If your job involves driving long distances across the country or spending hours in traffic during your already long drive, you know how overwhelming the experience can get. Besides dealing with boredom and sleep deprivation, being in control of a vehicle for a long period can cause driver fatigue. Thus, increasing the chances of an accident.
Fortunately, taking special precautions and doing a bit of planning before the journey can help you avoid accidents. Especially, as they are more likely when in control of a vehicle for long periods. Here are several things to help you stay alert and safe when driving long distances for work.
Many truck drivers use illegal stimulants, such as cocaine, methamphetamines, or even prescription stimulants like Ritalin, to stay awake during long trips. Unfortunately, research has shown that using stimulants to stay awake can cause one to become overconfident and lose inhibition. Thus engaging in risky driving behavior that may cause accidents.
Therefore, regardless of how much you want to keep driving, avoid taking sleep aids to stay awake. Instead, use whatever energy you have left for the road and take rest breaks to catch some sleep when you need some.
The best way to avoid sleep deprivation while on a long-distance drive is to ensure that you are well-rested before starting your journey. Doing that will help you avoid the risk of a false sense of alertness that stimulants give. Thus preventing an automotive accident.
It is tempting to make a long drive in one stretch spanning more than five hours, just to make a delivery on time. But when your body is constantly deprived of rest, it can lead to fatigue and stress. This can then make you more prone to accidents. Fortunately, making frequent stops is one of the best things you can do for your safety.
Ideally, take a break approximately every two hours. This will allow you to stretch your legs, use the restroom, or grab a snack.
You can find many gas stations, local restaurants, parks, and other great places to take a break from a long drive. Rest areas are also available on interstate highways.
Listening to your favorite music while driving long distances is a great way to stay alert. If continuous music is not your thing, having a soothing talk radio station playing in the background is a great way to stay active and pass the time.
You may also want to listen to audiobooks to keep the brain active. However, make a conscious effort to tune the radio or set the music/audiobooks to play before you start the journey. Or, change them during your stops to avoid distractions while on the road.
When you are on a long drive for work, you will most likely bring some stuff with you. These include your ID, driver’s license, proof of your auto insurance, and personal effect items.
You must store and organize all your items appropriately. For instance, essential items such as your ID should be kept in close reach.
If you have any items that might be at risk of moving around while driving, the right thing to do should be to secure them in place or, better, safely lock them in the trunk.
However, if something falls to the floor while driving, don’t reach down trying to grab it. Instead, pull over if it is safe to do so to avoid being caught off guard should a risky situation suddenly arise while the vehicle is moving.