Being on the road as a long-haul truck driver is one long endurance test. We know we are preaching to the choir here. You fight inattentive drivers, the weather, lack of sleep, being away from your family, and miles and miles and miles of road just ahead. You’re a professional, and know you have to be awake and focused when you are on the road, but sometimes your body doesn’t cooperate. So what can you do to give yourself the upper hand in the fight against fatigue? We’ve put together a few ideas for you.
Get Your Cat Nap On
Say you are getting ready to head out on a long day’s drive, and you feel tired before you begin. That’s not a good place to start. In fact, studies have shown that driving while sleep deprived is just like driving drunk. When you are driving those 18-wheels, that’s not a good place to be. Sleep researchers suggest getting a nap in before heading out. Even if you sleep for less than an hour, your body clock can reset and feel refreshed. If you get really tired on the road, pull over and take a 20-minute nap. Fighting fatigue and other drivers on a busy highway is a recipe for disaster.
Mama was Right
When somebody tells you “Have you taken your vitamins today?” don’t you just hear your mom’s voice? Yeah, yeah, you know you’re supposed to do it. It just takes a second and a drink of water, c’mon. A good multivitamin can take care of most of your needs. Just be sure it has a lot of B and C vitamins, as they will give you energy. It’s typically best to take them with a good meal, which brings us to another point.
Eat Well, Not Junk
Think about gorging on that incredible Thanksgiving meal. What happens an hour later? Yep, you’re sawing some ZZZzzzz’s on the couch. You’ve loaded up on carbohydrates, like those awesome mashed potatoes, enjoyed that sleep-inducing turkey, and finished ‘er off with some sugary pecan pie. Your system needs a break. So when you’re on the road, give your body what it needs to stay alert and feel good. That means eating a healthy meal before you leave. Best choices are lean proteins and veggies. Cut down on the carbs because they make you sleepy. Now we realize it’s easy to say and hard to do when you are on the road. Easy choice is greasy spoon for breakfast, fast food hamburger and fries for lunch, and the blue plate special for dinner. Look for choices that give you more fresh vegetables and lean protein. Then, when you’re on the road, have a stash of almonds or other healthy snacks to grab. Don’t forget plenty of water to keep you hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration makes you tired. So grab some bottles of water, and find some great options of travel packs of nuts, berries, and crackers that will make it easy for you to snack well and keep safely focused on the road.
Time to Drop and Give Me Twenty
So you’ve done all this, and you still get tired. Pull over and move. Getting up and stretching your legs gets your blood flowing. Move your arms around, walk a bit and breathe deeply and get more oxygen to your heart and brain. A walk around your rig can get your mind refocused on the important task at hand.
Podcasts are Your Friend
For some people, music can be a great road companion. Just belt it out in your cab and enjoy the looks you get from 4-wheel drivers. But consider the benefits of the podcast or an audiobook. Here, you can pick and choose people whose ideas interest you. Now you are thinking about ideas, and not just singing back lyrics you’ve known for 20 years. Or more. It can keep your mind engaged and focused, which can help you get safely from here… to there.
We care about your safety on the road at Fleet Oil & Supply. Contact us with any questions you have about staying alert on the road, or any of your trucking tool needs.