Staying Awake on the Road
Short days and icy conditions create dangerous driving conditions for every person on the road but are especially deadly for drowsy drivers. Driving while exhausted can seriously impair your ability to stay alert, use proper judgment, and react to any incidents that occur in the vehicle. Drowsy drivers are also at serious risk of falling asleep for a few seconds at a time, which is known as microsleeping. A few seconds may not seem like much, but a driver who falls asleep while driving at highway speeds can blindly travel the length of a football field in just 5 seconds.
As your drivers travel throughout the country during this dangerous winter season, make sure they are equipped to protect themselves, other drivers, and your assets while driving.
1. Recognize the signs
With the ELD Mandate, your drivers should never be drowsy due to their work schedule. That doesn’t mean, however, that your drivers will never need sleep when their shift begins. You can’t control what your employees do during their off time, but you can train them to be smart about drowsy driving. To best equip your drivers, help them recognize these symptoms, offered by the National Sleep Foundation:
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking and/or heavy eyelids
- Difficulty keeping reveries or daydreams at bay
- Trouble keeping your head up
- Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips
- Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven
- Missing exits or traffic signs
- Yawning repeatedly
- Feeling restless, irritable, or aggressive
2. Prepare for your circumstances
The sun sets early in the winter, creating an even more dangerous situation for sleepy drivers. As your drivers make their way around the country, make sure they’re prepared for their circumstances. Have drivers who are low on sleep plan for an early stop. Have every driver check weather conditions before leaving to avoid getting caught in snowstorms, ice, or dangerous temperatures. Preparation is key to safety, especially during the winter.
3. Offer support
If, for any reason, your drivers are unable to postpone their trip, support them through frequent check-ins and active GPS tracking. Your business has an important schedule, but always remember that lives are more important than deadlines. If your driver expresses a need to stop, support that decision and do your best to give your driver the rest they need while still meeting your obligations.
How do you prepare your drivers for safe travel?