What do truck jobs in Utah have in common with similar jobs in Ohio? Lots of things. As an example, one thing common to all truck jobs is driver fatigue. The reality is that trucking is an exhausting job both mentally and physically. There is so much to pay attention to that you are just flat-out exhausted by the end of the day.
The key to preventing all-out exhaustion is to take a few simple steps to maintain your energy levels. Think of it as pacing yourself. Just as an athlete has to do certain things to make sure he or she maintains top performance throughout a period of competition, truck drivers need to do certain things to make sure fatigue does not reach dangerous levels. Below are just a few examples.
Get Regular Exercise
It may sound counterproductive, but getting regular exercise actually increases your energy levels. The science behind this phenomenon is actually quite simple. Exercise improves blood flow, which results in more oxygen and nutrients traveling to muscle tissue. Muscles that have plenty of oxygen and food also have more energy and are able to accomplish more work.
Studies consistently show that just 15 to 20 minutes of moderate exercise every day can be tremendously helpful in boosting energy levels. Here’s a tip: you can get your daily exercise by taking a brisk walk after you park your truck for the night.
Be Careful of Coffee and Energy Drinks
We all know truckers who seem to live on coffee and energy drinks. They start the day with the biggest cup of coffee they can find, then follow it up with energy drink chasers through the morning and well into the afternoon.
Ingesting too much caffeine can cause two problems. First, you can actually become somewhat dependent on caffeine to feel awake – even under normal conditions. Secondly, excessive use of caffeine almost always ends in a come-down at some point. The problem is you never know when you’re going to come down. You could be driving along the highway feeling just fine and then, in an instant, be ready to fall asleep at the wheel.
Develop Good Eating Habits
What you eat, and how much, has a significant impact on your energy levels. You can increase your energy by developing healthy eating habits that focus on proper nutrition and volume. This does not mean you cannot enjoy a cheeseburger or your favorite dessert on a regular schedule. It does mean that you’ll be eating more fruits and vegetables, more good carbs and fats, and more reasonable portions that will prevent you from being stuffed.
Modify Your Radio Use
Your onboard sound system can be your best friend on those lonely days in the cab. But experts say that the average truck driver could see an increase in energy simply by modifying how they use the radio. Rather than having it on all day, switch it on and off at regular intervals.
While music may be entertaining, it is something else your brain has to pay attention to. The harder your brain works, the more quickly you get tired. On the other hand, dead silence can cause enough boredom to make you sleepy. So play the radio for an hour, shut it off for an hour, turn it back on, and so on.
Maintaining healthy energy levels throughout the day will reduce the chances of being completely exhausted when it is time to park. Then you’ll be able to enjoy a good meal before lying down for a sound sleep.