Driver fatigue is a serious safety issue year-round, but even more so when drivers must work in below-freezing temperatures, deal with frost, snow, slush, black-ice, and the stress of a nor’easter or two.
 
People often think driver fatigue means falling asleep at the wheel; however, that’s the extreme scenario. Fatigue also involves tiredness, weariness or exhaustion – conditions that impair a driver’s performance and may lead to a vehicle drifting off the road and crossing lanes.

Also Read: Top 7 Solutions to Avoid Long Haul Accidents
 
Harsh winter conditions exacerbate a fatigued driver’s responses, leading to greater delays when reacting to a dangerous situation, or simply being aware of their immediate surrounding and events unfolding on the road around them. During the summer, a driver may open a window for fresh air, but that’s not an option in below-freezing temperatures.


 
Overall, the combination of fatigue and winter weather can drastically compromise a driver’s skills – and in a worst case scenario – that compromise could lead to deadly results.
 
To avoid driver fatigue impacting your fleets uptime, the safety of yourself and you’re your drivers, and the public, follow these tips on battling driver fatigue:
  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).
  3. Teach drivers that it’s not better to “push through” and that it’s better to find somewhere to stop and rest. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a short nap of between 20-30 minutes to significantly improve alertness and performance.
  4. Encourage drivers to report fatigue – regularly ask for feedback both pre- and post-trip.
  5. Educate drivers about 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.

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Comment ()


It's also very important for drivers to be self aware, particularly in winter. Don't let the psychological pressure of the HOS push you into making bad decisions. Just because the run can be made in good weather 'on time' - doesn't mean it is possible in bad weather or on bad roads. The schedule is a guide line, if you end up running late - stay late. Time can't be made up on bad roads.
Another thing that happens, is when you are stressed up in bad weather, the adrenaline is flowing and it becomes hard to realize when you are tired and making a poor decision. Fatigue shows up perhaps as a 'jerky' movement of the steering wheel, a brake application that is too hard or missing a detail that leads to a near miss.Take regular rest breaks, if possible. If traffic is building up behind you and that stresses you- find a pulloff area or stop in a town or rest area, When travelling in areas you aren't familiar with, see if you can tag on to a 'local' who may know more of the terrain you are in. Don't be scared to talk to these 'locals' and they may be able to bring you through the worst of a stormy night.
If you can't see well enough to be somewhat relaxed when you drive, then either slow down or find a place to park. When you are operating under stress beyond your comfort zone - poor decisions can be a killer. Many times one doesn't realize how wound up you are, until you take that rest break. Stiff neck and shoulders, pains in the legs from nervous tension - pay attention to your body too.
After a number of years running Northwest U.S and the Canadian Rockies - one learns that their is NO load so important that you have to push yourself to someone else's schedule.
True that personal confidence is an asset. While always trying to provide stellar service, I learned not to back down to a shipper's demand if my life was at risk. I never lost a job or a customer over it either

January 09, 2016 22:51:47 PM

It's also very important for drivers to be self aware, particularly in winter. Don't let the psychological pressure of the HOS push you into making bad decisions. Just because the run can be made in good weather 'on time' - doesn't mean it is possible in bad weather or on bad roads. The schedule is a guide line, if you end up running late - stay late. Time can't be made up on bad roads.
Another thing that happens, is when you are stressed up in bad weather, the adrenaline is flowing and it becomes hard to realize when you are tired and making a poor decision. Fatigue shows up perhaps as a 'jerky' movement of the steering wheel, a brake application that is too hard or missing a detail that leads to a near miss.Take regular rest breaks, if possible. If traffic is building up behind you and that stresses you- find a pulloff area or stop in a town or rest area, When travelling in areas you aren't familiar with, see if you can tag on to a 'local' who may know more of the terrain you are in. Don't be scared to talk to these 'locals' and they may be able to bring you through the worst of a stormy night.
If you can't see well enough to be somewhat relaxed when you drive, then either slow down or find a place to park. When you are operating under stress beyond your comfort zone - poor decisions can be a killer. Many times one doesn't realize how wound up you are, until you take that rest break. Stiff neck and shoulders, pains in the legs from nervous tension - pay attention to your body too.
After a number of years running Northwest U.S and the Canadian Rockies - one learns that their is NO load so important that you have to push yourself to someone else's schedule.
True that personal confidence is an asset. While always trying to provide stellar service, I learned not to back down to a shipper's demand if my life was at risk. I never lost a job or a customer over it either

January 09, 2016 22:51:29 PM

It's also very important for drivers to be self aware, particularly in winter. Don't let the psychological pressure of the HOS push you into making bad decisions. Just because the run can be made in good weather 'on time' - doesn't mean it is possible in bad weather or on bad roads. The schedule is a guide line, if you end up running late - stay late. Time can't be made up on bad roads.
Another thing that happens, is when you are stressed up in bad weather, the adrenaline is flowing and it becomes hard to realize when you are tired and making a poor decision. Fatigue shows up perhaps as a 'jerky' movement of the steering wheel, a brake application that is too hard or missing a detail that leads to a near miss.Take regular rest breaks, if possible. If traffic is building up behind you and that stresses you- find a pulloff area or stop in a town or rest area, When travelling in areas you aren't familiar with, see if you can tag on to a 'local' who may know more of the terrain you are in. Don't be scared to talk to these 'locals' and they may be able to bring you through the worst of a stormy night.
If you can't see well enough to be somewhat relaxed when you drive, then either slow down or find a place to park. When you are operating under stress beyond your comfort zone - poor decisions can be a killer. Many times one doesn't realize how wound up you are, until you take that rest break. Stiff neck and shoulders, pains in the legs from nervous tension - pay attention to your body too.
After a number of years running Northwest U.S and the Canadian Rockies - one learns that their is NO load so important that you have to push yourself to someone else's schedule.
True that personal confidence is an asset. While always trying to provide stellar service, I learned not to back down to a shipper's demand if my life was at risk. I never lost a job or a customer over it either

January 09, 2016 22:51:16 PM

It's also very important for drivers to be self aware, particularly in winter. Don't let the psychological pressure of the HOS push you into making bad decisions. Just because the run can be made in good weather 'on time' - doesn't mean it is possible in bad weather or on bad roads. The schedule is a guide line, if you end up running late - stay late. Time can't be made up on bad roads.
Another thing that happens, is when you are stressed up in bad weather, the adrenaline is flowing and it becomes hard to realize when you are tired and making a poor decision. Fatigue shows up perhaps as a 'jerky' movement of the steering wheel, a brake application that is too hard or missing a detail that leads to a near miss.Take regular rest breaks, if possible. If traffic is building up behind you and that stresses you- find a pulloff area or stop in a town or rest area, When travelling in areas you aren't familiar with, see if you can tag on to a 'local' who may know more of the terrain you are in. Don't be scared to talk to these 'locals' and they may be able to bring you through the worst of a stormy night.
If you can't see well enough to be somewhat relaxed when you drive, then either slow down or find a place to park. When you are operating under stress beyond your comfort zone - poor decisions can be a killer. Many times one doesn't realize how wound up you are, until you take that rest break. Stiff neck and shoulders, pains in the legs from nervous tension - pay attention to your body too.
After a number of years running Northwest U.S and the Canadian Rockies - one learns that their is NO load so important that you have to push yourself to someone else's schedule.
True that personal confidence is an asset. While always trying to provide stellar service, I learned not to back down to a shipper's demand if my life was at risk. I never lost a job or a customer over it either

January 09, 2016 22:51:06 PM

It's also very important for drivers to be self aware, particularly in winter. Don't let the psychological pressure of the HOS push you into making bad decisions. Just because the run can be made in good weather 'on time' - doesn't mean it is possible in bad weather or on bad roads. The schedule is a guide line, if you end up running late - stay late. Time can't be made up on bad roads.
Another thing that happens, is when you are stressed up in bad weather, the adrenaline is flowing and it becomes hard to realize when you are tired and making a poor decision. Fatigue shows up perhaps as a 'jerky' movement of the steering wheel, a brake application that is too hard or missing a detail that leads to a near miss.Take regular rest breaks, if possible. If traffic is building up behind you and that stresses you- find a pulloff area or stop in a town or rest area, When travelling in areas you aren't familiar with, see if you can tag on to a 'local' who may know more of the terrain you are in. Don't be scared to talk to these 'locals' and they may be able to bring you through the worst of a stormy night.
If you can't see well enough to be somewhat relaxed when you drive, then either slow down or find a place to park. When you are operating under stress beyond your comfort zone - poor decisions can be a killer. Many times one doesn't realize how wound up you are, until you take that rest break. Stiff neck and shoulders, pains in the legs from nervous tension - pay attention to your body too.
After a number of years running Northwest U.S and the Canadian Rockies - one learns that their is NO load so important that you have to push yourself to someone else's schedule.
True that personal confidence is an asset. While always trying to provide stellar service, I learned not to back down to a shipper's demand if my life was at risk. I never lost a job or a customer over it either

January 09, 2016 22:50:55 PM

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