Recently, a semi-truck driver was killed in a rollover accident on Interstate 25. The truck, hauling two trailers, went off the road, and the driver over-corrected, causing both trailers to roll onto their sides. Officers believe the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel. While semi-truck drivers sometimes get tired while driving, due to their strict schedules and long hours, anyone, especially those making long trips, can get tired while driving. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help you stay awake while driving.
- Get enough sleep before beginning your trip. Avoid starting a long trip after a full day of work. Instead, go home and get some sleep before starting your trip.
- Eat a healthy meal before starting your trip. Although a sugary snack will give you that initial boost, you will crash later, perhaps during the time you most need to be awake.
- When possible, travel during the time you would normally be awake. If your body is used to sleeping at that time, you are more likely to feel tired and struggle to stay awake.
- Take regular breaks. Stop at a rest stop to take a quick walk. If you are feeling tired, take a quick nap. Even just a few minutes can rejuvenate you enough to continue driving for several more hours.
- If you are feeling tired, pull over as soon as safely possible, even if you have recently taken a break. This is especially important if you are struggling to stay awake.
- When possible, regularly switch drivers on a long trip. This allows everyone the chance to have a break.
- Avoid cruise control. Although it is convenient, cruise control requires less concentration.
- If you are struggling to stay awake, do things to keep yourself better alert, such as rolling down the window, talking aloud to yourself, listening to a book-on-CD, or adjusting the vehicle’s temperature. These are short-term fixes, so it is best to take a break as soon as possible.