Tips For Driving A Truck At Night
For many truck drivers, there’s nothing better than driving at night. No cars on the road, less construction, and getting to see the sun set and rise from your cab every day. If you’ve been driving trucks for a while, chances are you’ve driven at night, but are you aware of extra dangers to be aware of when driving in the darkness? The obvious difference is the lack of daylight, which will affect your visibility and spatial awareness, but there’s much more to consider before venturing out on a dusk-til-dawn journey. If you encounter an issue with your rig at night, you may find that any nearby truck repair shops are closed, and you might need emergency roadside assistance. Here are some safety tips for driving a truck at night.
Sleep deprivation can occur at any time of day or night, but the risk increases greatly through the darkest hours, disturbing the driver's sleeping patterns. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the majority of sleep related crashes happen during the early hours of the morning, when drivers are likely to be at their drowsiest. With this in mind, it’s really important to pay attention to the warning signs your body gives you, to let you know you’re tired and not able to continue to operate a vehicle safely.
One of the first warning signs is being unable to recall where you are, or what you’ve done for the last few minutes while driving. If you don’t remember taking that exit, or maybe you even missed it and you’re in the next town, it’s probably time to stop and rest until you’re safe to get back on the road. Other signs are yawning frequently, braking later than you should, or making silly mistakes such as using the wrong signal or pressing the opposite electric window button than you were intending to press. It may seem like a little mistake, but it’s a sign that you’re not fully focused and on point.
It’s a good idea to sleep before you depart on your journey, so that your energy levels are at their highest, and you’re less likely to start feeling sleepy while on the road. Plan your trip carefully before you leave, to ensure you will have time to rest, whilst also delivering your cargo on time. You’re allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours a day, so aim to stop every few hours to stretch your legs or take a nap. If you’re driving your rig on a long haul delivery over multiple days and thousands of miles, make sure you get enough sleep in your 10 hour break after concluding your hours of service that day.
Some temporary fixes to keep you awake are drinking high caffeine drinks, blasting your A/C or playing your music loud. These may shock you awake, but eventually fatigue will set in again and you’ll start drifting off, putting you and other road users at risk. Stop, and take a break.
And don’t forget, most businesses are closed overnight. If something were to happen to your truck at night, be sure to have the number of a company that offers 24/7 emergency roadside assistance Chester, NY, so you don’t lose a day on the road waiting for a truck repair shop Florida, NY to open.