Night Driving Tips

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Driving Under Pressure's Comment
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Just got hired on with Old Dominion as a line haul driver. Just waiting for my drug test to clear and receive a start date. So I was told that majority of linehaul/ road drivers run at night due to the miles that need to be covered. This is my first permanent night driving job, I've been driving 1 year and 1 month and I have, collectively, about a month's worth of night driving experience.

My question for the people who run at night, how do you keep yourself awake/alert? Throughout the entire night. Any time I'm driving during the day and happen to get sleepy I usually eat seeds, or play some music, or get out and stretch etc and it helps a little. I don't drink coffee that much and I don't drink energy drinks at all so I usually take around 3 straight caffeine pills (200mg each) and it gets me going but after 4 hours it starts wearing off. Also, how long did it take for your body to get used to sleeping during the day?

Any additional information would be appreciated

-Thanks

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.
Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

How your body adjusts will be specific for you. I talk on the phone and listen to the radio. If, I'm that tired, I pull over and nap. There will be an adjustment time for you. Also, ask other drivers at ODFL for their suggestions. Good luck.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Get blackout curtains for your bedroom. For obvious reasons, the mere presence of daylight will make it hard to sleep during the day.

Just like jet-lag, in a perfect situation it takes about 3 days to fully adjust.

Do not depend on pills/energy drinks/shots over the long term.

Also, to preserve night vision, wear sunglasses when you need to go into a truck stop or office at night. (Take 'em off once you're outside - yaknowwhatImean?)

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I think the biggest thing is getting properly rested before work.

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

Talk on the phone, munch on stuff, listen to radio or podcasts, silence, etc. Just switching it up now and then helps me. We've got several threads on this topic you might find helpful--just use the search bar at the top of the page.

I always joked with my coworker when I was working overnights in a DC--there's always a "wall." Everyone hits a a wall at some point during the night. You might have to stop and take a nap, or maybe you can power through, but once you get through it you're usually all right for the rest of the shift.

BQ 's Comment
member avatar

Most importantly, an adjustment to your sleep schedule for day sleep will be necessary. Driving linehaul , you likely won't have time to nap during shift and personally I'm not a fan of the idea of talking on phone while driving, hands free or not, it still takes attention from the road and what's happening around you. Aside from appropriate rest before shift, I have found hard candy, such as jolly ranchers to be terrific when getting a bit tired, as well as pumping the radio and rolling down window for fresh air.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.
John M.'s Comment
member avatar

Also, to preserve night vision, wear sunglasses when you need to go into a truck stop or office at night. (Take 'em off once you're outside - yaknowwhatImean?)

I wear my sun glasses at night, so I can so I caaaan

Unholychaos's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Also, to preserve night vision, wear sunglasses when you need to go into a truck stop or office at night. (Take 'em off once you're outside - yaknowwhatImean?)

double-quotes-end.png

I wear my sun glasses at night, so I can so I caaaan

106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses. Hit it!

Driving Under Pressure's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for all the advice and tips guys. It will definitely be a learning experience for me as well as an interesting adjustment period.

Michael S.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome to Old Dominion, I just started with them 2 months ago and like you run linehaul at night.

The one thing I can say about them so far is they are very understanding when it comes to safety, if you find yourself getting sleepy STOP driving and take a 15-20 minute nap, that's better then the freight not getting there because it's in a ditch.

My advice pretty much goes with what the other guys said. I have found the life saver peppermints to be awesome not a lot of sugar and the peppermint helps me stay alert if that makes sense.

If you do get a run you're doing regularly do not stop the same place every night, it's important to keep things switched up.

If I think of anything else I'll let you know.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.
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