All drivers in New Mexico are at higher risk of being involved in a crash when they are overtired. Truck drivers are especially vulnerable because they drive long and irregular hours. Because crashes involving drowsiness are typically quite serious, drivers should take a number of steps to fight this fatigue and prevent accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discusses some of the risks related to fatigue-caused crashes. Loss of sleep is an obvious factor in those who are fatigued while driving. For truck drivers, driving patterns play a big role. This is because truckers tend to drive long hours without taking any type of a break, and they do this day after day. In order to meet deadlines, some drivers also drive in the middle of the night, and the hours between 12 and 6 AM are especially risky. Drivers who seem particularly susceptible to fatigue may want to get tested for sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and sleep apnea, as there are treatments to help mitigate these conditions.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that over 10% of truck drivers involved in a crash were fatigued. Some tips it gives to stay rested and safe behind the wheel include:
- Eating healthy food and at regular intervals
- Being able to identify signs of tiredness, such as hazy vision and yawning
- Getting enough sleep every night and avoiding driving during certain hours
- Taking a 10 to 45 minute nap when feeling drowsy
- Avoiding cold medicine, tranquilizers or other sleep-inducing medication
Although certain activities may result in temporary alertness, they should not be relied on. These include opening the window, caffeine, turning up the radio and smoking.