Safety when driving a truck is important. This is especially true when you are driving a truck at nighttime. Here are some useful tips to help you stay alert when driving after sunset.
Avoid Driving Tired
Driving when you are tired is extremely dangerous. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, being deprived of sleep impairs driving performance the same as being a drunk driver. For this reason, the most important thing you can do is make sure you are well rested before you get behind the wheel of your big rig.
It’s crucial to recognize the signs of being fatigued. These include frequent blinking, nodding of the head, yawning, missing an exit or road sign, drifting out of your lane, and forgetting the last few miles that you have driven. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop until you are rested.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make sure you are at your best when driving your truck at nighttime.
Tip #1 - Get plenty of rest each night. The number of hours is equally as important as consistency. You may need additional hours of sleep if you are frequently changing your schedule between daytime and nighttime driving.
Tip #2 - Take care of your body. Your body will perform the best if you are eating healthy and exercising regularly. Eating heavy, greasy food before driving may make you sleepy. Stimulants such as caffeine can also negatively affect you. While caffeine is a great drug to keep you awake, it may also affect your ability to sleep well. It is recommended that you stop drinking caffeine 6 hours before going to bed.
Tip #3 - Control the temperature in your truck cabin. If the temperature becomes too warm, you may start to feel cozy and drowsy.
It’s important to remember that you’re not the only driver on the road. Just because you are well rested does not mean those around you are. Always be vigilant and look out for reckless drivers around you.
Watch for Nighttime Wildlife
Truck drivers travel all over the world. In many cases, this includes miles and miles of long stretches of remote areas. You will likely encounter lots of wildlife on the road. Most wildlife becomes more active during nighttime. Hundreds of thousands of accidents each year are the result of collisions involving wildlife.
Improve Nighttime Visibility
In addition to wildlife, there are numerous other hazards that you will encounter driving at night. The faster you spot potential hazards, the more likely you will be able to avoid them. There are several ways that you can improve your nighttime visibility.
- Dim your dashboard and interior lights to avoid strain on your eyes.
- Remove any snow or mud from your headlights, windshield, and mirrors.
- Make sure that you wear your prescription glasses or contact lenses.
- Avoid activities that take your eyes off the road such as looking at your phone.
Reduce Your Speed
Stopping a semi-truck takes more time than a regular car. A truck traveling at 65 miles per hour will take 525 feet to stop. With reduced visibility and other nighttime hazards, it is even more important that you maintain a speed that will give you more time to react and stop if necessary.
Slower speeds are also essential depending on the time of year or weather conditions. During the winter months or at higher elevations, roads can become icy when the temperatures drop.