Tips for Staying Alert as a Trucker

Post Date - May 27, 2022

As a truck driver, you probably know that one of the most important parts of your job is staying alert and focused when you’re behind the wheel. When you’re spending hours driving on the road, sometimes that can be easier said than done. Other than getting a solid eight hours of sleep, here are some tips and tricks to staying alert and safe on the road:

1. Have a consistent sleep schedule

Even though we’re talking about tips to stay awake and alert, your sleep schedule has to be part of the conversation too. Lack of good quality sleep and being overtired puts yourself and others at risk. This is why it’s so important to make sure you have a consistent sleep schedule. This helps your body know when to rest and when to be awake. If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, you may need to discuss the possibility of sleep apnea with your doctor and schedule a sleep study.

2. Stay hydrated

Hydration is important for a lot of reasons, but it also helps keep you alert. It helps your body to function more effectively, which gives you more energy. Dehydration can also cause fatigue and negatively impact your attention span, which is why drinking enough water is so important.

3. Plan your trip

Having a good trip plan will ensure that you have a safe place to park and rest in between driving. We recommend having an alternative safe parking location in mind in case your first choice is already full. Being able to park safely with access to the things you need will help you a lot when it comes to peace of mind and getting a good night’s rest.

4. Cut back on caffeine

When we start feeling tired, many of us instantly grab for something caffeinated to help us stay awake. However, this is really just a short-term fix. After a while, the energy you get from caffeine will start to wear off and you’ll get drowsy again. Drivers who limit their caffeine intake can recognize signs of drowsiness sooner, allowing you to stop for a break or a quick nap if you need it.

5. Exercise regularly

Many studies have shown that an active lifestyle helps to promote better sleep. Exercising regularly will help relieve stress, improve your sleep quality, and reduce excessive daytime sleepiness.

6. Drive defensively

When you’re constantly scanning the road and looking around, you’re keeping your eyes moving. This can help keep you from getting bored or drowsy.

7. Listen to something to keep you engaged

Long drives with nothing to see but roads and cornfields can get old quickly, which is why finding something to listen to that keeps you entertained can keep you alert and minimize boredom. You can try a playlist of your favorite music, an audiobook or even a podcast.

8. Lower the temperature

Some drivers say that being too warm can make them a little sleepy. Next time, try turning up the air conditioning or rolling down the window to change the temperature a little and see if it helps you stay more awake and alert.

9. Get moving during breaks

You do a lot of sitting as a truck driver, so getting up and moving around as much as possible during your breaks can really help improve your energy level. Getting your heart rate up pumps more oxygen through your veins and to your brain and muscles. One popular study done at California State University showed that taking a brisk 10-minute walk increased energy for two hours. You don’t have to fit in a full-on workout during every break, just take a few minutes to do something to raise your heart rate a little. Examples include a quick walk, jumping jacks, stretch or knee raises.

10. Take a nap if needed

Sometimes it’s just safer to take a nap if you need one. If you’ve tried other tips for staying awake and you still feel fatigued, find a safe and legal place to park and take a nap. A short 30-minute nap can do a lot to give you more energy.

In addition to these tips for staying alert as a trucker, it’s also important to be able to recognize the warning signs of drowsiness. Being able to tell when you need a break is vital to keeping yourself and others safe on the road. Some of these warning signs and symptoms of driving while fatigued include shifting in your seat, adjusting your hat often, tunnel vision, slower reaction times, varying your speed and forgetting which mile marker you’re at. Safety is a priority for us at Boyd Bros. We hold our drivers to a high standard and provide the training and resources to ensure our elite team of drivers are working safely and efficiently. Now is the perfect time to join our team! If you’re ready to make the switch, give us a call today!