How To Stay The Heck Awake??!!

Topic 19156 | Page 1

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Straight E.'s Comment
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I'm new to trucking, I'm running a dedicated route. I've only been driving 2 months, so I'm really green.

I don't mind the job, I'm getting used to it and I'm home every weekend. I'm just noticing that I am getting REALLY tired behind the wheel every few hours and it really affects my driving.

I've tried several things to keep awake. Music, podcasts, strong dark tea (not a coffee drinker) and as of late, slapping myself... Wish I was kidding. Given that I'm doing dedicated, I can't just stop and rest. We're on tight schedules and we mostly do delivery type routes.

What are somethings you guys do to stay awake behind the wheel?

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Kevin H.'s Comment
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Are you driving overnight or something? Do you get enough sleep when you're off? In the end the only thing you can do is sleep. Even stopping to take a 20 minute nap makes a big difference.

Matt 's Comment
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I notice on long trips getting out an walking even to use the restroom is a big help. Watching more than the road like guages mirrors surroundings. And stay hydrated and fed. My 2ยข.

Andy M.'s Comment
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+1 on stopping to get out and walk around if possible. Otherwise stopping and doing some jumping jacks or something to get the blood flowing is a big help. But of course a good sleep is what really recharges you.


Operating While Intoxicated

Lyght's Comment
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I'm new as well to driving only having about much time behind the wheel as you do, I'm not on a dedicated route so I'm not sure how different that makes things. Radio, soda, slaps don't seem to help much. I even started pinching myself and dumping cold water on my head or down my back, all of which did very little to help and didn't last long.

I'm not sure why, but chewing gum seems to help me stay awake.

Sleep of course is the best but being new its hard to sleep on the truck between the uncomfortable bed or someone idling their truck near yours or a loud reefer or any other new noises that you're not used to yet. If your truck is anything like mine even keeping the temperature comfortable enough for a full nights sleep is sometimes a challenge.

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."


A refrigerated trailer.

BQ 's Comment
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I generally have a stash of 5 hr energy shots and other energy drinks in truck for when needed. As others have stated, an appropriate amount of sleep during off time is healthiest route. Similar to Lyght's use of gum, I have found hard candy to be a big help. Get yourself a nice sized bag of jolly ranchers (something similar) and keep it within reach while driving.

Pianoman's Comment
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Are you getting good sleep on your ten hour breaks? That's going to be your biggest help. Some tips for getting better sleep:

- don't go to bed on an empty stomach

- avoid eating immediately before bed, avoid big meals before driving

-stay hydrated

- really try to avoid alot of caffeine, especially before bed

- maybe this is just me, but I find I have more energy in general when I avoid sugar

- keep it cool in the truck when you're sleeping. If you have to idle, so be it. If your company fusses, oh well--it's a safety issue if you can't get your rest.

- exercise regularly

- this is a given, but keep it dark in the sleeper when it's time for bed

- put the electronics away. Keep your phone out of arm's reach if you have to, but commit yourself to not use it when it's time for bed.

Hopefully you can implement alot of that stuff, even with the craziness of otr.

As far as tips to stay awake...

- drink lots of water. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time nodding off when I have to keep pulling over to take a leak. And you really can't go wrong with water, unlike other drinks that can have negative effects if you drink too much.

- find something to much on. Nuts work for me but that might not be a good option if you're trying to lose weight. Someone else mentioned gum. A lot of drivers chew seeds.

- call a friend using a hands free device. If you don't have one, get yourself a bluetooth headset or earpiece. There are a couple people on this forum I'll call and talk to for hours while we're driving--helps us both stay awake.

- open the window. This one doesn't work that well for me, but it might help you get a few miles down the road to the next rest area so you can snooze for half an hour.

- sing along to the radio. This one's about as effective as opening the window.


Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Dont eat big meals while driving, that will always put you to sleep especially at night.

Much on carrots and tart cucumbers while driving. The crunch wakes your brain up, and the cucumbers make it impossible to fall asleep with that feeling in your mouth.

My two greatest secrets.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Also dont use the heater when driving. It would be more beneficial to be driving super cold than to be driving warm. The heat puts you to sleep.

Reaper's Comment
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No wonder why during my night shifts now im having lots of trouble staying awake. Im drinking 5-7 coffee energy drinks or monster combinations. I always thought more caffiene and sugar would keep me awake. Thanks for the tips!

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