If you’re a professional HGV driver, odds are you do some pretty long trips behind the wheel. It’s part of the job, so not exactly surprising. But it does mean you will probably suffer from one of the big issues affecting HGV drivers – fatigue on the road. Racking up thousands of miles can be exhausting, but you can’t give in to the tiredness if you want to stay safe. So today, we have a few tips to help you stay awake, focused and safe on the road.
When you’re a driver on long-haul trips, being able to take naps is more than a luxury – it’s an essential skill. With the number 1 cause of accidents on the road now attributed to tired driving, and not drink driving, it’s never been more important to be well-rested. So as well as making sure you get a decent amount of sleep at home, try to fit regular naps into your rest stops. Ideally, you should aim for a 20 minute power nap, followed by 10 minutes of walking or running to get the blood flowing again. If you can make time for this, you will feel refreshed and energised while on the road.
The key to staying alert for long periods of time is to be well-nourished and hydrated. This means eating nutritious meals and drinking enough fluids. Specifically, water. Along with your 3 square meals a day, try to keep some snacks and bottled water in your cab to top you up throughout the journey. Water is better than energy drinks, and fruit is better than sugary snacks, as these can cause insulin spikes and crashed, giving you short bursts of energy followed by dips – and that’s what you want to avoid.
Or podcasts, or music. Because let’s face it, staring at strips of concrete for hours on end can be pretty dull. This can lead your mind to wander, which means you aren’t focusing on the road, the cars around you or what’s happening. Which, in turn, can lead to accidents which no one wants. If you want to keep your focus on the road, you need something to engage your brain. Audiobooks, podcasts and even your favourite music are all great ways to do this. And with thousands of options available, it’s an easy way to enrich your life and keep yourself interested while being paid to drive.
Keeping your cab warm and cosy might seem like a good idea but in reality, it’s probably what’s making you a little fuzzy while you’re driving. You see, heat is very fatiguing, and it can drain you of energy and focus, lulling you to sleep. Which is the opposite of what you want when you’re sitting behind the wheel of an HGV, not able to move about much. So if you find yourself feeling a little tired and groggy, the best thing you can do is open the windows, or if the weather is very bad turn on the air conditioning until it is just a little bit chilly. The cold will invigorate you and keep you wide awake as you drive.
At The LGV Training Centre, we not only teach you how to drive an HGV safely and get you through your tests, but we also work hard to make you a better driver with tips and tricks like these. Our instructors have decades of experience in both driving HGVs professionally and teaching driving, so you know you’re in safe hands. If you would like to find out more, just get in touch with our team today.