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Staying Awake and Alert on Long Trucking Trips

Staying Awake and Alert on Long Trucking Trips

If you’re along haul trucker, you probably know how difficult it can be to stay awake on the road. Hours of driving, the constant hum of your tired on the pavement, and endless stretches of field-bordered highways would be enough to put anyone to sleep. However, if you’re like most truckers, safety is your first priority, and staying awake comes before anything else on your to-do list. It might be tempting to reach for that candy bar or energy drink, but resorting to sugar and caffeine can do more harm than good. If you find it difficult to stay awake on the road, here are seven tips you might find helpful.

Nap Before You Drive

It might be unreasonable to expect a full night’s sleep every night before you hit the road. Maybe you only have a couple of hours to spare in between your daily obligations and your next route start time. However, that’s more than enough time to top off your rest reserves. Studies show that even 45 minutes of sleep can provide you with enough rest to stay awake for several hours. That being said, if you still feel tired out on the road, it’s important to pull over and take a 20-minute nap. Pushing through fatigue in an effort to save time is a recipe for an accident.

Eat a Meal Mom Would Be Proud Of

The convenience of fast food is a strong lure for those who have to spend extensive time on the road. However, fast food meals are filled with fat, sugar, and salt, a trifecta of ingredients that are scientifically proven to make you sleepy. Rather than help you stay awake, these foods bog down your system, making your body work harder and less efficiently. All that extra demand on your body means you’ll feel sluggish and drained. Caffeine and sugar might make you feel energized for awhile, but they’ll make you crash and feel even more tired than you were when you ate them after a few hours. Instead, have a meal before you hit the road that contains fruit, greens, whole grains, and lean meat. Snack on almonds and dried fruit along the way. You’ll be healthier and more alert.

Take B and C Vitamins

Vitamins, like B and C vitamins, can help you utilize nutrients more efficiently. They also help boost your immune system, which can help you feel more energetic. These vitamins can also help you digest food more efficiently, which means you can access the nutrients in your food more quickly and, thus, have more energy. Of course, all this energy will help you stay awake longer and be more alert.

Play Some Tunes

Your mood and your energy level have more to do with each other than you might realize. The music you listen to has a direct impact on your mood. Listening to positive jams boosts your mood. That, in turn, increases your energy levels and keeps you alert. Endorphins, for the win.

Listen to Audiobooks

If you’re like most long haul truck drivers, a large part of the reason you feel so tired is because you’re bored. After all, there’s only so much farmland you can drive through until the beauty wears off, and that’s when the boredom kicks in. Having a story to follow and listen to can help you stay awake longer because it gives your mind something to focus on. Give them a try, and see if they don’t help you stay alert for longer periods of time than usual.

Use Natural Air When Possible

It can get toasty in that cab, often without you realizing it. Air conditioning is a wonderful invention, but it can only go so far. Natural, oxygen-rich air helps to keep you alert and awake. If it’s cold outside, a burst of cool air can help to keep you alert long enough to pull over and take a nap, as well. In any case, oxygen will help you stay awake more efficiently than air conditioning will, so use natural air whenever possible.

Stay Hydrated

Many truckers say they don’t drink water very often because they’d have to visit far too many rest stops along the way if they did. Ironically, the same truck drivers will say that they drink a lot of coffee in an effort to stay awake. The irony exists in the fact that coffee is a diuretic, meaning it increases your need to use the restroom. Put briefly, you’ll have to use the bathroom a lot more by drinking coffee than you would by drinking the water your body needs. Staying hydrated will help you stay alert and awake. It will also help you stay healthy, which is obviously an important priority, as well.

It can be difficult to stay awake on the road, especially when driving long distances for many hours at a time. However, using these tips can help you stay awake and alert. No matter how much you prepare, though, accidents still happen. If you’ve been in an accident while driving your rig, contact an experienced traffic attorney in your area. Only a qualified attorney will be able to provide you with the best possible advice and outcome given your particular situation.


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