When Louisiana residents consider the factors behind a truck accident, they may not think about fatigue. However, a trucker's alertness plays a great role in determining whether he or she will be involved in a collision.
While fatigue can affect any driver on the road, people who drive professionally may be affected most strongly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people are most likely to drive while they are tired if they do not have a regular sleep schedule or get fewer than seven hours of sleep. When truck drivers are tired, they may experience delayed reactions on the road, making it difficult for them to steer around hazards or brake quickly. Additionally, fatigue can keep truckers from making good decisions and make it more difficult for them to keep their minds on the road.
There are many ways truck drivers can protect themselves from the hazard of drowsy driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that truckers should realize when they are tired so they can get off the road. They should typically look out for signs such as blurred vision and heavy eyes. Yawning often can also alert truckers to the fact that they are tired. Tired drivers should usually take a 10 to 45 minute nap. If they take a nap before they become tired, many truckers may be able to prevent themselves from feeling fatigued. While some truck drivers may want to rely on caffeine or the radio to keep themselves alert, these tactics are not always effective. This is because they might make people feel more alert than they really are.
Some truck drivers may be able to prevent fatigue if they do not take medications that might make them drowsy. Even cold and allergy medicines can make a person drowsy, so it is important for truckers to read labels to see if tiredness is a side effect of a medication. Additionally, eating regularly can sometimes help truck drivers stay alert behind the wheel.