Fatigued driving is a hidden danger to everyone on the road, but it poses a special danger to people that drive professionally like truckers.
The National Safety Council says that drivers are 3 times more likely to get into an accident if they’re fatigued. They also report that driver awareness, the ability to react to hazards, and the ability to pay attention to the road all worsen as people grow fatigued.
Trucking companies owe it to their drivers to do whatever they can to help them fight fatigue. That’s why we hope our list of ways to prevent your drivers from feeling fatigued can help your drivers stay safe on the road.
Fight the Fatigued Feeling: 8 Ways to Reduce Driver Fatigue
Drive fatigue poses a physical danger to your driver and others on the road, and a monetary danger to your business. If your drivers are on the road feeling fatigued, they could cause an accident that even the most comprehensive limited liability insurance can’t fully cover.
Helping drivers combat fatigue can do a lot to benefit people both inside and outside of your business.
If you’re serious about helping your employees combat driver’s fatigue, consider implementing any of these changes or policies.
1. Impose Travel Limits
We know that tight deadlines can affect schedules, but the safety of your driver and others on the road should come before any delivery.
It may be tempting for your drivers to pull all nights or drive for dozens of hours when they’re up against a tight deadline. That’s why it’s up to businesses to not reward drivers for working more than their recommended amount of hours.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Commission recommends that truck drivers spend no more than 14 consecutive hours on the road. Let your drivers know that you expect them to drive within federally recommended limits.
2. Encourage Honest Communication
Is your driver not feeling well and thinks that they may be getting sick? Did someone not get enough sleep after a particularly long and stressful ride?
You wouldn’t want anyone on the road that isn’t feeling 100%. This is why it’s important to encourage your drivers to be honest about how they’re feeling.
Tell your fleet managers to check in with drivers before and after their scheduled shifts to see how they’re holding up. If possible, have people on call around routes that can step in if someone needs to take a break.
3. Utilize More Drivers
Sometimes it isn’t the amount of driving that makes truckers feel worn out, it can be having to drive a very long route.
If you have particularly long routes your drivers need to take, don’t leave all of the work up to one person. Consider adding more drivers to the route so that drivers don’t have to be on the road as long.
4. Teach Time Management
Long drives can easily lead to trucker fatigue. Every driver will have the occasional long trip, but more local drivers may be able to fight their fatigue by having better time management skills.
When truckers are busy it may feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to make their runs, sleep, eat, and exercise. Teaching them time management skills could help them balance their days better.
5. Educate Drivers
Feeling a little tired is one thing, but feeling completely fatigued during a drive is something else entirely.
Teach your drivers to recognize the signs of fatigue. Frequent yawning and heavy eyelids are obvious signs of fatigue, but there are other ones that may not be as easy to notice.
Are your drivers having trouble concentrating on the road? Do lines on the road seem to wobble or wave? Those can be signs of serious fatigue.
6. Encourage Healthy Habits
It can be difficult to find healthy restaurants in truck stops, but you should do what you can to encourage your drivers to eat well when they’re on the road.
A healthy diet can give your drivers more energy and could help them feel better overall when they’re working.
Make sure that your drivers have access to bottled water before they go on long trips, and have healthy snacks around the office. Give drivers the ability to talk to a nutritionist if they have questions about the best way to eat well.
7. Reward Good Behavior
Did one of your truckers let their supervisor know that they needed to take a break and catch up on sleep? Has someone been making an effort to get more sleep and eat better?
When your employees do the right things to fight fatigue you should reward their good behavior. Show them that taking time to rest won’t be punished and that your company encourages people to do the right thing.
Give drivers bonuses or allow them to work a more flexible schedule. Consider non-monetary rewards like a driver of the month award or just giving them public recognition over email.
8. Record Breaks
There can be such a thing as working too much when you’re in the trucking industry. Some of your drivers may be purposely skipping their breaks so they can make up for lost time or make an early deadline.
Make it known that you expect all of your drivers to take breaks. Instead of taking their word for it, insist that they include their breaks when they submit their hours.
Having break times on record can help you see if someone should be taking more time off the road. Accurate driver time records can also come in handy in case you ever have to fill out an incident report.
Drive Safe, Stay Safe
Safety is important to everyone in the insurance world, and it should be equally important to anyone in the trucking industry. If your drivers use these tips to battle fatigued feelings, everyone will be doing their part to stay safe on the road.
Do you have questions about how the right insurance policy can keep your employees safe at work? Are you thinking about taking out a new policy?
We’re here to help you with all of your insurance needs. Be sure to contact us today so we can connect.