10 Tips to Help You Drive at Night
No matter where you are in your truck driving career, you have either already been assigned a night shift, or you will soon enough.
Truck driving at night can be likened to an art form. It is more difficult and dangerous compared to driving in the daytime. Here are 10 tips to help you on your next night drive, so that you can stay awake and alert for longer periods of time.
1. Don’t Drive While Sleepy
Driving while you are tired is about as dangerous as driving at night, especially if you are tired driving at night. Therefore, make sure that you do everything in power to stay awake.
If you feel sleepy while on the road, make sure that you pull over for a nap. Just 20 minutes can help you get through the last stretch of your shift.
2. Avoid Blinding Headlights
While the darkness will require extra lights to see, staring at oncoming headlights can lead to temporary blindness while on the road. If you see another driver’s headlights coming at you, make sure you focus your gaze down on the right edge of the road.
Everyone reacts differently to this temporary blindness, so make sure that you are alert at all times.
3. Dim the Lights Inside
Going along with above, make sure that you keep the lights dimmed inside your cab as well. Since high contrast lights make you sleepy and disoriented, long stretches of driving will make you notice the difference. Turn your dashboard lights down, but keep them just bright enough to see.
4. Tap Your Brakes When Stopping
The biggest problem of night driving is not being able to see in the darkness, and that applies to the other drivers around you. If there is a driver behind you, make sure that you tap on your brakes if you need to make a stop. This will cause your lights to flash, and keep the driver behind you alert.
At the end of the day, you want to do everything in your power to keep yourself and other drivers safe and accident-free.
5. Maintain a Safe Distance and Be Alert
Likewise, another safety tip is to keep a safe following distance from the car in front of you at all times. The distance should be about double what you would give yourself during the daytime. You should also make sure you check your mirrors on a regular basis to further prevent accidents.
6. Keep the Temperature Down
A warmer environment will automatically make you sleepier. Prevent yourself from getting tired by keeping the cab temperature cooler. This will vary from person to person, but if you start shivering, then you have gone too far.
If you need more of a boost to wake up, then crack the windows. The cold air blowing over your head can wake you up quickly, and prevent you from falling asleep behind the wheel.
7. Mix Quiet with the Radio
While in theory it seems like the radio will help keep you awake, it can become exhausting after awhile. The more your brain thinks about what it is hearing, the more it will get tired.
Prevent this sleepiness by alternating radio with breaks of silence. Just make sure to turn it on when you start to feel tired of the silence.
8. Watch What You Eat and Drink
Keep in mind that big portions of heavy food will make you sleepy. Instead, consume several healthier snacks throughout the night to help keep your blood sugar steady.
In addition, only drink energy drinks and coffee in moderation, and space them out over the night. If you chug them all at once, you will crash and burn.
9. Get Out
If possible, try to pull over routinely during your drive so you can get out of the cab and walk around. Stretching your legs and actively moving around can keep yourself awake. Just make sure you don’t just spend the time on the phone or leaning against the truck.
10. Stay Calm
Last but not least, make sure that you stay calm and keep your emotions in check while driving. Emotions, such as anger or excitement, will wear you out. Save those tiring emotions for the end of your drive.
Keep Yourself Educated and Prepared
When it comes down to it, being a truck driver is serious business. Make sure you take care of yourself and those around you, and you will be great at night driving.
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