid here. Also avoid drinking caffeine while you drive. The caffeine will wear off, making you more tired, and its a diuretic - which will make you pee more than if you were just drinking water.
Listen to something on the radio
Sitting in silence on your drive might be relaxing, but doing it for too long will fatigue you. Listening to lively music while you drive, a podcast, or a good book, will keep you alert and awake. Turn the volume up and enjoy the music - the beats will keep you focused.
Roll down your windows
Get some fresh air on your skin while you're driving. It it's cold outside, the air will wake you up immediately. This is only a temporary fix to your tiredness, so it is still important to follow the other tips as well.
There are hours of service laws for a reason - don't drive while you're tired. Getting to a destination in a good time isn't worth the risk if you can barely keep your eyes open. Take naps, pull over and rest, roll your windows down and turn your music up, but most importantly, be responsible. Put yourself and everyone else around you first and be safe!