For commericial truck drivers, long days and crazy sleep schedules make staying awake and alert for long periods of time difficult, but it is necessary if you want to be a safe & efficient driver. Here are some tips to stay awake and alert for longer periods of time.
Avoid High Contrast Lights At Night
The great contrast between the bright lights and pitch black will mess with your eyes and can make them feel heavy after a while. With the bright headlights coming straight at you and dashboard lights in your face at night it can take a toll. Two options are to drive with soft red lights to light the interior of the cab just a little at night, and to turn your dash lights down so they are just bright enough to see the gauges. And of course do your best to never look directly at the oncoming headlights.
Don’t Allow Yourself To Get Too Exhausted
Don’t keep pushing on when you’re already tired. This is incredibly dangerous. You need sleep. When you start feeling tired, try to squeeze in a quick nap or go to bed early for the night. The more exhausted you are when you finally get some sleep the less alert you’re going to feel when you get up.
Turn The Temperature Down
Keeping your medium or heavy-duty truck cold will help you stay awake and be more alert. Keeping your commercial truck warm and comfortable will make you feel much more tired much faster, and ready for a nap. Turn down the temperature in the cab to keep you a little more alert.
Turn Off The Radios
Your CB radio, music, and talk shows can be highly entertaining, but also quite exhausting. Your mind is processing every sound it takes in. As you bombard your brain with stimuli you get more and more tired. Drive along for a while enjoying the soft hum of the engine and wheels going down the highway. You’ll feel more calm and relaxed.
Turn Your Radio Back On
Ok the quiet gets tiresome after a while also. The endless hum of the engine and tires is relaxing, but maybe it’s putting you in a trance. Crank up some tunes, the CB radio, or a talk show for a short time and wake yourself up a little bit.
Avoid Large Doses Of Caffeine
There’s no denying that caffeine gives you a nice boost once in a while, and there’s nothing wrong with taking it in in small amounts. So sip on coffee, if you’d like, but watch out for caffeine overload. When you start mixing different stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, you’re not only putting your health at risk but you’re going to crash hard after a while. Go easy on the caffeine and stimulants.
Avoid Large Portions Of Food
How many holidays do we spend eating as much as possible, and 30 minutes later taking a nap or wishing we were? A full belly makes us sleepy. Eat 5 – 6 smaller meals throughout the day instead of a few large ones. You’ll feel better, and it’s a lot healthier for you.
Get Something To Eat
In the right amounts at the right time a snack or small meal can be a great energy booster. Fruit & natural sugars are great for energy.
There is no substitute for sleep. That’s not what this was about. These are ways to keep your energy levels high and give yourself a little boost when you’re not feeling as sharp as you’d like to.