There’s no denying that driving is tiring at the best of times. When you’re at the wheel of an HGV and drive professionally, you also need to add stress to the mix. Managing delivery deadlines, other road users, parking and staying the right side of regulations can affect you physically and mentally.
You might think that’s just part and parcel of HGV jobs, but that feeling where you have no energy, that’s fatigue, and it can be very dangerous. If your eyes feel heavy, your reaction speed slows down, you become more impatient and lack the motivation to work – these are all symptoms of fatigue.
Fatigue can be further exacerbated if you’re not sleeping well at night or working too many hours without proper breaks. If you’re struggling to beat fatigue at the wheel of your HGV, we’ve got 6 tips to help you beat it and stay safe on the roads.
1. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
It might sound obvious, but one of the best things you can do to avoid fatigue at work is getting a good night’s sleep at home. We all need different amounts of good quality sleep to function well, so how much that will be is of course up to you. Whatever the number, makes sure you get that every night, so you wake up well-rested. The more rested you are, the less chance you’ll be fatigued when driving.
2. Power Naps
In addition to a good night’s sleep, it can also be really beneficial to take some short power naps where and when you can. You might not think short bouts of sleep will help, but they can really boost your energy levels. When you start to feel fatigued, find a safe place to pull over and get 40 winks.
3. Eat Healthily
There’s a school of thought that ‘you are what you eat.’ Basically, it means that if you eat ‘rubbish, you’ll feel rubbish. Conversely, if you eat better, you’ll feel better. Now, HGV drivers aren’t typically known for their balanced diet, but that is, in part, because of the work. There are very few health-food shops on the side of the road, but there are things you can do to help yourself.
Try to avoid eating foods that are high in fat or the convenient ‘fast-food’. Easier said than done we know, but little changes will help. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, instead of carbonated drinks. You could also change white bread for wholemeal when you grab a sandwich. Look for foods that are high in fibre (especially vegetables) and try to avoid eating at odd times (again, easier said than done, but still possible). It’s better to have a light meal or snack before bed, rather than a big meal (or nothing at all).
4. Cool Down
A warm HGV cab is going to make you feel sleepy. We all like that sense of cosiness to help us get to sleep, but that’s not great when you’re driving a huge truck! Whilst we don’t want you to be cold, it will help fight fatigue if you keep your driving environment cool. Use the air-con, lower the temperature or just open a window a little to improve the airflow in the cab and bring the temperature down. You’ll feel much more alert when there’s more oxygen flowing.
5. Busy Mind. Less Fatigue
It’s hard for your mind not to drift a little, especially when all you’re looking at is miles and miles of tarmac ahead of you. By keeping your brain engaged, you will feel more alert and fight fatigue. The radio can help but listen to something like a podcast or an audiobook instead will keep you focused and concentrating on the important stuff ahead of you.
When you’re sat behind the wheel of an HGV and not really moving for long periods, it’s not uncommon to feel a little drowsy. When you start to feel that way, it’s a good idea to pull over at a safe place and take a break. Stretch your arms, legs and back by doing some simple exercises to make you feel re-energised and get the blood flowing again. The short blast of fresh air will help enormously too.
Driving is obviously a huge part of the job when it comes to HGV work but looking after yourself behind the wheel is vitally important too. Hopefully, these tips will keep you going when you start to tire.
We hope you have enjoyed reading the post and have found it useful. if you would like to find out more on our latest HGV jobs, please get in touch with Global Employment Bureau on 01604 761206, our friendly team are always happy to help.