Staying Awake While Driving

Topic 5303 | Page 1

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Eddie F.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi folks,

This question has probably already been addressed, so my apologies for being late to the party.

Please tell me: what are good ways to keep awake while driving? I have heard the same concept expressed in different ways: zoning out, spacing out, highway hypnosis, etc. I remember reading something on mindfulness while driving: the article made suggestions such as tying a piece of string to the steering wheel - things like that to bring the driver's focus back to the hear and now. (I would say that this issue is different than being tired - which is easily fixed by pulling over and taking a nap).

Thanks for any and all ideas.

Mikki 's Comment
member avatar

I got nothing for ya, sorry haha. Other than the basics you already know, eat healthy, exercise when and if you can, etc. However, thank you for the string idea! Haven't heard that one. Hope to see some other ideas here. Stay safe.

Rolling Thunder's Comment
member avatar

Hi Eddie

I believe what you are referring to is called micro-sleep.

Rumple strips always work well, especially if you are in the bunk on a team run shocked.png

Seriously though, I have yet to experience micro sleep in the truck (I have in my POV a few times in my younger, partying days) probably because I keep my mind active. I always have a big bag of sun flower seeds. The act of having to remove the shell helps to keep me alert. I will also tune my sat radio to a show or station that either makes me think, or laugh. Of course there is always pulling over and walking around the truck for an impromptu inspection.

I also know enough about myself to not eat a big meal before driving, especially if I am in mid shift (hours). A light snack and sometimes sipping on a Red Bull do the trick.

Hope this helps.

Chris M's Comment
member avatar

Highway hypnosis is different than being sleepy for me. For fighting highway hypnosis I try to make myself look at things on the side of the road. As a truck driver you have to look at signs. I remind myself that I need to know where I am at all times. Try to get in the habit of looking at every mile marker or exit number. Any little thing you can do to keep your mind moving helps.

Eddie F.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you Mikki, Rolling Thunder, and Chris M. for all the helpful replies! Very much appreciated! The concept of doing things to keep the mind occupied sounds like a winner.

HAMMERTIME's Comment
member avatar

I don't really have this problem to be honest, you might call BS but I do several things to avoid zoning out. Proper amount of sleep is very imperative, that is the most important one of all and then while driving I move my head and look at things while watching my mirrors and keep watch of my surroundings. You also need to make sure that you're comfortable while driving and the way you sit does not create body soreness or aches. That will help fight fatigue and being fatigued will make you zone out because you're tired or worse, fall into a micro sleep. I also chew gum, eat mints. I try to avoid eating snacks unless its fruit or healthy stuff. I personally believe if I need something to help keep me awake I'm unsafe to drive. All these things I have mention mainly just help me stay busy while driving but I schedule breaks and possible nap times by trip planning correctly. I also have SiriusXM and I sometimes sing along and try to enjoy my drive.

I'm probably one of the few drivers that believe in not talking while driving, that's how serious I take my job. I don't even own a headset to talk on while driving. I schedule phone times during my trips. Sounds crazy but I know I can't completely focus 100% while talking to someone on the phone but that's me. I'm sure some people can talk and drive just fine but that's their call to make and I choose not to.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

J-Fresh's Comment
member avatar

Working nights doing LTL here on Vancouver Island most of my shifts are 10-13 hrs. My favourite thing to do when I start feeling what I call "the wall" at around 3-4am on a long boring strip of hwy is crank both windows for 1-2 mins and the jolt of fresh cold air smartens me up right quick.

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
Eddie F.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you, Driver and J-Fresh, for your helpful suggestions. Much appreciated!!

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

I agree with Driver. Nothing replaces proper rest. I don't drink coffee. Not because I don't like it. I love the taste. I just don't want to have to be near a bathroom if I drink to much. I drink an energy drink in the mornings, like people do coffee, to help wake me up.

I break my drive shift up into segments. I drive 2.5 hours then bathroom break. Driver another 2.5 to 3 hours then fuel and 30 break and then 2.5 and another bathroom break and then finish the last of my drive time.

I loose no time. Allows me to take my dog out and I get to get a much needed walk in for a few minutes. Driving for long periods of time can cause blood to pool in your lower back and legs which can lead to other health issues.

You can take this as seriously as you want to but I have one question I ask myself and if I don't know the answer it's break time... "What was the last mile marker I past?" cause if I can remember this very little detail then what other details am I missing and perhaps endangering other. If you can remember without having to think about it then you need a break.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

I agree with Driver. Nothing replaces proper rest. I don't drink coffee. Not because I don't like it. I love the taste. I just don't want to have to be near a bathroom if I drink to much. I drink an energy drink in the mornings, like people do coffee, to help wake me up.

I break my drive shift up into segments. I drive 2.5 hours then bathroom break. Driver another 2.5 to 3 hours then fuel and 30 break and then 2.5 and another bathroom break and then finish the last of my drive time.

I loose no time. Allows me to take my dog out and I get to get a much needed walk in for a few minutes. Driving for long periods of time can cause blood to pool in your lower back and legs which can lead to other health issues.

You can take this as seriously as you want to but I have one question I ask myself and if I don't know the answer it's break time... "What was the last mile marker I past?" cause if I can remember this very little detail then what other details am I missing and perhaps endangering other. If you can remember without having to think about it then you need a break.

The can's in the last paragraph should have been can't.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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