Being a long-haul truck driver can be a rewarding career. Yet, long-haul truck drivers face many challenges while on the road. After all, they spend their entire day and many nights driving hundreds of miles to their intended destinations. Drivers often work 10-12 hour shifts to get their payload delivered on time.

With the increased pressure to maintain a tight delivery schedule, long-haul truckers typically face long periods where they are not fully rested. Lack of proper sleep can prove to be highly hazardous to both the trucker and fellow drivers on the road. There are several things long-haul truck drivers can do to stay alert and well-rested while transporting their cargo.

Here are a few tips on staying alert while on the open road:

Eat Healthy Meals

Although stopping at the local truck stop or fast food restaurant might seem like a good idea when you’re trying to save time. However, the sugar, fat, and carbohydrates found in many junk foods tend to make individuals sleepy once the initial energy rush wears off. Try to eat healthy alternatives to decrease the chances of feeling tired after your next meal.

Also, eating large portions of any food tends to make individuals sleepy. Try to reduce portion sizes by eating several small meals throughout the day rather than one or two large meals.

Maintain a Consistent Sleeping Schedule

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is crucial if you want to remain awake and alert on the road. Going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning reduces the chances that you will become tired throughout the day. Although some drivers may attempt napping during the daytime, naps are a poor substitute for a good night’s sleep on a set schedule.

Reduce Caffeine Consumption

It may seem counterintuitive, but repeated caffeine consumption can increase the risks of becoming tired while driving. After the initial burst of energy you receive from coffee, soda, or energy drinks, your body experiences a “crash” when caffeine’s effects wear off. Caffeine also can interfere with your sleep schedule if too much is consumed during the latter portion of the day. To maintain alertness while on the road, limit your caffeine intake as much as possible.

Increase Physical Activity

Exercise is a great way to increase your energy level and get in shape. Regular exercise will increase your heart rate and stimulate the brain to produce endorphins and other chemicals that will lead to higher energy levels. Even doing jumping jacks or push-ups at the truck stop for 15 or 20 minutes will boost your heart rate and provide more energy to get through the day.

Stay Safe by Staying Alert

There are many things a truck driver can do to stay alert while driving long distances. Simple things like keeping the windows open and turning up the radio can also reduce someone’s chances of falling asleep behind the wheel. The safety of you and other drivers is more important than sacrificing sleep to get your payload delivered before the deadline. 

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