Big rig trucks are a common sight on the highways and byways of Elmira and throughout the Twin Tiers region of New York and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, when they get into a collision, their sheer size and weight can produce catastrophic injuries to occupants of the other vehicles that are involved in the crash. One of the leading causes of these types of accidents is truck driver fatigue. There are a variety of reasons why truckers get tired behind the wheel, and they often include pressure from their employers to meet a tight delivery deadline. There are some tips that industry professionals have offered to alleviate this problem, but they are not often followed, and as a result, people like you who are in smaller passenger vehicles are put at a high degree of risk.

Too Much Coffee Can Be Bad

Truckers should maintain their sleep schedule and take frequent short breaks. With the idea that miles result in more money, many drivers try to forgo sleep and continue on the road when fatigue sets in. Even astronauts need sleep: NASA found that they performed better after a 40-minute nap. 

Caffeine intake should be limited as well as alcohol, as both can have extreme effects on the body. Caffeine stimulates, while alcohol depresses. As caffeine makes its way to the brain, it blocks the receptors for adenosine, a molecule that is produced by your body throughout the day. When the adenosine builds up, that feeling of tiredness increases. At this point, the truck driver needs more caffeine to stay awake. Those abundant cups of coffee may also increase blood pressure as well as cause headaches or dizziness.

Good Food and Water May Save the Day

Truck drivers need to eat a healthy diet. Instead of hamburgers, tuna or chicken sandwiches could provide cleaner nutrients. Even a sugary doughnut may contribute to fatigue. Sugar and candy bars can produce a “rush,” but a truck driver may end up more tired once it wears off. Food is the fuel for a driver’s body, and it should be of the highest grade for best performance rather than the stuff that is often sold in truck stop diners.

Similarly, staying hydrated can prevent fatigue. Dehydration can lead to other issues, such as cramps, drowsiness and headaches. Drinking water does much more besides quench thirst, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can lubricate and cushion joints and regulate body temperature. These factors make a person more alert and less tired so that they can better avoid accidents with drivers like you. 

Legal Assistance is Available

Sadly, many truck drivers do not follow these simple suggestions to be more awake and alert. While most of them try to be vigilant at all times while behind the wheel, others do not for a variety of reasons, and the results can be devastating. If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by a truck driver who was overly fatigued or who was otherwise negligent, you likely suffered significant harm. In addition, you could see costly bills for medical care and treatment, lose out on wages during your recovery period, and incur high bills for damage to your vehicle. To learn more about the legal remedies that you may have and the best way to pursue them, give the experienced truck accident attorneys at Ziff Law a call. And thanks for reading this blog – we hope that it was helpful!