Understanding the risk of drowsy driving for truckers

Truckers may be at risk for driving drowsy because sleep is hard to attain, drowsiness cures do not work and they are more likely to be ill while driving.

All drivers in Tennessee and Kentucky have a risk of driving while tired. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are around 6,000 annual automobile collisions that result in a death across the country. While anyone behind the wheel could get overly tired, commercial drivers are part of a group that have a higher risk of being drowsy while operating a vehicle. This potential sleepiness could lead to a higher likelihood of big rig-related accidents.

Hard to get adequate sleep

Getting good rest is one of the biggest tips big rig operators get about keeping tiredness at bay. However, many semi drivers struggle to get adequate levels of sleep while on the road. Not only are many expected to sleep on beds in the cab, but they are also expected to meet deadlines and drive a certain number of miles each day. These deadlines may require truckers drive even when sleepy.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that the body is naturally tired between the hours of 2 pm to 4 pm and 12 am to 6 am. Semi operators often do not get to choose the hours they work. Instead, they must drive to get to their destination as quickly as possible.

Tough to stave of drowsiness through activities

Because professional long-distance drivers spend so much time behind the wheel, they often try to do certain activities expected to wake them up. These activities could include the following:

  • Listening to the radio at high volumes.
  • Talking with someone on the phone.
  • Getting fresh air by opening the window.
  • Drinking coffee or another caffeinated beverage.

These so-called drowsiness cures are not cures at all. Some of them may not do enough to actually wake up the driver, and others may take too long to kick in to make a difference.

Difficult to deal with illness while on the road

Truckers have a higher chance of being tired while driving because they are more likely to be behind the wheel while ill. There are many medications that can induce drowsiness and therefore increase the risk of a crash. For example, if a commercial driver is suffering from a cold, he or she may take cold medicine to eliminate his or her suffering. However, this type of medication may have ingredients that make people tired. For this reason, it may be better for truckers to deal with the symptoms of their illness rather than take pills or syrups.

Truckers that go through Tennessee and Kentucky tend to spend a lot of time on the road, so it is no surprise that they have a higher risk of getting tired while behind the wheel. If an accident takes place involving a big rig, it may be beneficial to work with an attorney.