In most parts of the U.S., it’s nearly time to “fall back,” as they say, and turn the clocks back one hour. Many people look forward to this time change as you gain one hour in your day. But that one-hour difference can greatly impact our bodies and circadian rhythm … especially those in truck drivers.
Time Change Risks on Truck Driver Safety
“Falling back” means that the peak travel times on the roads are now being driven in the dark. As a truck driver, being able to manage your schedule around this time change and across time zones can pose a challenge when you’re on the road.
As it gets darker earlier, there’s a greater risk of obstruction of vision, and drivers may have a more difficult time distinguishing objects, pedestrians and other vehicles. The time change can also impact internal clocks, causing drivers to have a disrupted sleep schedule.
Stick to Your Home Time Zone
No matter where you are, maintain your home time sleep schedule. And regardless of how you manage it, you may have to sleep when it’s light and/or drive when it’s dark.
Prepare Your Truck
Ensure your vehicle is set to handle the extra hour of night. Regularly clean headlights, tail lights, turn signals and windshield. Check your mirrors and headlights for proper alignment.
Use Headlights Responsibly
If you need to increase your sight distance, use high beams when possible. However high beams can also present a risk to other drivers on the road, so keep them on low when you are following another vehicle or encounter oncoming traffic.
Maintain a Safe Distance
Manage your driving speed and keep a safe distance away from the vehicles in front of you. Should any problems arise — such as inclement weather or sudden traffic incidents — you’ll have more time to stop.
Adjust Your Interior Lights
When you’re heading to sleep, minimize all lights in the cab. You can do this by placing a dark shade on your cab windows and turning off any overhead lights. Try to avoid using screens like a laptop, cell phone or TV as it can disrupt the sleep cycle.
When it’s time to stay awake, a lightbox in your rig will help you get moving. And if you are ever feeling too tired, make sure to stop. Visit a truck stop as they are always well lit.
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At Dot Transportation, truck driver safety is our top priority — whether it’s daylight saving time or any other time of the year! We teach drivers the Smith System of driver safety and have regular meetings and incentives for drivers to stay safe.
We hope you rest well and have a productive daylight saving time!
Do you have a sleep tip you want to share with fellow truck drivers? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.