Overnight drives can be a blessing or a curse. On the plus side, you have the whole road to yourself. You don’t have to worry about traffic holding you up as you pass through cities, and you can go at whatever pace you please. However, overnight drives also mean staying up all night, which could potentially be a shock to your system. It’s easy to become sleepy with nothing but a dark road ahead, but it is important to your safety, and to those around you, that you stay awake and alert while driving. Additionally, if you are not used to night drives, you could be at a higher risk of drifting off. According to Instructional Technologies, if you do not typically drive at night, you are more likely to experience fatigue than frequent night drivers.
Whether you are a seasoned night driver or are about to venture on your first overnight assignment, here are 10 tips to help you stay sharp during those late night trips.
1. Avoid High Contrast Light
According to Trucking Truth, bright lights in the cab can create a harsh contrast to the dark road outside. This can cause your eyes to struggle to adjust and become tired quickly. It may seem like the opposite of what you should do to stay awake, but be sure to turn down the light in your truck. Even turning down the lights in your dashboard can help your eyes stay wide awake during a late night drive. It is also important not to stare into the lights of oncoming vehicles as they pass. Be sure to always keep your eyes in your own lane.
2. Maintain a Level Head
Before you get behind the wheel for a long journey ahead, be sure your emotions are in check. If you’ve had a stressful day or are upset about something, be sure to put it all behind you before putting the truck in drive. It may be easier said than done, but if you spend the entire night fuming about past events, you are likely to wear yourself out. Emotions can drain your energy and leave you feeling exhausted; this is even true of positive emotions. If you had a great day or have something to celebrate, be sure to keep your excitement in check as well. Try to keep your radio singing to a minimum and focus your attention on the road.
3. Watch What You Eat
Eating on the road can be tricky. It’s tempting to grab a quick burger or a bag of chips at the gas station. However, if you choose to eat something heavy in carbs or sugar, it will make you feel sluggish and sleepy later on. Obviously your options on the road are limited, so plan ahead with a cooler full of your own healthy foods. If fast food is your only choice, avoid the greasy burgers and fried chicken. Mix it up with a salad, fruit cup or grilled meat. Most fast food chains have added healthier options like these to their menus, which will help you feel more energized and ready to stay up late.
4. Grab a Coffee
This one may seem obvious, but don’t forget the coffee! Coffee will help boost your energy and keep you fresh throughout the night.
5. But Don’t Overdo the Caffeine…
That being said, be sure to keep your coffee consumption in check. Too many coffees or energy drinks can make you jittery and will eventually make your energy crash. This is also true of drinks full of sugar and artificial flavorings. Large amounts of soda and sugar-loaded juices can make your blood sugar spike and crash, which could lead to you falling asleep behind the wheel.
6. Drink Lots of Water
Coffee is important to sip on while driving overnight, but nothing is more important than water. Staying hydrated is the easiest way to remain awake and feel alert. You may think it is a better idea to skip the water to avoid constant bathroom breaks, but drinking coffee without water can actually create more of an urge to urinate, and can lead to headaches and other health issues.
7. Check Your Truck’s Temperature
The temperature in your truck can also affect your energy levels. If you keep it nice and toasty in your truck, you may find yourself becoming drowsy on long drives. Instead, be sure to keep your air a little cooler than comfortable to keep your body attentive.
8. Take Your Vitamins
Vitamins are another great way to boost your energy. Taking some Vitamin B and Vitamin D after a healthy meal can help you feel more energized and stay awake longer without an energy crash later.
9. Take a Walk
If you start to feel sleepy, try getting out of your truck in a safe area for a nice, brisk walk to help revitalize your system. Going for a walk will get your blood pumping and muscles moving again, which will not only wake you up, but it will help your body stretch out after being cramped in the same position for hours. It is important for anyone who remains stationary for long periods of time to contract their muscles and move around frequently; these are the best ways to avoid blood clots.
10. When All Else Fails, Take a Nap
Sometimes, no amount of caffeine or vitamins can replace a quick power nap. If you are feeling too tired to go on, don’t be afraid to park your truck in a safe place and take a nap. Just be sure to set a timer to avoid oversleeping. A 20-minute nap can do wonders for your energy, but if you accidentally sleep for a few hours, you could wake up feeling even more groggy, and your shipment could be running late.
Overnight drives can be relaxing, but it is important that you stay perceptive and safe. If you think you have what it takes to be a commercial truck driver, visit our website and get started with a loan today.