The adage, “drive when you have to, sleep when you can,’ used to run through the trucking industry. However, the risk of driving drowsy is very dangerous and poses a threat to everyone on the road. It is even against the law for a trucker to drive longer than required hours to prevent fatigue. Getting enough quality sleep ensures safety and well-being for all while driving a tractor-trailer for long hours. Therefore, maintaining a routine is important and below we offer some ways to maintain adequate sleep while driving long hours at a time.
What is an Adequate Amount of Sleep?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following ranges of sleep for adults:
|Age Group||Recommended Hours of Sleep Per Day|
|Adult||18–60 years||7 or more hours per night|
|61–64 years||7–9 hours|
|65 years and older||7–8 hours|
How much sleep do I need? CDC.gov. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html
Trucking routes get off schedule due to traffic on the interstate, changing weather patterns, and other factors. Laws mandate that drivers are only allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours in a row after taking 10 consecutive hours off, eight of which are required to be in the sleeping berth. Drivers cannot operate trucks for more than 60 hours in a week, and more than 70 hours in eight days. These laws work in conjunction with the knowledge that adequate quality sleep protects the driver and keeps the trucker safe and healthy.
Staying Alert and Safe on the Road
Driver Terry Hodges recommends getting up earlier in the day in order to get miles needed in while being able to get a hot shower, healthy meal, and adequate rest. Rested truckers ensure that everyone is safe on the road. Getting enough sleep and the right amount of sleep leads to the better health, alertness, coordination and reaction time to handle any challenges driving long hours on the road might present.
While driving, if you become fatigued on the road, pull over and take a 15-20 minute nap. This nap will provide revitalization more than blasting music or cold air, which have been proven to be ineffective measures to remaining alert on the road. Getting up earlier, eating healthy, and exercising all provide avenues for ensuring that you are not sleep deprived. The North American Fatigue Management program has produced a free fatigue management program in conjunction with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This is a comprehensive program to assist with managing fatigue and was designed specifically for Commercial Drivers. Lastly, consider the following items that can help to increase quality sleep:
- Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow
- Block out all the light in the berth
- Use a ‘white’ noise machine or consider ear plugs
- Park truck in quiet area
- Keep temperature in cab and berth maintained
Safety is Part of Roane Transportation’s Guidelines
At Roane Transportation, we care about our trucker’s overall health and well-being. We do more than just deliver goods, as a company, we provide professional trucking logistics with a passion for excellence for our drivers and customers! Learn more about how we put our drivers first or give us a call at 865-354-3288