Ways To Stay Rested on the Road
Staying properly rested on the road is essential to both the career of professional drivers and the safety of the general public. Many OTR drivers can reduce the fatigue felt from varying schedules in a few basic areas.
Lack of proper hydration is one of the most common causes of fatigue. It can also reduce alertness while driving and ability to manage stress in traffic. Truck drivers often consume large amounts of coffee and caffeinated soft drinks, but these can have the opposite effects on body tissues. Drivers should keep a good supply of bottled water in the cab and drink it frequently during their driving stint. A small cooler with ice can help to keep the water cool during hot weather. Proper hydration will help to prevent fatigue and mental dullness on long trips.
Eating well on the road can be a problem for drivers. Fast food and truck stop food can be high in carbohydrates and fats, which causes glucose levels to fluctuate widely. These levels can lead to feelings of fatigue and mental heaviness. Drivers should take particular attention with their diets to ensure that they get a sufficient amount of fresh fruits and vegetables with help to keep glucose levels stable. Avoid processed snack foods. Instead, buy easy-to-eat fruits sections and pre-cut raw vegetables. Try to space meals and snacks evenly throughout the day to keep glucose levels stable and increase alertness. Avoid high sugar foods. Good nutrition will also help drivers get better quality rest during break periods.
Truck drivers on long hauls may not get opportunities to exercise as they would at home. Lack of exercise can increase feelings of fatigue. Drivers benefit from periods of exercise that increase blood circulation, eliminate muscle tightness and improve mental alertness. Exercise can also help drivers get better quality sleep when they take their rest periods in the truck berth. Carrying running shoes in the cab and going for a vigorous run during breaks can help drivers increase their alertness, muscle tone and sense of well being. A small folding bicycle can also be packed in the cab to provide exercise on long hauls.
Heat and Cold
Getting sufficient rest in the sleeping berth of a truck can be a challenge. Heat, cold, road noise and light can prevent the ability to get quality sleep. Drivers should keep a small heater and fan to provide a comfortable temperature for sleeping. Ear plugs and a sleep mask can also help drivers get into a deeper, more restful sleep.