Driver fatigue is a serious safety issue, particularly in the winter. Driver fatigue isn’t just about falling asleep – it’s about tiredness, weariness, or exhaustion. Fatigue slows reflexes and affects a driver’s ability to concentrate and respond to conditions – increasing the chances of a crash that could have a significant impact on your company’s costs and productivity.
Here are 10 tips to beat fatigue this winter:
1. Create a culture of open and honest communication about driver fatigue – employees need to feel comfortable reporting their inability to drive due to fatigue and have no fear of reprisals.
2. Plan ahead and consider the driver’s commute time when complying with state or federal specific hours of service (HOS regulations).
3. Teach drivers that it’s not better to “push through” and that it’s better to find somewhere to stop and rest. Just 15 minutes of rest can give the brain up to two hours of alertness. If we don’t give our brain the rest it needs, it will shut down on its own.
4. Encourage drivers to report fatigue – regularly ask for feedback both pre and post trip.
5. Educate drivers on knowing the early signs of fatigue – such as yawning, frequent blinking and drowsiness. Remind them to make sure the cruise control function is off as they look for a safe area to stop and take a rest.
6. Avoid planning routes on two-lane roads and use highways as much as possible. It’s harder for drivers to find rest areas on two-lane roads.
7. Use lane tracking devices so an alarm will sound if the vehicle drifts into another lane without the driver using a turn signal.
8. If possible, avoid scheduling driving during the early morning/pre-dawn hours when fatigue is more prevalent.
9. Remind drivers about the need to avoid medications, including over-the-counter options, which may cause drowsiness.
10. Educate drivers to eat light, fresh foods versus sugary or carbohydrate-filled foods that can make them feel tired.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigued or drowsy driving may contribute to 100,000 crashes each year, causing 40,000 injuries, and more than 1,000 deaths. Don’t let your drivers be involved in one of those crashes.
For more information, visit to ryder.com/winterdriving
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