We all know that long hours on the road can lead to fatigue, making it challenging to stay alert and focused. While regional truck driving typically requires fewer hours than long-haul routes, the cumulative effect can still be very taxing. But fear not, because we’ve got your back while you’re in the driver’s seat. In this article, we’ll share the top ten ways to stay alert behind the wheel. So, before you buckle up, let’s dive in!
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1. Catch Enough Z’s: Before even starting your engine, ensure you’ve had a good night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Remember, a well-rested driver is a safer and more alert driver.
2. Schedule Breaks: Take regular breaks during your shift. It’s essential to stretch, get some fresh air, and clear your mind. Ideally, take a break every two hours or 100 miles, whichever comes first. A short walk or even some light stretching can make a world of difference. Luckily, there are some great sightseeing options on our routes that can provide a nice break from the highway. (Check out the rest of our blogs to see the best sights for each state).
3. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can lead to fatigue, so always keep a water bottle handy. Drinking water will not only quench your thirst but also keep you more alert. Make sure to avoid sugary drinks and excessive caffeine. While they might help in the short term, these may cause you to burnout mentally later on.
4. Power Nap: If you feel your eyelids getting heavy, it’s time for a power nap. A quick 20-30 minute rest can work wonders to rejuvenate your energy levels. Just make sure you’re parked in a safe location before catching some shut-eye.
5. Snack Smart: Keep healthy snacks within reach to maintain your energy levels throughout your shift. Opt for protein-rich foods like nuts, yogurt, or cheese. Stay away from sugary snacks that can cause energy crashes.
6. Maintain a Comfortable Environment: A comfortable cab will help you stay alert. Adjust the temperature, so it’s not too hot or too cold. If possible, invest in an ergonomic seat cushion that provides proper lumbar support. Also, consider using essential oils like peppermint or eucalyptus to keep your senses sharp.
7. Listen Up: To keep your mind engaged, listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks (we’ve got some recommendations you might enjoy). Switching it up every once in a while can help you stay alert and prevent boredom. Just make sure the volume isn’t too loud, as that can be distracting.
8. Chew Gum: Chewing gum can increase blood flow to the brain, which can help improve attentiveness. Opt for sugar-free gum to prevent a sugar crash later on.
9. Plan Your Route: Before hitting the road, take some time to plan your route. Knowing the best places to stop for breaks, fuel, and meals can help you better manage your time and reduce stress.
10. Keep Your Eyes Moving: Scan the road ahead and use your mirrors to check your surroundings. Constantly changing your focal point can help prevent eye fatigue and keep you more engaged in the driving process.
Staying alert and focused behind the wheel is crucial to ensure not only your safety but also the safety of others on the road. By following these tips, you’ll be better equipped to tackle those long hauls with ease.
If you’re looking to take a new direction in your trucking career, consider becoming a regional truck driver for Truline. As a regional truck driver, you’ll get the opportunity to explore new routes and enjoy more frequent home time, all while benefiting from the support of a reputable company. Check out our career page to learn more about our regional truck driver positions and start your journey today.