Fatigue Can Cause Accidents

Stay Awake

Driver fatigue causes accidents! Fatigue is caused by a number of factors but not getting proper rest and driving too long without stopping are two of the primary reasons a driver becomes fatigued. Other factors, such as consuming a large meal prior to driving can also cause drowsiness. Fatigue can affect a driver in different ways. One form of fatigue causes a driver to doze off or fall asleep at the wheel.

Stay Alert

A less obvious way that the human body is affected by fatigue is to get confused or to fail to react to changing road or traffic conditions. This type of fatigue can occur at any time but often happens late at night or early in the morning. A driver is more likely to encounter this type of fatigue after driving for an extended period of time. Fatigue can also be caused by driving under extremely stressful conditions such as, driving at a high rate of speed or driving under severe weather conditions for a long period of time. When this type of exhaustion occurs the driver may fail to react properly or may make an error in judgment that can cause or contribute to an accident.

Hours of Service

The Federal Motor Carrier "Hours of Server Regulations" were designed to combat the fatigue caused by excess hours of driving and on-duty time. The driving environment in and outside of the modern truck has changed considerably since the Hours of Service Regulations were first established. These regulations are still an important factor in reducing weariness for the professional driver. Following the Regulations, getting proper rest, eating moderately, exercising regularly and driving at a safe speed are some of the ways that the commercial driver can reduce fatigue and prevent accidents.

If You Get Tired or Drowsy

Plan ahead -- get the proper rest and do not eat a large meal just before starting a long trip. If you do become sleepy, stop your vehicle in a safe place and walk around and get some fresh air or do some light exercises. Always make sure that there is fresh air circulating in your vehicle and lower the temperature in the cab to a cool, but comfortable setting. Drinking coffee or tea may reduce drowsiness but, remember, caffeine does not eliminate the cause of fatigue, such as driving long periods without a break. If all else fails, stop and sleep! It is important to deliver your load on time. It is more important to deliver it safely.