In the trucking industry, especially in WA, there is often the need to travel long distances at night in order to meet deadlines and avoid traffic. There are a number of challenges that drivers face with night time driving due to internal factors – fatigue, vision, short concentration spans – and external factors – darkness, wildlife, weather. In fact, driving tired is more dangerous than driving intoxicated! Safety is the number one concern for drivers and their bosses to make sure that all on board arrive at the destination unharmed. We’ve put together a list of 5 different ways that you can minimise the dangers of night driving to help you reach your destination safely.
Keep your mind active
You’re less likely to become tired and drift off to the land of nod if your brain is actively engaged and kept entertained. In days gone by you were at the mercy of whatever was on the radio at the time but with technology you can choose what you listen to and when. Podcasts and audiobooks can be super engaging and get your brain working while on the road. Check the iTunes store to find a genre that appeals and get listening!
It is of course important to remember that you should always be able to focus on the road to stay safe, but having an outside influence can help keep your mind active and attentive.
Give yourself fresh air
The brain needs fresh air to stay alert. External temperatures might make it tempting to lock yourself in a temperature controlled cabin for the duration of your cruise. It is important to wind the windows down regularly and pause to stretch your legs in the outdoors to stay in the best frame of mind for marathon drives.
It can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet during life on the road with limited options at truck stops. Planning ahead and packing proper food will do you a world of good. Fruits and vegetables make up a well-rounded diet that is important for mental alertness and fighting fatigue.
The usual truck stop sausage roll, energy drink and coffee may taste great but will lead to blood sugar and awareness crashing in just a couple of hours. Such a volatile pattern isn’t healthy for your body and will impact the safeness of your driving for you and other road users.
Listen to your body
Despite what we like to think, our bodies know best. If despite your best efforts to stay focused on the task at hand you are just too tired, pull over somewhere safe and take a quick nap. If your body is crying out for sleep there is probably a reason why. Avoid falling asleep at the wheel or causing an accident from driving tired by taking a break when you feel the need to.
You and your truck are a team, and every member of your team needs to be in optimal condition to perform at full capability in a safe manner. Regular truck maintenance ensures that you can avoid unnecessary dangers when you drive at night time.
Of particular importance to night driving are the following:
- Lights – Long stretches of country road don’t often have adequate lighting, meaning that the only visibility available is that from your truck’s headlights. Well-maintained truck lights are vitally essential for safe operation.
- Tyres – Your truck’s tyres are your lifeline. Remember that tyre maintenance is more important than tyre choice. A well-maintained tyre operating at the correct pressure will last longer, be more fuel efficient and provide critical manoeuvrability in an emergency than one which is not.
- Brakes – Australia is known for the wildlife that inhabits our wide land, with many of these creatures being nocturnal the risks are far higher at night. One of the most important factors in safe truck operation is brake maintenance. Good brake maintenance ensures that the brakes will not only stop the truck in the shortest possible distance but also stop it in a controlled manner. Additionally, good brake maintenance ensures that the brakes will not overheat and fade out or catch on fire.
Now that you know how to keep your mind and body in tip top condition for night driving, contact the team at World Diesel on 08 9331 4066 or send us an email here. We are heavy vehicle maintenance mechanics, specialised in truck and trailer repairs across Western Australia.