All experienced truckers know that one of the biggest challenges of the job is staying alert and focused on the road. But fear not, for there are plenty of tips and tricks that can help truck drivers stay awake and energized during the long on-road hours demanded by the job/industry.
Read below—whether new or seasoned pro—while we put the pedal to the metal for some of the most practical and effective ways to boost energy and maintain focus behind the wheel of your rig.
Get Enough Sleep!
Just like any other job, getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for truck drivers to perform at their best. Experts recommend adults should get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night for ideal overall health. Prioritize rest, a bodily necessity, and avoid cutting corners, as lack of sleep can lead to drowsiness, reduced reaction times, and impaired cognitive function. Exhausted driving is tantamount to inebriated driving.
Consider Vitamin Supplements!
Vitamins can play a key role in boosting energy levels for truck drivers. Vitamin B-12, found in animal products like meat and dairy, helps in the production of new blood cells and healthy nerve cells. Iron is another important nutrient that helps with hemoglobin production, which carries oxygen throughout the body. Consult with a trusted doctor before starting any supplement regimen to ensure it’s safe and appropriate for your individual needs.
Be Careful with Meds—OTC or Prescribed!
Some medications can cause drowsiness, of course, which also-of-course can be extraordinarily dangerous for truck drivers and those they share the road with. Always be aware of the side effects of any medications you’re taking, and also-also-of-course avoid any with sedating before or while driving. If you’re unsure about the effects of a medication, read the label, ask your pharmacist or doctor, and take it (-as prescribed or indicated) on days off to gauge all effects. Skip medications with antihistamines, as they can ostensibly seem safe but still potentially affect your ability to stay alert on the road.
Sticking to a balanced, nutritious diet is key for healthfulness, and naturally boosts energy levels. While it can certainly be tough to avoid junk food as a truck driver, even small changes can make a big difference once habitually ingrained. Choose healthier-but-still-tasty meals (e.g., egg white omelets, turkey sausage…) and snacks (-fresh fruits, custom salads, nuts string cheese…) Opt for water instead of sugary treats like soda or energy drinks to stay hydrated and avoid crashes, so to speak, resulting from oscillating sugar highs and lows.
Take Regular Breaks!
Take regular breaks! Spacing them out over your truck-driving shifts will help you stay alert and focused. Use these breaks to stretch, walk around, get some fresh air. Jumping jacks. -Dance a little if ya want; good exercise for you, good entertainment for any lucky onlookers. Avoid sitting for long periods of time without moving, as it can lead to stiffness and reduced blood flow, thereby dampening alertness and overall well-being.
Use Caffeine… Strategically!
While it’s obviously wise to avoid caffeine before bedtime, relying on it strategically during your shifts can help you stay awake and focused. Limit your caffeine intake to moderate levels. i.e., avoid excessive consumption and therefore those dreaded “jitters,” an increased heart rate, and the previously-intimated-at disrupted sleep patterns. Use caffeine strategically, such as during the beginning of your shift or during long stretches of driving, and avoid it close to bedtime.
Get Some Mental Exercise!
Staying mentally engaged and alert can help truck drivers stay focused on the road. Engage in mental exercises, such as listening to audiobooks, podcasts, educational content (etc.) to keep your mind active and alert. And of course, for goodness sake, avoid engaging in distracting activities such as texting or browsing the internet, as it can take your focus away from the road—and potentially put you on an entirely different “route” altogether, one best avoided at all costs.
Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star for all Your Trucking Needs!
Whether you are looking to upgrade your fleet to tow trucks or are simply interested in the latest trucking technology, you can rely on Baltimore Freightliner-Western Star. We have provided top-notch service for the trucking industry for 30 years and would love to assist you in buying a new top-of-the-line truck, finding the specialty parts you need, or repairing your truck. Give us a call toll-free at 800-832-7278 or locally at 410-685-4474, or contact us online. To find out more about what we are up to, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.