According to the FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 13% of commercial motor vehicle drivers were found to be fatigued at the time of their accidents. Fatigue can result from several things, including lack of sleep and extended work hours. Truckers in Nevada should consider the following tips for avoiding fatigue behind the wheel.
The first tip, and one of the more obvious, is to get adequate sleep and avoid driving during the “lulls” when the body is naturally drowsy. These lulls usually go from midnight to 6 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Next, truckers should eat well and regularly. Both a lack of food and a heavy meal can hinder sleep while a light snack beforehand can improve sleep. Truckers should avoid drowsiness-inducing medications, including allergy and cold medicines.
The next three tips are very basic: recognize the signs of drowsiness, take a nap when drowsy and don’t rely on “alertness tricks.” First, the signs are simple and include frequent yawning, heavy eyelids and trouble remembering the last few miles traveled. Truckers who take a nap should ensure that it’s at least 10 minutes long. Ideally, a nap should be 45 minutes long. As for those alertness tricks that don’t work, some examples are playing loud music and rolling down the windows.
When drowsy drivers cause truck collisions, they usually open up the way for a personal injury claim. Trucking companies work hard to deny most of these claims or get the victims to agree to a low-ball settlement. Therefore, someone who intends to file may want a lawyer by their side for negotiations. Even before that, a lawyer may prove helpful by bringing in crash investigators and other third parties to gather proof of the trucker’s negligence and strengthen the case in other ways.