Truck Driving Safety: Driver Fatigue


Shaun Stille

Truck Driving Safety: Driver Fatigue

Driving a big rig comes with quite a load of responsibility. After all, your vehicle is likely the biggest and heaviest on the road. This means it is essential you take certain safety precautions in order to ensure your safety at all times, and that includes the safety of other drivers. Believe it or not, the most deadly and dangerous part of driving a truck is fatigue.

Understanding Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue occurs when a driver’s ability to safely drive is diminished due to being mentally or physically tired. This poses a significant threat to other drivers on the road, especially when you are operating a big rig. The primary causes of “drowsy driving” include too little sleep, driving during hours when you would typically be asleep, and staying awake for long periods of time.

How Big of an Issue is Drowsy Driving?

Estimates have shown that big rigs make up about 4 percent of all vehicles on the road at any time. Although this is a relatively small number, these same trucks are involved in about 11 percent of the total crashes, with at least one resulting in a fatality. Typical 18-wheelers weigh 60,000 to 80,000 pounds, whereas a traditional truck or car weighs between 2,000 and 4,000 pounds. This huge size difference is a clear reason why accidents that involve 18-wheelers can be far more deadly.

The numbers related to driver fatigue are also quite troubling. It is estimated that about 30 to 40 percent of all crashes that involve a big rig are, in part, the result of driver fatigue. Also, driver fatigue has been cited as the primary cause of about 13 percent of all 18-wheeler-related deaths.

Driver Fatigue Fast Facts

Why Driver Fatigue is Such a Prevalent Issue

There are quite a few reasons why big rig drivers become fatigued. However, the most common reason is because of the actual industry. In a number of situations, the amount of money drivers make is directly based on how quickly they are able to deliver their loads. This creates a financial incentive for drivers to continue driving even after they become fatigued.

Battling Fatigue on the Road

One of the best ways to prevent fatigue is to get plenty of sleep. There are actual laws in place that regulate the amount of time a driver can be on the road without sleep. This is to safeguard everyone, including the driver and other drivers on the road. In addition to getting plenty of sleep, you should eat right and avoid medicines or other substances that can cause drowsiness.

When it comes to staying safe on the road, taking precautions is essential. Stay tuned for the next part of this two-part series, which focuses on various hazards and safety precautions to keep in mind while on the road.

Global Parts, Inc. is dedicated to ensuring that you are safe while on the road. We have the parts and components to ensure that your truck continues operating at maximum efficiency. If you need any type of part, including refrigerant, you need to contact us today. We offer a discount of 10 percent on our refrigerant during the summer months. If you order from our website, you can get 10 percent off your refrigerant purchase with the code “BeatTheHeat.”

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