Tag Archives: Fatigue management

Long Haul Driver? Here’s How You Can Stay Alert

As all long-haul drivers would know, keeping alert and awake during a trip is the most crucial part of the job. It’s not just about comfort and boredom: it’s about the safety of you, your cargo, and everyone else sharing the road.

 

Want to know the best ways to stay focused during a long drive? Here are our top tips, and why a truck replacement seat could make all the difference.

 

Doing What’s Best for Your Body

  • Stay hydrated – The body needs adequate water to digest food and produce energy. Dehydration leads to dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea.
  • Rest well – Always have a good, solid sleep before you take to the open road, and pull over for small naps whenever you’re tired. Even twenty minutes will do wonders to refresh your mind and body.
  • Manage your emotions – Overthinking or fixating on things like your home life, the traffic, or other problems can be exhausting and distracting. Try to learn mindfulness and the ability to let things go while you drive.

 

driver in cabin of big modern truck

 

Eating Well

The food you eat is an incredibly important factor in alertness—after all, it’s where we get our energy from. Although truck stop diners are temptingly convenient, make sure you balance fatty, sugary meals with foods rich in vitamins and nutrients. A balanced diet will help the body last longer and your mind concentrate better.

 

Don’t overeat, either, since digesting a large meal will only make you more tired. It’s better to eat smaller portions and snack frequently, and those snack breaks will give you something to punctuate your trip and look forward to.

 

Another thing to remember: By all means get a quick pick-me-up from sugar and caffeine, but don’t rely on it to keep you awake. Remember that the body will crash once those stimulants disappear.

 

Working in the Right Environment

  • Choose your entertainment wisely – This is a difficult one, because you want to stave off boredom by listening to something you like, but not focus too much so your attention is taken off the road. Keep your mind occupied by audiobooks and music you like, but don’t make it too complex and make sure you alternate between sounds and silence. Don’t forget to tune in to the CB, too!

 

view of the highway from the cab

 

  • Keep cool – The warmer you get, the drowsier and less alert you’ll be. Open a window and put the AC a couple of degrees lower to get your blood pumping and help the mind sharpen.
  • Invest in the right seat – It’s hard to overstate the effects of a semi-truck seat on your body. With the right seat, your body is cooler, you’ve got better lumbar support, and you don’t have to expend as much energy being comfortable. The best semi-truck seats make driving long distances—and staying alert the whole time—that much easier.

 

Your safety is our priority. At Suburban Seating & Safety, we stock high-quality commercial truck accessories designed especially for the long haul. Stay focused and drive better—browse our range of custom truck seats today!

 

DOT Hours of Service: Understanding the Unique Compliance Requirements

Truck driving is difficult work, requiring intense concentration for long periods of time. In order to increase driver and traffic safety, and to reduce the risks of fatigue in the trucking industry, the Department of Transport introduced a set of regulations in 2011 known as Hours of Service.

 

Here’s what you need to know about these rules.

 

Who It Applies To

On a federal level, the Hours of Service (HoS) regulations apply to drivers of any property-carrying commercial motor vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds. It also applies to anyone driving vehicles that are designated for use in transporting hazardous materials if the amount is sufficient to require a placard.

 

two trucks driving on the highway

 

Drivers carrying more than nine passengers (for compensation) or 16 passengers (not for compensation) are also affected, although their HoS requirements are slightly different from the ones we’re listing here.

 

Drivers aren’t the only ones liable if found in breach of the rules. The companies who employ the drivers also face consequences in the case of any violation, even if they were unaware of it.

 

The Requirements

For property-carrying drivers, the DOT regulations on driving hours are:

 

  • They must only drive up to 11 hours within a 14-hour time frame.
  • They must have 10 consecutive hours off duty before their next driving period.
  • They must have at least 30 minutes uninterrupted rest every eight hours or less.
  • They must drive only up to 60 hours per seven consecutive days, or 70 hours per eight days if the company operates seven days a week.
  • They can reset the 60/70-hour limit with a rest of 34 consecutive hours or more.
  • They must log all hours of service on paper or electronically.

Why Are They Important?

While the DOT Hours of Service limits might seem strict, compliance is crucial for a number of different reasons. These include:

 

  • Avoiding fines – The DOT performs regular audits of drivers and their employers, and breaches can result in severe penalties.
  • Avoiding driver injury – Not only does an injured driver require compensation and short or long-term replacement, but the personal cost of an accident to the driver can be significant and debilitating.
  • Avoiding crashes – Our roads and highways are the lifeblood of the country. Great care should be taken to make sure they’re safe for everyone, at all times.

 

high speed car overtake trailer truck on a highway

 

Managing Fatigue

Even if you already follow the DOT Hours of Service regulations to the letter, there’s always more you can do. Your own fatigue management is also incredibly important to both reducing driver error and managing a productive fleet of drivers. Some of the ways this can be done is through improving diet and exercise, managing sleep properly, using monitoring technology, and recognizing hazards.

 

Providing the right working environment is also key. Even something as simple as a custom truck seat can make a big difference to the driver’s comfort, health, and, ultimately, tiredness.

 

Whether you manage a team of drivers or are a long-haul driver yourself, you need to do everything you can to manage fatigue. Shop at Suburban Seating & Safety and give yourself a break with the best semi-truck seats in the industry.