November Industry Highlight: Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

November 1-8 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

We asked some of our Trucking Proud Producers what they do to prevent drowsy driving and here’s what they said:

Joe Erle likes having a passenger in the car to keep him engaged in conversations.

Daylene Briones knows when she is done driving, she doesn’t drive to push through. She will pull over, take a nap, relax a bit and she doesn’t let herself feel anxious about getting the drive in a certain time. With Maps, Google Maps, and Waze we are anxious about arriving at the predicted destination time.

To prevent drowsy driving Bryan Cox prioritizes getting enough sleep and taking regular breaks on long journeys. He doesn’t underestimate the danger of driving when he’s tired.

Fatigue is a common issue that affects workers across various positions and workplaces. Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, observed from November 1 to 8, 2020, highlights the significance of this problem, which extends to all industries. According to the National Sleep Foundation, roughly half of U.S. drivers acknowledge driving while feeling drowsy on a regular basis. Despite not sounding as grave as impaired driving, drowsy driving poses a similar threat but lacks the same societal disapproval.

The National Safety Council (NSC) reveals that staying awake for more than 20 hours is equivalent to being under the influence of alcohol. Even if driving isn’t a primary job duty, many individuals still commute to and from work, making drowsy driving a potential concern. NSC research underscores that the risk of a car accident triples when a person is fatigued. Educating employees about preventing drowsy driving is essential to ensure their safe arrival at work and return home. Fatigue impairs both mental and physical capabilities by diminishing alertness, attentiveness, reaction time, and coordination.

Here are some tips to help prevent drowsy driving:

  • Get Adequate Sleep: Ensure you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, especially before embarking on a long drive.
  • Plan Your Trips: Schedule your journeys during your most alert hours and avoid driving during your body’s natural sleep time, usually between 12 AM and 6 AM.
  • Take Breaks: If your trip is lengthy, schedule regular breaks, preferably every 2 hours, to rest, stretch, and rejuvenate.
  • Share the Drive: If possible, share driving responsibilities with someone else, allowing each other to rest during the trip.
  • Avoid Heavy Meals: Don’t consume large, heavy meals before driving, as they can make you feel drowsy. Opt for light, healthy snacks instead.
  • Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can lead to fatigue. Keep hydrated by drinking water, but be mindful of not overdoing it to avoid frequent restroom stops.
  • Avoid Medications: Be cautious with over-the-counter or prescription medications that may cause drowsiness. Read labels and consult with a healthcare professional if necessary.
  • Don’t Rely Solely on Caffeine: While caffeine can provide a temporary energy boost, it’s not a long-term solution. It’s best used in conjunction with other strategies.
  • Recognize Warning Signs: Be aware of signs of drowsiness, such as heavy eyelids, yawning, drifting out of your lane, or difficulty keeping your head up. If you experience these, it’s time to pull over and rest.
  • Power Naps: Taking a 15-20 minute power nap before hitting the road can help refresh your mind.
  • Proper Ventilation: Ensure the vehicle is well-ventilated with fresh air, as a stuffy environment can increase drowsiness.
  • Listen to Engaging Music or Podcasts: Upbeat music or engaging podcasts can help keep your mind active and alert.
  • Adjust Your Seat: Maintain a comfortable driving position and ensure your seat and mirrors are properly adjusted before driving.
  • Be Mindful of Warning Labels: Many vehicles now have drowsy driving warning systems. Please pay attention to them and heed their advice.
  • Know Your Limits: Recognize when you’re too exhausted to drive safely and have an alternative plan, such as taking public transportation, calling a rideshare service, or staying overnight at a nearby location.

Your safety and the safety of others on the road are paramount, so never underestimate the dangers of drowsy driving. If you feel too tired to drive, it’s always better to delay your trip or find an alternative means of transportation.