Truck drivers are responsible for delivering everything from food to construction materials and often spend many hours on the road. These drivers are under strict deadlines to deliver their goods on time, so they may work more hours than they should to meet these demands. Unfortunately, this can eventually take a major toll on commercial drivers. They may suffer fatigue from driving all of those hours, which can cause an accident.
Common Causes of Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. Here are some of the major contributors to truck driver fatigue.
Driving long hours. As mentioned above, many truck drivers are on the road for multiple hours at a time. They get paid by the mile, not the hour. As such, some drivers may decide to stay on the road longer to earn a bigger paycheck. Driving too many hours without adequate rest, however, can cause truck drivers to become very fatigued and lose focus of the road ahead.
Using drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol use is far too common among truck drivers. They may use these substances to deal with stress and boredom the job brings. Drugs and alcohol can contribute to drowsiness and increase the risk of an accident.
Driving at night. Some truck drivers have a preference for driving at night to not get caught in traffic. However, they are more likely to experience drowsiness at night because the body’s internal clock thinks it’s time to go to bed.
Eating a poor diet. Since truck drivers spend so many hours on the road, they may not have time to sit down and eat a nutritious meal. Instead, they may stop at fast food restaurants and gas stations and eat their meals while behind the wheel. These foods are usually highly processed and contain high amounts of fats, which can cause fatigue.
Why Driving a Truck While Fatigued Is Dangerous
While it’s risky to operate any vehicle while drowsy, it’s especially dangerous to get behind the wheel of a commercial truck. These trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, so they are more likely to cause life-threatening injuries in accidents. Fatigued truck drivers may have trouble focusing on the road and have delayed reaction times. They may also have trouble judging their speed and adjusting to changes in traffic.