Despite strict laws to limit the hours commercial truck drivers spend behind the wheel, fatigue remains a problem. Passenger vehicle drivers who share the Florida roads with big rigs are vulnerable. Drivers of semis, 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers who haul heavy cargo loads across the country need to find effective ways to avoid drowsiness and fatigue while working to earn an income.
The task of controlling large trucks for long hours, as well as the concentration and physical exertion involved in trucking, takes a toll on truck operators. If they do not find safe ways to keep focus and alert while driving, the consequences could be catastrophic. The sheer size difference between passenger cars and big rigs is enough to cause severe injuries or worse to occupants of smaller vehicles.
Experienced commercial vehicle drivers recommend the following steps to avoid fatigue as they haul cargo across state lines:
- Pull off the road for frequent short naps before fatigue and exhaustion take over.
- Short power naps usually make truckers more alert.
- It helps walk around the truck or stretch the body after a nap and before driving.
- Avoid blinding headlights at night by not looking directly into them.
- Dimming the dashboard lights at night can avoid tired, burning eyes and drowsiness.
- Warm cabs cause drowsiness, while cool cabs can keep truckers alert.
- Work-related or home-related arguments compromise focus.
- Avoid mixing stimulants like coffee and other caffeine-containing energy drinks.
- Note that caffeine might avoid drowsiness for a while, but it does not replace sleep.
- Snacks or small meals can help to boost energy; however, too much will cause drowsiness.
Although Florida motorists who drive defensively might avoid collisions with large trucks, they remain vulnerable. Those who survive such accidents are often left with life-changing injuries. Injured victims of car vs. truck accidents and families of deceased victims can pursue financial relief through the Florida civil justice system.