When you share the road with truckers, it makes sense to take interest in driver safety in the trucking industry. You may have heard that drowsiness is a problem among truckers. Unfortunately, that is true.
How does drowsiness affect truck drivers? Are there any potential signs you can look out for that may help you avoid danger?
Why are truckers so tired?
The Sleep Foundation examines how drowsiness affects workers like truckers. First, why is drowsiness so prevalent in the trucking industry? Speculation varies, but there are a few points that former truck drivers generally agree upon. Many feel pressured to go without sleep due to company culture. Employers incentivize truck drivers by giving benefits for faster runs. This encourages drivers to go without sleep.
Also, many truckers feel that other truck drivers reinforce this culture. Some brag about the amount of runs they do with barely any sleep. Many truckers also swear by “wakefulness tricks”, which supposedly help keep an exhausted driver awake.
How does drowsiness impact safety?
Unfortunately, these tricks do not actually help. Drowsiness is a pervasive issue that affects all senses. The only cure for it is sleep. Any other measure is temporary, wears off, and leaves the driver with a false sense of security.
When drowsy, a driver has slower reflexes. They cannot predict or react to danger well. They lose focus and cannot concentrate. They may feel confused or make mistakes.