Have you ever gone on a very long drive, and got out of the car at the other end feeling utterly drained and exhausted? That’s what HGV drivers are contending with all the time. So it’s not surprising that driver fatigue is a real problem in today’s HGV driver community. In fact, it’s estimated that roughly 20% of the accidents that involve HGVs are due to drivers been overtired and making mistakes behind the wheel. Fatigue is a growing issue, and it’s up to drivers themselves to fix it. so today, we’re going to share with you 4 ways you can beat driver fatigue on the road this year.
Ok, so this one isn’t really that surprising, but in order to avoid fatigue, you need to get enough sleep. That means actually taking care of yourself and paying attention to your sleeping habits. If you know you need to get up early, make sure you get to bed earlier. But it’s not just the length of sleep that’s important, it’s the quality too. A few hours of deep sleep will do you more good than 8 hours of light sleep will, which might mean you need to make some changes in your night-time routine. If you don’t get enough sleep, you can actually build up a level of tiredness that’s the equivalent to being drunk behind the wheel. So if you’re an HGV driver, you need to prioritise your sleeping patterns as part of your work.
Have you ever noticed how eating a big meal can make you feel lazy, sleepy and just a bit groggy? It’s a pretty normal reaction to a full stomach and our bodies way of speeding up the digestion process. But the thing is, our bodies weren’t designed to eat a few big meals a day. We were built as grazers, to eat little and often to keep our energy up and ready to flee from predators. But our lifestyles have evolved to make us eat three larger meals a day, and this can make us sleepy. When you’re driving for a living, that’s a pretty bad thing. So if you want to stay more alert behind the wheel, try moving from a few big meals to more smaller meals throughout the day. You can even keep some healthy snacks in your cab to help boost your energy levels if you start to feel them dip.
Our bodies are around 60% water, but most of us are walking around chronically dehydrated. This means we have a base level of fatigue already built up, which is why it’s easier to get tired. Over time, if you don’t drink enough water, you can feel drained, tired and even dizzy – not what you want when you’re driving an HGV! Luckily this one is pretty easy to fix. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water every day, and keep a bottle of water in your cab to sip at during long drives.
Yes, we know this seems a little counter-intuitive, after all doing exercise makes you worn out and tired. But it also releases endorphins, which flood your body with happy hormones and adrenaline to wake you back up. But more than that, regular exercise can actually improve your energy levels across the board, so even when you’re not working out, you feel more energised, more awake, and less fatigued.
At the HGV Training Company, we believe that driver safety starts at training. When a new driver is learning how to drive a heavy goods vehicle, they also need to learn how to be safe, what they need to do to keep themselves in the right condition to drive. Our instructors make sure all of our students understand what can impact their ability to drive, and how to avoid it. If you’d like to know more, just get in touch today.
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