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The dangers of sleepy truck drivers

Truck drivers have an exhausting job with long hours and late nights. It’s natural they would get fatigued occasionally. But when tired truck drivers get behind the wheel, it can make the roads less safe for other drivers.

We all feel a little sleepy while driving at times, especially during the morning commute or a long road trip, but drowsy driving can be serious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines drowsy driving as “the dangerous combination of driving and sleepiness or fatigue.”

Drowsy driving causes

This can occur when a driver has not slept enough, as is often the case for truck drivers, but it also happens due to untreated sleep disorders, medications or alcohol. It causes truck drivers to pay less attention and have slow reaction times to sudden breaks or steers. It can affect a truck driver’s ability to make good decisions, which leads to accidents.

Startlingly, studies from 2009 to 2012 showed an estimated 1 in 25 drivers aged 18 and older reported having fallen asleep behind the wheel in the previous 30 days. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drowsy driving caused 846 fatalities in 2014.

Safety on the road

Drivers can identify the warning signs of drowsy driving in themselves and make the choice to pull over. Those signals include:

  • Yawning or frequent blinking
  • Difficulty remembering the last few miles of the drive
  • Missing an exit
  • Drifting from your lane
  • Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road or the lane dividers

Motorists have no control over whether truck drivers are driving while drowsy and put others at risk of a devastating accident through their negligence. However, practicing alert driving habits and staying awake behind the wheel can hopefully improve safety through your own actions.  

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