Distracted driving has become a big problem on American roads, especially for long haul truckers. Not only do long haul truckers need to worry about distractions from radios, smartphones and all the other pieces of modern technology that cause problems for other drivers, but they spend hours or even days at a time behind the wheel. According to statistics found right here, drowsy driving was the reason for approximately 72,000 crashes in 2013.
If you are a long-haul trucker, you need to stay alert during even the longest trips. Here are some tips that will help you with that.
Put The Smartphone Away
The smartphone is perhaps the biggest culprit when it comes to distracted driving. This applies to everyone, but it is especially problematic for anybody driving an 18-wheeler with a large trailer. If you need to use your smartphone to make a phone call or look up directions, pull over first or wait until you make it to a truck stop. It might eat into your time a bit, but it is better than getting into an accident because you weren’t paying attention to the road.
Be Careful with Your iPod
iPods and other MP3 players are endlessly useful for long drives, but you need to be careful when you’re using one on the road. First, you should never wear headphones or earbuds while you’re driving. You need to be able to hear what is going on around you always, and you can’t do that if you’re busy listening to music. Second, treat your iPod like your smartphone; don’t do anything with it while you’re driving. Pull over or wait until you get to a truck stop if you need to use it to find the right music.
Modern GPS technology often means that drivers don’t need to plan out their trips as meticulously as they once did. While that is certainly not a bad thing, it’s easy to take your GPS for granted. When you must make a long trip, take some time to plan it out first. You should know where you’re going, when to stop and take a break, and how much fuel you will need. You can still use your GPS just in case you need to take a detour or to make sure you’re on the right path, but being able to rely on it less will mean that you will be able to better focus on the road ahead of you.
Know When You’ve Had Enough
Finally, you need to know when you’ve hit your limit when you’re on a long haul. As much as you may want to power through and finish your trip on or ahead of schedule, you should never hesitate to pull over and get some sleep if you feel like you must. Once again, it’s better than falling asleep at the wheel and ending up in an accident.