When researchers looked at how often truck drivers crashed because of fatigue, they found that around 13% of them experienced fatigue during accidents. Clearly, they could see that driver fatigue played a serious role and put everyone -- those drivers, other drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and more -- in danger.
What can drivers do to avoid this? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that they should:
- Never drive when taking medication that makes them feel tired, especially if they already feel tired for other reasons.
- Try to each healthy meals, as good nutrition can give them more energy. Simply trying to survive on extra cups of coffee may not be the way to go.
- Avoid driving late at night, when the body is naturally tired, regardless of their sleep schedule.
- Try to get a good night's sleep before any long days on the road. Trying to "gut it out" on a few hours of sleep may work in other professions, but it's just not safe for professional drivers.
- Not try to trick their bodies. Some people think they can stay awake if they roll down the window or crank up the music, for instance, but that's no substitute for real sleep.
- Not be afraid to stop and take a nap. Drivers need to know their limits and they need to know when to get off of the road.
These tips can help, but it's clear from the statistics that not all drivers use them. That puts you in danger. If you get injured in an accident, make sure you know what legal rights you have to financial compensation.