We’ve all thought it: As a trucker, long hauls suck! They are boring and tedious. The hum of the road road is unending, and the scenery starts to look the same as the hours pass by. The combination of the tire hum and the repetitive scenery make it easy to fall into a lull and contribute to road fatigue, which in turn makes it harder for you to keep your eyes open.
So what should you do? Well, Here are the top ten time-tested methods by veteran truckers to stay awake and alert while making that long-haul assignment.
1) Take a power nap before you hit the road. According to studies, even sleeping for an hour, your body will receive the energy it needs to stay awake during long hours. If you’re already on the road, pull over and take 20-minute power-naps as needed. Remember, fighting fatigue to save a few hours isn’t worth it. You may end up hurting others and yourself.
2) Find time to eat something healthy after your power-nap. While it’s much more convenient to grab fast food when hitting the road, the fat and sugar will make you tired. You can eat complex carbohydrates and protein to give you lasting energy and stamina. Whole grains, lean meats (chicken and turkey), fruits, and vegetables are all foods that you should be eating to keep you awake during your trip.
3) Avoid caffeine and stay hydrated. Although coffee seems like a great way to jolt yourself awake, the caffeine in coffee wears off rather quickly. Caffeine also happens to be a diuretic, which increases your need to use the bathroom, way more than water will. Make sure to drink enough water to stay hydrated, because dehydration is quick to cause fatigue.
4) If it gets worse, turn up the music. Music affects your mood which, in turn, affected your energy levels. Feeling sleepy or down on your luck? Cheery or lively music you can sing along with. If you’re in the rig by yourself, all the better! This is sure to liven the mood and your energy levels.
5) Move when you start feeling fatigue. If you need to, pull over, get out and stretch your body. Your blood flow becomes restricted sitting in the same spot for long periods; moving around will get your blood flowing again and keep you alert.
6) Slap yourself awake. I know this tip may seem weird and silly, but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Do something to snap yourself out of your sleepy state, whether it’s pinching your arm, smacking yourself, or yodeling loudly, do whatever it takes (except legitimately hurting yourself) to make sure you’re wide awake.
7) Open your windows and let the oxygen flow! Cold air gives your body a temporary jolt, shocking your sense into alertness. Unfortunately, this and the previous tip are only temporary fixes and cannot replace good old shut-eye.
Remember, the safety of yourself and those around is worth more than saving a few extra hours on your haul. You could lose your job, license or even worse – your life. Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re tasked with a long-haul assignment and stay safe!
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