Great literature may celebrate the allure of the night – its mystery, its serenity, its proverbial cool – but for truck drivers and other evening and early-morning sojourners, the dark hours pose real risks. Danger in the form of slow cars, wayward pedestrians, inadequately lit barriers or signs and other road hazards may lurk at every twist and turn of the open road. We at ABCO Transportation, where good driving is a way of life, present safety tips for night driving. While driving at night may offer sweet solitude or fit nicely into a unique schedule, the statistics offer a warning: Be wary. Late-shift drivers must take added precautions to keep safe.
More than 14 percent of the American labor force works the night-shift, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Those working at night suffer insomnia more than their daytime counterparts (61 percent). Night owls experience nearly twice the levels of daytime drowsiness as the sunshine folks. And night shifters are twice as likely to fall asleep at the wheel compared to day workers.
Vincent Van Gogh may have been on target when he said: “I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.” But cruising along at 65 mph on a dark highway requires a higher level of alertness and precaution.
Driving By The Numbers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number (15 million) of night workers will continue to increase as merchants extend their hours and expand their workloads to accommodate growing customer demand. According to a study by the University of California’s Center for WorkLife and the Center for American Progress, more than a quarter of those working the night shift choose those hours to accommodate child care concerns.
The National Sleep Foundation provides tips to alleviate the toilsome side of night driving:
- Eat healthy. Those on poor diets generally don’t sleep well. Eight hours of sleep is important for night-time workers.
- Follow the clock. Adhering to a consistent schedule helps establish a more natural sleep pattern.
- Exercise. Activity helps promote sleep.
- No Jo. Don’t drink coffee with caffeine or alcohol six hours before sleep time. And don’t smoke.
- Watch for the cues while driving: drifting off, weaving in traffic, tailgating, head nodding or excessive yawning.
- Take a breather. On long night trips, stop in safe areas for naps or long walks. Stopping every two hours – or every 100 miles – is ideal.
- Chit chat. Conversation tends to keep you alert. Maybe take along a companion. Don’t hold and talk on your cell phone while driving. Hands-free works.
If you have ideas or more safety tips for night driving for truck drivers, comment below. If you’d like more information about ABCO Transportation, contact us today.