As an HGV driver, you’ve probably had your fair share of long journeys. Long-haul drivers especially know how difficult it can be to focus on driving for hours at a time without losing concentration. But it’s an important skill to learn – since being distracted on the road could cost you your job or even your life. So it should be no surprise that there are plenty of tricks and hacks out there to help keep you focused and alert behind the wheel. Today, we have 4 tips from some of our experienced HGV drivers for you to try out.
If you’re tired, you’re not going to be a good driver – regardless of what type of vehicle you’re driving. Driving tired now claims more lives on the road each year than drink driving does, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. As well as practising good sleep hygiene at home, napping while on the road can help keep you awake and alert behind the wheel for longer. Try to slot naps into your rest stops where you can. Ideally, you would want a 20-minute nap, followed by a 10-minute walk or run to get the blood pumping again, but you can adjust this to match your routine and time constraints. If you can master the art of the power nap, you will find it much easier to focus and cope with those longer journeys.
Your diet has a lot to do with your ability to concentrate and to stay awake. When you’re all alone in your cab for long stretches it’s all too easy to end up eating nothing but junk food and chugging energy drinks – neither of which are great for focus. So instead, try to make sure you’re eating at least 3 healthy, balanced and nutritional meals a day, and snacking on healthier options. Water and fruit are essentials to keep in your cab, as they provide you with a level and consistent source of energy and hydration, without the insulin spikes (and accompanying crashes) of energy drinks and sugary snacks.
Staring at the road can get a bit boring for anyone and on long trips, this is a common thing. But when you’re bored your mind tends to wander, which means you’re not focussed on the road ahead of and around you. This leads to distraction and accidents, both of which are bad news. To keep your mind in the moment and stop it wondering, try listening to something that engages your brain. Audiobooks, podcasts or even your favourite music is great for this, and it’s a great way to enrich your life while you’re earning money – a win-win in any book!
Have you ever tried to stay awake and alert in a hot, stuffy room? It’s hard, isn’t it? That’s mainly because heat is fatiguing, and if you’re already tired then it can be all you need to lull you into sleep. Which is fine if you’re just sitting at home on the sofa, but not so great if you’re behind the wheel of an HGV. Even in the coldest of weather, you don’t want your cab to get too hot, as it will drain all of your energy and make you lose your focus. Instead, open a window or turn the aircon on and embrace the cold – it’s what keeps you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on long drives!
At The HGV Training Centre, we not only teach you how to drive an HGV safely and get you through your tests, we work hard to make you a better driver with tips and tricks like these. Our instructors have decades of experience in both driving HGVs professionally and teaching driving, so you know you’re in safe hands. If you would like to find out more, just get in touch today.
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