Truck Driver Fatigue and its Determinants.

When I was growing up I wanted to be a truck driver. This was partly due to the admiration I had for my uncle who drove big lorries and also because of the many truck toys that my father bought me. While I did not manage to attain my childhood dream, I still regard the people who move these monsters highly. It may be a vehicle like any other, but driving a truck calls for courage, stamina and a conquering spirit.

My main concern in this space, though, is with truck driver fatigue, one of the most common causes of road crashes. Many lives are lost every day owing to the inability of these drivers to control their behemoths. Most of the individuals driving these vehicles are unaware of what really contributes to exhaustion. This makes them jeopardise their own lives and those of others.

Before looking at the specific conditions that predispose one to this kind of exhaustion, it is important to make some general remarks. Every driver of a truck must watch out on the amount of sleep they get and how well they sleep. Moreover, it is imperative for you as the person who sits behind the wheel of such a big vehicle to understand and control your patterns of sleeping.

Truck driver fatigue happens when you decide not to pay your sleep debt and continue driving as if nothing has happened. The following are some of the indicators to watch out for if you are to avoid causing an accident owing to an exhausted body:

If you have not slept for about 17 hours and you are still driving, you are likely to cause an accident. Drivers of any type of truck who stay awake for long will have weaker bodies and will make impaired decisions that can easily lead to crashes. Your body needs adequate sleep to boost concentration while driving.

Apart from the quantity of sleep, you need to watch out on the quality. There are many people who lie in bed but are not sleeping. There are others who have interrupted sleep perhaps because of noises within or outside the bedroom. In both cases, the quality of sleep is compromised and the driver will be exhausted the following day.

The other important determinant of truck driver fatigue is your biological clock. By nature, human beings are active at certain times of the day. If you drive for long at night, you are likely to cause accidents because that is the time your brain needs to rest and recuperate.

Another crucial issue to think about is the kind of road and terrain you are driving on. It is ironical that when you drive on a flat, well-paved and problem-free road, you are likely to cause accidents. This happens particularly when the road is somehow boring and the vegetation happens to be uniform.

Thankfully, there are scientific gadgets for determining when you fatigue level is high so that you stop driving. An anti-sleep alarm can do the trick.