Long hours on the road make truck drivers drowsier behind the wheel than other drivers. The U.S. Department of Transportation says that driver fatigue is a leading cause behind the nearly 4,000 large-truck crash deaths that arise each year, so truckers in Florida should know how they can at least reduce the risk for a crash.
First, they must obtain adequate sleep: Six to eight hours is the usual recommendation, and it does not have to be at one time. The National Sleep Foundation says that naps can do much to restore drivers’ alertness and ability to make sound judgments. Next, truckers will want to avoid high-fat and sugar foods and opt for lean meats and nutritious grains instead. A healthy diet provides the nutrients one needs to stay awake.
Third, truckers should avoid alcohol, which causes drowsiness by affecting the medulla, and caffeine, which works temporarily but creates a dependence in the consumer and increases blood pressure. The fourth tip is to stay hydrated. Lack of water makes a driver sleepy in addition to causing muscle cramps and headaches.
Truckers should also notice how the cab might contribute to fatigue. Without a good seat suspension system, for example, drivers may become fatigued and develop back problems from being continually bounced and jarred.
If truckers do nothing to address drowsiness and wind up causing truck collisions, then their trucking company may need to face a claim from the victims. For their part, victims are advised to have a lawyer since trucking companies usually have their own legal team to fight claims for them. A victim’s lawyer may be able point to the at-fault party’s drowsy driving by, for example, showing how the driver went against the hours-of-service regulations. The lawyer may also tackle all negotiations.