Get Your ZZZs: Drowsy Driving Safety Tips

Get Your ZZZs: Drowsy Driving Safety Tips

November 18th, 2022

Sleep is free, but many people don’t get enough of it. It’s recommended by the CDC that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Not getting enough sleep can have serious consequences for anyone behind the wheel. Six in 10 drivers have admitted to driving a vehicle when they struggled to keep their eyes open according to the National Sleep Foundation. Truck drivers, this statistic is extremely important because you are surrounded by other drivers on the road who may be dozing off. Driving drowsy is dangerous, and our Lee-Smith team wants to help keep you and all other drivers safe on the road. Here are some important tips to help you stay safe and awake.

Tip 1: Know the Signs of Drowsy Driving
Have you ever found yourself forgetting the last few miles you drove? This has probably happened to all of us at one time or another. However, it is one of the main signs that you need to get some rest. Other signs to watch for include yawning repeatedly, blinking frequently and rubbing your eyes. You may also miss an exit or a turn because you’re struggling to focus. If you think you need to take a break and get some zzz’s, then you probably do. Unfortunately, you cannot be responsible for other drivers on the road who may be driving drowsy, but you can watch their driving for signs of drowsiness. If you notice other vehicles around you driving recklessly or drifting between lanes, keep a good distance between you and them. 

Tip 2: Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a late-night burger right before you drift off to dreamland isn’t ideal. Instead, try to create a routine so that you eat around the same time each day. We know this can be difficult to do as a truck or delivery driver, but try to stay on schedule when possible. If you do feel the need to grab a snack before bed, choose something light. Not eating at regular times or skipping meals can lead to fatigue. Fatigue can cause memory lapses, lack of awareness, reduced attention, and slower reaction times. All of these can hinder your ability to drive safely. 

Tip 3: Take a Nap
If you find yourself struggling to stay awake in the middle of the day, then pull over and take a quick nap. Naps should last between 10-45 minutes according to the National Sleep Foundation. Contrary to popular belief, drinking coffee does not have the same effect on you as taking a nap. Sure, caffeine can help you stay awake, but you’re right back to where you started once the effects of it wear off. Also, don’t try to keep yourself awake by rolling down a window or blasting the radio. These tricks will not cure your drowsiness and can make things worse since they are distracting. 

Tip 4: Be Extra Careful When Driving at Night
Many commercial drivers need to drive overnight to reach their destination on time. However, your body is wired to feel naturally drowsy after midnight. If you have to drive overnight, make sure to get enough sleep during the day to help you stay awake and drive safely. Also, be prepared to be an overly defensive driver because other drivers around you may be falling asleep at the wheel. 

One Last Word
Drivers, you are important, and we always want you to arrive at your destination safely. Stay tuned for additional safety tips that we will feature in our blog from time to time. You can also follow us on social media. Please take the necessary precautions to ensure that you won’t have to drive drowsy. As always, stay safe!

Posted by Lee-Smith