Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of car and truck accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is not easy to determine the exact number of crashes due to tired drivers, but research suggests that drowsy driving contributed to as many as 864 fatalities in 2014.
Despite federal regulations that limit the number of hours that truckers can drive, they are still at a higher risk of fatigue than typical motorists. Due to the size and weight of commercial vehicles, occupants of passenger cars tend to suffer the worst of the impact in truck crashes. Many victims cannot return to work, and some face overwhelming medical bills.
If you were injured in a truck wreck in Louisiana, contact Morris Bart, LLC. A Monroe personal-injury attorney can determine if you may have grounds for a claim.
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Here are five tips to help truck drivers avoid fatigue-related crashes:
- Get Regular Sleep
It is important to get a good night’s sleep before any long journey. If you are a trucker who regularly drives for extended hours, it is critical that you establish a healthy sleep routine.
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According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, try to avoid driving when your body may be naturally drowsy, which is from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Driving at these hours may limit your response time and put you at a greater risk of being in an accident.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet
Many truck drivers find it difficult to maintain healthy diets due to the demands of the job. According to the FMCSA, eating at irregular intervals or skipping meals can cause fatigue and food cravings.
Avoid eating a large meal or going to bed hungry the night before a long journey. Eat a light snack before going to bed; this may help you fall asleep faster.
- Pull over and Rest When Necessary
Do not push the limits of your fatigue. If you are already driving and you feel tired, pull over to a safe place and take a short nap. Aim to nap for between 10 and 45 minutes, and give yourself 15 minutes to wake up before continuing your journey.
- Do Not Take New Medications before Driving
Do not take new medication before or during a long trip. Some medications and over-the-counter drugs can make you drowsy. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure about the potential side effects of your medication.
- Do Not Fight Fatigue
Many truckers resort to tricks such as turning on the air conditioner, opening the window, or playing loud music to help them stay awake. These will not make you less tired and may actually create an unnecessary distraction. Learn to recognize the warning signs of fatigue and pull over.
If you were injured in a truck accident caused by a tired driver, contact a Monroe accident lawyer from Morris Bart, LLC. You may be entitled to compensation for lost income, health-care bills and other damages. Schedule a consultation today by calling 800-537-8185.
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