Fatigued drivers are a risk to everyone on the road. In fact, not getting enough sleep can make drivers just as dangerous as they would be if they were intoxicated. That should be enough to make people get enough rest before they drive, but it isn’t.
Perhaps shockingly, the number of commercial truck accidents has increased by 20 percent in the last decade, even through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has taken steps to reduce them by implementing new regulations.
Fatigue is a primary cause of accidents, but it’s not the only one. Here is a little more about drivers and why they crash in America.
Falling asleep behind the wheel or becoming drowsy can both be extremely hazardous. A drowsy driver may not pay attention as closely as they should, while a fatigued driver may make mistakes that end up causing crashes. Fatigue isn’t just physical, either. It can include emotional exhaustion.
Speeding is another reason that drivers crash and cause accidents. They speed up to meet unrealistic deadlines, but the real trouble occurs when they can’t stop fast enough for traffic or fall asleep while traveling at a high speed. In any case, speeding is illegal, and truck drivers should be particularly sensitive to the risks they could pose to others.
When a driver is ill, it’s more likely that they’ll be distracted and tired. Illnesses can come on suddenly, like heart attacks or asthma attacks, but in other cases, simple colds can be a problem. Combined with medications, drivers may have trouble focusing behind the wheel. They should always seek medical help when necessary and get enough rest when they are unwell. While it may delay a shipment, it’s better than putting lives at risk.
Stress is another common cause of collisions. Drivers stay awake long hours to meet deadlines and exhaust themselves to do what their employers need. The idea of financial losses is an emotional strain for many, just as sitting for many hours is a physical stressor.
Drivers need to take time to relax and sleep. Getting enough rest can reduce the risk of crashes, lower stress and help drivers better monitor their speeds. There is no excuse for being tired behind the wheel. Truck drivers know that they’re in large, heavy vehicles and that they pose a threat to others. They shouldn’t let themselves become a hazard.